For a brief period of time following the arrival of “Iron Man 3,” there was a small but persistent story that kept cropping up on various movie and/or nerd-centric sites, one that focused on how Robert Downey Jr. was no longer under contract with Marvel and so maybe now that he had made $50 million dollars for “The Avengers” it was not a sure thing that he would play Iron Man again. If you heard about this, you probably thought about it for all of three seconds before moving on with your life, which is the proper thing to do if you are a person with zero horses in this race, but it was this tiny lingering thing that was mentioned every so often and even Joss Whedon weighed in on the matter. You might think that after starring in four movies that earned a combined $3.9 billion dollars worldwide — movies he made for a studio that is now part of Disney, a multi-multi-multi-billion-dollar company — that clearly this was just a case of a very wealthy person negotiating to get a huge sum of money from a mammoth corporation, and that even if he was negotiating in this case with a notoriously frugal movie studio, that obviously the parties involved would get it done and so obviously in the end the studio would fork over a stack of gold bullion the size of a small town and this would all be over and done with.
Anyway, I mention all of this to say that today Marvel announced that Downey had signed on to star in the second and third “Avengers” movies, because obviously. (There’s no mention of a fourth “Iron Man” movie, if you are curious.)