Marvel Officially Confirms Downey and Cheadle for Iron Man 2 and Avengers

It’s not really a surprise, but it’s kinda nice to hear it from the horse’s mouth for once. Marvel Studios has released an official statement confirming that Robert Downey Jr., as part of his four-picture deal with the studio, will be returning for “Iron Man 2″ and the “Avengers” movie scheduled for 2011. Wait, did they say four picture deal? So what’s the fourth movie? “Iron Man 3″? A sequel to “Avengers”? Your guess is as good as ours. Unless, of course, they’re talking about that little cameo Downey did in “The Incredible Hulk”. Meanwhile, Marvel also officially confirms Don Cheadle as replacing Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes in “Iron Man 2″ and “The Avengers”.

Here are the relevant parts from Marvel:

As part of his four picture deal with Marvel Studios, Robert Downey Jr. is appearing as Tony Stark in “The Avengers” motion picture, as well as reprising his starring role as the larger-than-life leading character in “Iron Man 2.” Jon Favreau will return to direct the sequel to the blockbuster “Iron Man,” which to date has grossed over $578 million worldwide, as well as executive produce “The Avengers.”

Marvel Studios is pleased today to confirm that an agreement has been finalized with award-winning actor Don Cheadle to take on the role of Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Marvel’s “Iron Man 2″ due in theaters on May 7, 2010. In casting Cheadle, Marvel replaces Terrence Howard who appeared in the role of Rhodey in Iron Man.

Cheadle is also signed on to perform the same role in “The Avengers” and subsequent installments of the “Iron Man” franchise.

And there’s this about the Avengers movie:

In a movie event, “The Avengers” will bring together the super hero team of Marvel Comics characters for the first time ever, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and more, as they are forced to band together to battle the biggest foe they’ve ever faced.

I always thought the Avengers movie might have pitted the Avengers (consisting of just Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor) against the Hulk, who would be on a rampage at this point, and still considered a bad guy in the sense that, well, he’s big, barely speaks, and he likes smashing stuff, like whole cities. Apparently they’re not going in that direction, but will instead be bringing in a big bad foe for the boys to battle.

Below: The “Iron Man” crew are officially back. Well, most of them, anyway.