Downey Jr refuses to say if it's the end for Iron Man, Marvel link
Robert Downey Jr. talks Endgame secrecy, life after Marvel, and what he has learnt along the way
Even leading man Robert Downey Jr. thinks the massive secrecy surrounding Avengers: Endgame is "crazy", with Disney and Marvel holding back press screenings for the movie, which opens here on April 24.
He said at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel: "And this press tour, it's like, 'Go out and interact and do a lot of press, but don't say anything about the work you just did'. To me, it's ludicrous! It's almost a waste of interaction. At the same time, it is a strategy that's really serving them well."
There you have it from Iron Man himself, who is sticking to his embargo.
All we know from the official synopsis is the grave course of events set in motion by Thanos (Josh Brolin) that wiped out half the universe has fractured the Avengers ranks and forced the remaining team members to take one final stand.
Okay, can we talk about saying goodbye to the franchise?
For the 54-year-old Hollywood star, that is par for the course for an actor's life.
"Look, if we're show folk, we're very used to a lifetime of making close associations and breaking away and coming back together. And the thing that Marvel has provided all of us with is this opportunity to keep reuniting, almost like regional theatre or a travelling group of oddballs. It's funny how intimate this massive finale is becoming for all of us."
But is it really the end?
Downey Jr., who joked he kept most of his costumes and Disney will have to lease them from him if he goes back to work for them, said cryptically: "Well, knowing Marvel, an ending is an ending until they tell you that was the faux ending. In the Marvel Universe, nothing is final because they have every trick in the book and every device that you can imagine. So it's much less definitive than a non-Marvel Universe would be."
He gave another non-answer when asked if there's another Iron Man movie in the offing?
"I'm of two minds. One is, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Two is, I know people get very definitive about what they're doing and what they're not doing and I have a sense of things. But also, I do love this group of folks. I would love to stay in business with Disney and Marvel somehow.
"But you know me, how easily bored I can get. The fact that I've stuck around this long really means that they've still been engaging on some level, you know."
As for how his character Tony Stark's journey through the movies parallels his own, he said: "I feel like he has matured and become less needing to be the centre of attention and more interested in his fellows.
"And I think when Tony demonstrated in the first Avengers that he was willing to take one for the team, that was nothing he would have done previously. So there's a bit of an evolution.
"But I like that as the years have gone by, he's taking himself a little less seriously."
Because of Downey Jr.'s decade-long association with Marvel, other projects have been delayed.
He said he's really proud of 2014's The Judge, a small legal drama produced by his wife Susan Downey, and there have been a couple of Sherlock Holmes movies along the way.
"But the downside, if there possibly could be one of having had this long-standing relationship with Marvel, is that you can't have everything, so there are certain things that I've kind of put on hold for a while that I'm really looking forward to getting back to."
While he describes himself as a musician of sorts, he said he'd like to try his hand at directing.
"It'd be fun to get on the other side of the camera, maybe. Either that or I would hate it. I would just be like, 'Oh my God, why don't we just turn the camera around on me? I'll show you how to do it," he said with a laugh.
When asked what he would tell his younger self now that he's overcome odds and achieved such success, he thinks for a minute before replying: "It would be nice if I could whisper in my ear to say, 'Dude, you have no idea what is around the corner, so just take care of yourself and stick around'."
The writer is the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a non-profit organisation of entertainment journalists that also organises the annual Golden Globe Awards.