It’s still hard for many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to come to terms with the loss of Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame and the fact that we might never again see Robert Downey, Jr., the man who launched the “Marvel Decade,” in the MCU. No more snarky, rapid-fire barbs. No more pithy comments. No more mocking nicknames like “Point Break” (for Thor), “Underoos” (Spider-Man) or “Squidward” (Ebony Maw). Rumors are constantly popping up about where and when Downey will make his return as Tony Stark, but they fade from the blogosphere as quickly as they emerged. Downey himself slammed the door on a possible return saying his MCU tenture is “all done.”
As a genius creator, builder, hero — both solo and with the Avengers — and mentor to young Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, the loss of Tony Stark and Iron Man from the MCU has left a lot of massive holes. Shuri (Letitia Wright) can take Tony’s place as a creator and builder and there are plenty of heroes, old and new, who can slide into his spot on the Avengers, but poor Peter Parker still needs a mentor, a father figure, a powered person to lend him a guiding hand. Apparently, Marvel has already figured out how to fill that hole, as well.
According to THR, Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise the role of Doctor Strange in director Jon Watts‘ sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home “in the mentor role that was previously occupied by Robert Downey Jr.” Strange makes sense as a mentor to Parker, not only because they are both based in New York City, but because Stark trusted him with the fate of the universe in their battle against Thanos (Josh Brolin). Strange’s guest-starring turn might also help to explain how characters and actors from previous iterations of Sony’s franchise — like Jamie Foxx‘s Electro from the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies — could appear in the current Sony/Marvel universe with his ability to travel to other dimensions.
The movie was slated to begin filming later this month, but some fans are convinced production is already underway: