Robert Downey Jr. to suit up as Iron Man again as Marvel sets the stage for heroes to clash

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After weeks of teases from Robert Downey Jr. about what the future holds for billionaire superhero Tony Stark, we now have some big clues regarding Marvel’s plans for Iron Man — and they include a major story arc that will be familiar to comic fans.

According to Variety, Downey is in talks to join the cast of the third Captain America movie for a story that will kick off an adaptation of the “Civil War” arc from Marvel’s comics continuity. Downey will reprise his role as Iron Man for the film, which is scheduled to hit theaters May 6, 2016.

The “Civil War” arc from Marvel’s comics universe pitted Iron Man against Captain America when the former came out in support of legislation requiring superheroes to divulge their identities to the government and become licensed peacekeepers for U.S. authorities. The “Superhero Registration Act” is enacted in the aftermath of a high-casualty disaster that resulted from a battle between superheroes and villains in Stamford, Connecticut.

The seven-issue story arc, which was published in 2006-2007 and spanned a long list of tie-ins and miniseries in addition to the primary storyline, put Tony Stark on the side of government regulation of superheroes and Captain America as the primary voice of dissent, with the latter hero believing that the law endangered heroes’ civil liberties. Captain America was eventually forced to go on the run from Iron Man and the government agents charged with enforcing the law, and the pair — and the superheroes allied with each of them — clashed on multiple occasions.

If the deal with Downey falls into place, it may indicate that Iron Man himself could be the villain of the third Captain America film, as he was generally cast in that role for much of the “Civil War” arc.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo are returning for the third film, which is being written by franchise veterans Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

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