Robert Downey Jr plays down prospect of fourth Iron Man movie

Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr has said it is by no means a foregone conclusion that he will star in a fourth Iron Man movie, even though the superhero saga has helped to make him the highest-paid actor in the world.

Interviewed by Variety to promote his new film The Judge, Downey Jr said there were currently no plans for a sequel to last year's Iron Man 3, which took more than $1bn (£618m) at the global box office en route to becoming one of the five highest-grossing films in history.

"There isn't one in the pipe," Downey Jr said. "No, there's no plan for a fourth Iron Man."

The actor will nevertheless return as Tony Stark in the second Avengers movie, Age of Ultron, which is due out next spring. It has long been suggested that Downey Jr could be replaced following that movie, with the individual Iron Man movies having reached a natural narrative end-point. However, Downey Jr dismissed suggestions he might be involved in choosing his own successor. "I like that the idea is that it would be up to me, like I'm casting director for Marvel," he laughed.

Downey Jr, 49, struggled for many years with substance abuse as a younger actor and was widely regarded as box-office poison by studios. However, he has been the highest-paid actor in the world for the past two years, according to Forbes magazine's annual list, earning an estimated $75m annually thanks to lucrative back-end deals. His standing is largely due to the success of the Iron Man and Avengers films, which have taken a staggering $3.9bn at the worldwide box office.

Iron Man 3 is currently the sixth highest-grossing film of all time, having been overtaken by Frozen last year, while The Avengers is at No 3.

• Catherine Shoard reviews Robert Downey Jr in Toronto opener The Judge
• Robert Downey Jr tops list of highest paid actors for second year runningPowered by article was written by Ben Child, for on Monday 8th September 2014 11.29 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010