The Hollywood trades are reporting that Robert Downey, Jr. has signed a four-picture deal with Marvel Studios.  Downey, Jr. will return as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Iron Man 2, which is slated for release on May 7th, 2010, Iron Man 3 (release date to be determined), and The Avengers, which is due out on July 15th, 2011 (the fourth picture in the deal is the original Iron Man film, which has been included retroactively).  Downey, who is just about as hot as any actor in Hollywood, has recently signed on to a number of films including a Sherlock Holmes movie that could become a franchise, so it made sense for Marvel to secure some places on his dance card. 


Don Cheadle, who is replacing Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes/War Machine (see “Don Cheadle Replaces Terrence Howard”) in Iron Man 2, has signed on for The Avengers as well as Iron Man 2.  Jon Favreau, who has finally been formally announced as the director of Iron Man 2, will be an executive producer on The Avengers.