Will The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron be the last we see of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man?

The interwebs are a-buzz with rumours among Marvel fans that the forthcoming superhero ensemble sequel, The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, will be the last outing for Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr. has said that he’s ready to take off the iron suit, following three films of his own as Tony Stark/Iron Man, and a central role in Avengers Assemble, and this could provide an opportunity for him to bow out.

If the rumours are true, then the best-case scenario is: Tony hangs up the suit and dedicates his time to Stark Industries and Gwyneth Paltrow. At worst, it will be the end of him. I would put my money on the second option – you can’t really just quit being a superhero, can you?

But despite declaring that he wants to retire as Iron Man, Downey Jr. has already signed up for at least one more Avengers film, and has made contradictory comments about the possibility of Iron Man 4… make up your mind!

Iron Man (and by extension Robert Downey Jr.) is pretty integral to the franchise. He sticks in my mind as one of the most memorable and enjoyable characters. The actor’s charm is palpable, even through his superhero suit.

So, who knows? I for one would miss him if he was no long part of the line-up. But what do you reckon? Could The Avengers could go on without their Iron Man? Could there be a suitable replacement from within the Marvel universe? Share your thoughts in the comments below... we've got plenty of time to speculate about it, The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron isn't out until May 2015.