There's been a lot of 'Iron Man 4' talk over the past few days as Robert Downey, Jr. continues his whirlwind promotional tour for 'The Judge' across a multitude of talk shows. He's confirmed it, issued demands, backpedaled, confirmed it again and now, via an appearance on David Letterman last night, he clarified all the recent rumors and (we think?) issued the definitive word on 'Iron Man 4' and his future at Marvel.

Downey has enjoyed teasing the media and fans with his half-hearted "OK fine, 'Iron Man 4' is happening" quotes, but he took some time to get real with Letterman. Which is not easy to do when Marvel would prefer you not talk about their upcoming plans. But, this is about as close to a final word on 'Iron Man 4' as you're going to get. Says Robert Downey, Jr.:

There's no plans for an Iron Man 4. There's no script for Iron Man 4, but they do have a plan and I think they're going to announce it...they're very secretive about it.

When pressed again by Letterman on, yes or no, Will there be an 'Iron Man 4'?, Downey again said, "Just between us, no." So let's please table all current and future talk of 'Iron Man 4' coming from Marvel. But...we do need to address Downey's frequent hints as Marvel's "secretive plan." Letterman followed up about this tease and Downey responded:

I'm going to do other stuff with Marvel. I'm still going to be involved with Marvel and there's gonna be plenty of fun stuff to happen.

Now, we know that Downey, Jr. signed an extension on his contract for Marvel that brought him back for 'Avengers 2' and will be bringing him back for 'Avengers 3.' If he's "in negotiations with Marvel" on a project, as he told Ellen DeGeneres yesterday, we bring you back to the story from earlier this week about Marvel's big post-'Avengers 3' plans, which may include a standalone Infinity Gauntlet movie.

As a refresher, the current thinking is that 'Avengers 3' would have a completely different lineup than the previous two films with characters like Black Widow, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision, etc. taking over for the big guns like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Marvel would then use 'Avengers 3' to "springboard" into a super-mega-massive crossover movie (speculatively titled 'Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet'), which would bring literally every Marvel superhero - from Groot to Ant-Man to War Machine - together to stop Thanos and his glove full of Infinity Stones.

But, obviously, Robert Downey, Jr. can't say that right now because it hasn't been announced. (And, to be fair, the 'Infinity Gauntlet' movie is just informed speculation at this point, but the pieces all fit.) The good news is that Downey has said multiple times that Marvel plans on making an announcement soon-ish, so hopefully we'll find out where Robert Downey, Jr. fits into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe soon.

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