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'Avengers' star Robert Downey Jr. calls Russo brothers 'worthy stewards'

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Jay Maidment

The Avengers are set to conquer the box office once again this Friday when Age of Ultron opens in theaters and makes more money than actually exists in the world. But it also will be the last Avengers movie to be directed by Joss Whedon. Does it surprise star Robert Downey Jr. that Whedon decided to step back? We asked him when Iron Man himself stopped by the Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) studios to chat with Jessica Shaw and me about the new film.

“I wasn’t surprised because there was so much onus on can Ultron be as good as Avengers Assemble?” said Downey. “I just think it takes so much out of the men and women who are behind the major workload that occurs over a 24-month period, at best, to get one of these movies done. It’s backbreaking.”

With Joe and Anthony Russo set to take over for the two Avengers: Infinity War films (and also direct Downey in next year’s Captain America: Civil War), we asked the star what it is like to have his character now be directed by so many different people (Whedon, Jon Favreau, Shane Black, and now the Russos): “Its different every time,” replied Downey. “I’m also a very kind of loyal person so sometimes there’s a new face and I’m like ‘Wait a minute.’ But the interesting thing is I’ve worked with Jon twice, I’ve worked with Joss twice, and I worked with Shane Black once—and I’d happily do it with any of those three folks again.”

As for the future, Downey has confidence the franchise will keep humming along with the Russos. “I really think the Russo Brothers are super sharp and I think they are worthy stewards of carrying it forward.” There you have it: Iron Man approved! But was Downey consulted on the Russos getting the Avengers gig? Click on the SoundCloud below to hear his answer as well as more from the star.