Ending weeks of tense negotiations in which Marvel pretended it didn’t have any money, its executives strategically placing live moths in their wallets to flutter out when opened, the studio has finally agreed to pay Robert Downey Jr. lots of it to appear in two more Avengers movies. Just how much is, of course, a matter that one does not discuss in public, as that is the sort of talk best left to sozzled dockhands down at the wharf, not gentlemen such as we. Suffice it to say, however, that Downey Jr. cleared some $50 million on the first Avengers, setting a high bar that Marvel almost certainly had to exceed to lock him down for The Avengers 2 and 3—no matter how much it insisted that it’s doing all it can and, look, they’ve even been brown-bagging it for lunch. Do you know how lonely it is bringing your lunch from home? Last week Marvel missed out on going with all the other studios to that new Korean taco truck, all because the principal star of its highest-grossing franchise expected proportionate compensation for himself and his co-workers.
Anyway, while the Downey-championed renegotiations for the rest of the Avengers ensemble now also seem likely to fall into place, of particular note is that there’s nothing in this new deal regarding another standalone Iron Man film—potentially lending credence to suggestions that Downey is done with those, and that Marvel president Kevin Feige might consider replacing him with another actor somewhere down the line. For now, though, Downey is definitely putting on the suit. Of money. “Hey guys, check out my money suit!” he’ll say as he parades around a boardroom of red-faced Marvel executives, their fists tightening around their sad, homemade sandwiches.