Reported by several news and pop culture websites in the past couple of days since Iron Man 3's release in the US, Tony Stark and Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. has officially ended his multi-film contract with the release of the armored avenger's third solo flick, meaning Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios will have to renegotiate a deal with the man who literally made the man behind the suit and started the Marvel Cinematic Universe w/ Jon Favreau when the first Iron Man film was released way back in 2008. Right now, the actor is in talks to return for "The Avengers 2" and "The Avengers 3", but he's still not discussing about a return for a fourth Iron Man film.
Apparently, there's a possible explanation why, and it may involve two of his fellow Avengers.
According to a report by Worst Previews, with Downey earning over $50-80 Million alone for starring in The Avengers, his co-stars are starting to look down the line and renegotiating their terms in a similar manner to return for the sequels and spin-off films, since they earned considerably less than RDJ himself.
Notably, Thor actor Chris Hemsworth and Black Widow actress Scarlett Johansson are not satisfied with pay cuts and earning less than what they make on other endeavors, with Hemsworth almost backing out of Thor: The Dark World alone for earning less than what he made in "Snow White and the Huntsman". Marvel has a reputation to go forward even if negotiations break down, and will replace actors/ actresses if necessary, as in the case of Terrence Howard being replaced by Don Cheadle to play James Rhodes/ War Machine in the Iron Man movies.
At this point, it's anything goes and anyone's guess as to how negotiations go through for the next series of Marvel films by Marvel Studios and Disney. Naturally, they still want Robert Downey Jr. back in the suit and will do what they can to negotiate, but hopefully the same is true for the other talents who make and literally embody the other noteworthy heroes we see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. RDJ is in fact using the negotiation time to discuss and fight for pay raises for his colleagues. It's a win-win scenario either way if things break through. "Phase 3" is even rumored to have other characters like Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, and even the newly acquired Blade on the mix w/ Avengers 3, so hopefully Marvel makes the deal and in the end, it'll all pay off.
For more on the story, visit the source post at Deadline and Worst Previews.