Following Iron Man 3's huge success, reports emerged of Robert Downey Jr. facing off with Marvel executives in hopes of nailing down his payday for future outings as Tony Stark. Considering that Avengers director Joss Whedon is now saying he won't make Avengers 2 without Downey Jr., it seems like the actor is going to get his cash.
Speaking to Marlow Stern for The Daily Beast, Whedon said, "I have no intention of making Avengers 2 without him, nor do I think I’ll be called upon to do that. I don’t think it’s in my interest, Marvel’s interest, or his interest, and I think everything will be fine." He went on to admit that in Hollywood you do have to be reading to "the unexpected," but ultimately he seemed pretty confident.
Considering Whedon seems pretty securely locked into the sequel what with his Marvel contract and all and their TV hopes and dreams riding on his shoulders, it seems that Downey Jr. likely isn't going anywhere, either. The actor made around $50 million for the first Avengers movie, which is the third highest grossing film of all time. The question then becomes what happens with the rest of the cast. Nikki Finke reported in early May that there's a wide discrepancy between what some got paid and Downey's large sum. Cast members, she reported, have rallied behind the power-wielding Downey Jr.
But for now, thanks to Whedon's comments, it looks like all is quite on the Avengers front. Interestingly enough though, Whedon said Downey Jr. was Stark in the way that Sean Connery was Bond—it was meant as a compliment, but obviously Connery was replaced in that role. Read into that what you wish.