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Robert Downey, Jr. Offers An Emotional Tribute To The MCU's Fans

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed a lot over the past decade, but one thing remain constant: It would not be the universe we know and love today without the enormous talent of Robert Downey Jr.

Often called the "grandfather of the MCU," his initial debut in 2008's "Iron Man" as the titular Tony Stark completed changed the superhero genre and paved the way for the rest of our favorite comic book heroes and villains.

Iron Man's death at the conclusion of "Avengers: Endgame" was emotional not just because it meant the end of the character's staggering ten-film run, but the end of Downey Jr. in the MCU, too. Now, in an afterword published in new book "The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe," Downey Jr. shared some words about what his time as an Avenger meant to him — and if you're a dedicated MCU fan, get your tissues ready.

Robert Downey Jr. credits fans with the MCU's success

Robert Downey Jr.'s afterword takes the form of a letter, written back in 2018. The actor shared words of respect and admiration for his fellow MCU cast mates for their incredible work throughout the franchise, including his original Avenger cast mates Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeremy Renner, sharing that the group remain "close-knit" (via The Direct). Downey Jr. even referred to "talk of a group tattoo" which, much to our delight, did ultimately happen.

However, it's Downey Jr.'s kind words to fans that really left a mark on us. "If you made it to the 'end credits' of this anniversary edition, you're likely a fan, so there's your Easter egg, darlings...a mirror! Ever since Comic Con 2007 [where the first teaser trailer for "Iron Man" was shown], it's been apparent that the audience...was no longer just listening," the actor shared (as reported by The Direct). "For ten years, YOU have copiloted the narrative."

Downey Jr. ended his words in a way very fit to his character, saying, "At this point, Tony might say: 'You're welcome.' I'll balance that with a boundless eternal: 'Thank you.'"

While it's unlikely that Tony Stark will be making his way back to the MCU, Downey Jr. has said "never say never" in regards to reprising his iconic role. Regardless of whether Iron Man appears or not, we will always have a huge space in our Marvel-loving hearts for the original MCU Avenger.