It’s a role that has consistently made him the highest-paid actor in the world, but Robert Downey Jr. has admitted that he’s considering quitting his part as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – before it becomes “embarrassing”.

The 52 year old star, who has portrayed Tony Stark / Iron Man in seven Marvel movies going back to 2008’s Iron Man, which kick-started the MCU franchise and is slated to appear in two more before the decade is up, told in a new interview that, though he’s been playing the part for nine years, he’s keen on not overstaying his welcome.

Robert Downey Jr.Robert Downey Jr. has held down the Iron Man / Tony Stark role since 2008

“It’s this cyclical thing. I could have said when the first Avengers came out: ‘It’s never going to get any better than that. Everybody stop’,” he explained. “But to me, it’s always about people and opportunities, like the Russos [Joe and Anthony, who directed Avengers: Infinity War], who I adore.”

Downey Jr. is next set to play the role in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming alongside Tom Holland, which is released later this week.

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He’ll be reprising the role in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War and its currently untitled sequel in 2019, but after that his future is unclear. If his new interview is anything to go by, he’ll be hanging up his suit of armour.

“Everyone says to me it’s like a glove that fits so well. I have to start over every time but I am starting over with a pretty solid base. I just never want to blow it for the last six or seven [MCU Movies] I have done by dropping the ball because I decided to go to do it one more time. I just want to hang up my jersey before it’s embarrassing.”

It echoes recent rumours started in an interview by Chris Evans (his MCU colleague who plays Captain America) that Downey Jr. was preparing to quit the part.

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