What will happen if Robert Downey Jr. stops being Iron Man?

I got a lot of mail this week about some wedding you guys went to? Apparently the bride wore red or something? Weird, but hey, it’s post-apocalyptic America, people can wear paisley for all I care.

Anyways, the very last Q&A has mild spoilers for last week’s Game of Thrones, which you seriously need to watch right now or admit you’re playing Russian spoiler roulette every time you get on the Internet.


Bad Asses

Jarod S.:

There are a lot of bad guys in the TV/movie world, but only a few that I just *hate*. I think this is really a testament to the actor/actress. Joffrey, as evil as he is in the book, I think is brought to life in such way that I really don't think I could contain myself if I met Jack Gleeson in person. I really, really dislike him. My most hated bad dude in movies for some reason is Commodus from Gladiator. A little angry just thinking about him right now. Who is your most despised bad guy?

Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter is pretty much a grown-up Joffrey in pink, who’s even convinced herself that her cruelty is genuinely good for society — hell, at least Voldemort admits he’s a bad guy. The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is… well, he’s a Child Catcher, so you know he doesn’t have any redeemable features. Paul Reiser’s character from Aliens puts money ahead of the survival of the whole human race, so he’s thoroughly despicable. I also hate Weyland from Prometheus, partially because of his hubris, partially because his plan is so dumb, and mostly because Prometheus was horrible. And, lest we forget, the Red Skull from the Captain America comics is an unrepentant Nazi who joined Hitler because he liked all the racism and persecution and murder, so there’s absolutely no sympathizing with him at all.

But Joffrey is still the perfect storm of things we hate, for a bunch of reasons: He’s in a position of power he doesn’t deserve. He abuses that power. He doesn’t care about law o rmorality, feeling that everyone and everything is supposed to obey him and suits his whims. He hurts the heroes and he tortures the weak and enjoys it. He thinks himself awesome and a badass, when he’s clearly not — he’s actually quite cowardly and evil. There is absolutely nothing about Joffrey we sympathize with. I tell you, it’s a good thing Jack Gleeson has decided to go back to school after he’s done with Game of Thrones, because he’s so good at being the world’s most hateful dick that he’ll never get any other types of roles.

The Iron Throne

Just a guy waiting for the mail:

Dear Future Postman who rides through the wreckage of the fallen nations,

Due to the recent uncertainty with Robert Downey Jr. and his will to take up the mantle of Iron Man again, would it be possible for the movies to pass this off to a new comer, perhaps a younger person who can sympathize with the cause and the drive to become Iron Man. Sort of in the Batman Begins vein?

Is it possible? Yes. Likely? I don’t think so. The only person that Tony Stark passes the Iron Man mantle to in the comics is James Rhodes, who’s already busy being War Machine. Could Marvel do a War Machine movie? Yes, and I think this is more likely than putting Rhodey in the Iron Man armor and letting him star in Iron Man 4 or something.

But much more importantly, resetting Iron Man would effectively reset the entire Marvel cinematic universe, and that is NOT something Marvel wants to do. Could you have a new Iron Man and have him go through the process of meeting all the Avengers again and so forth? Sure, but it would be awkward and super-weird and time-consuming, and then what do you do when Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth quit being Captain America and Thor? You can’t just have them pass the mantle of the only super-soldier and the Norse god of thunder on Earth.

The only thing that makes sense is for someone new to play the same Tony Stark, and keep the events of the previous movies canon — same with Cap, Thor, Hawkeye, whoever. Consider it like when a comic switches artists and writers — the characterization and art style may be different, but it’s still technically the same character. Sure, it’ll be weird to see someone else play Tony Stark, but this way, the Marvel cinematic universe can continue without getting bogged down in redoing origin stories that were told pretty damn recently. And since Marvel has just begun their “Cinematic Phase 2” and have plans for at least a “Cinematic Phase 3,” I’d say they're quite intent on continuing the universe they’ve created, and not resetting it any time soon. For which I, for one, am immensely graeful.

Also, I wouldn’t count Robert Downey Jr,. as leaving the role just yet. It’s amazing what a couple of dump trucks filled with cash can do to change someone’s mind.

What will happen if Robert Downey Jr. stops being Iron Man?

Armed or Dangerous

Mary H.:

Dear Postman,

I have just starting reading your weekly articles within the last year, so I apologized if this question was already asked, but what is the, in your opinion, the best weapon to have during a zombie apocalypse, or even just for a regular old collapse of civilization? Should I just go out and buy an AR15 or an AK47 and start to stock up on bullets, or buy a samurai sword, or start to hoard a butt load of shurikens, etc...? What should I look into using as the ideal weapon, to keep me alive, during the zombie apocalypse?

In the past, I have gotten into arguments with friends over what I should be the best weapon for a zombie apocalypse. I have always said that something like a samurai sword is the best type of weapon because, with a samurai sword you are not going to run out of bullets. My friends have argued that guns are the best choice of weapons, and a couple of them have even mention that a sawed-off shotgun or pretty much any gun that uses a .22 long rifle bullet as the best zombie weapon. So, in your opinion, what is the best weapon to have during a zombie apocalypse?

First of all, your gun-happy friends are wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong. Unless they have seven billion or bullets on hand, one for every potentially zombiefied man, woman or child on the planet — oh, and they never miss a headshot — eventually they are going to run out of bullets and be fucked. Crossbows are way better, since you can usually retrieve the arrow afterwards… unless you’re being chased by a horde, in which case the crossbow is just as useless as a gun.

So melee weapons, yes? Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide (which is the final word on the subject) recommends the Shaolin Spade, which can easily decapitate zombies while giving you distance from them. Unfortunately, they hardly sell these at Wal-Mart. As for samurai swords, yes, they’re awesome… if you are good enough with a katana that you can reliably decapitate someone running at you to eat your brains every single time. Frankly, not many people have the training to make samurai swords as deadly as they need to be to be effective.

So I recommend getting a good machete — sharp, strong blade, doesn’t need a ton of skill to be effective, or a trench spike, which Brooks also recommends, which is a long knife with brass knuckles. Not that the knuckles will really help much, but it’ll keep the knife in your hands. (actually have two, in case one gets stuck in a skull or something).

What will happen if Robert Downey Jr. stops being Iron Man?

Cock Star

Erick H.:

Why did the chicken in Robot Chicken cross the road?

To flee the increasingly nightmarish Wizard Entertainment and make it big in Hollywood. From one who knows.

What will happen if Robert Downey Jr. stops being Iron Man?

You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Horny

VvK:

Dear Postman,

Bruce Banner's transformation is fueled by his rage, which means that it's adrenaline that affects his muscles, and excites them so that they grow in size. Doesn't that mean that the Hulk should always walk around with a throbbing erection?

Alas for the Hulk, the penis is not a muscle, just an organ whose size depends entirely on blood flow. So the Hulk would have to be angry (to be the Hulk) and aroused in order to have an Incredible Erection, and if you’re near the Hulk when he has a stiffie, may god have mercy in your soul. Suffice it to say, it would bring a whole new level to the term “hate-fuck." Although there is the possibility that the Hulk is too angry to get turned on, so maybe he can't get an erection as the Hulk.

However, since the Hulk transformation makes every part of Banner grow — arms, legs, hand, feet, head, internal organs — it’s stands to reason that the Lil’ Hulk would grow, too, whether it stands at attention or not. So at least his transformation does him a bit of good downstairs.

The Red Reception

Shannon G.:

What that the reaction you expected people to have about the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones?

[MILD SPOILERS FOR LAST WEEK’S GAME OF THRONES.] Very much so! People crying in anguish? People screaming that they’ll never watch another episode of Game of Thrones again? People yelling that they’re going to cancel their HBO subscriptions? People declaring George R.R. Martin is a sick bastard and deserves to be physically beaten up for his cruelty to the fictional characters he created? People still unable to emotionally process what they’ve seen days later? People who, while stunned, realize what a brilliant, ballsy event this is in both fantasy literature and dramatic television? This is all shit that people went through when they read that chapter in A Storm of Swords, just on a more massive scale.

The coolest thing about HBO’s Game of Thrones — besides, you know, having a wonderfully acted, wonderfully made adaptation of an incredible fantasy series on a channel that did not need to alter its basic content for viewers — is how the book readers somehow all agreed to not spoil it for the TV viewers. Just like we did with Ned’s death in season one, we know how important the Red Wedding was, and how experiencing it is one of A Song of Ice and Fire’s most incredible, painful, mind-blowing moments, and we wanted the TV viewers to experience it like we did (for the most part; there are always a few assholes out there). Given that the book came out in 2000, the fact that it was important to us as book readers that the TV viewers not be spoiled is a credit both to the fans and the power of GRRM’s writing, itruly.

Case in point: When my mom, who is by no means a fantasy fan but watches Game of Thrones because it is a great TV series, called me at 10:02 pm on Sunday night immediately after the episode aired and basically said nothing but “OH. MY. GOD.” for 10 full minutes… it was awesome. I'm so glad she got to experience that moment like I did, that the full impact of the shock and horror and amazement hit her. Regardless of whether you approve of the "twist" or not, there are very few works of anything that can emotionally touch people to this scale, and it's awesome that this incredible event was translated so perfectly to a new medium to an audience that saw it coming as little as the book readers did.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!