robert downey

After slugging it out with The Mandarin Aldrich Killian in “Iron Man 3,” Tony Stark hung up his red-and-gold armor and removed the arc reactor that’s defined his life for years. Those two decisions left fans wondering how Stark might reactivate his superhero career. Turns out, there’s an answer for that — he won’t.

In an interview with Variety, Robert Downey Jr. confirms that “there’s no plan for a fourth ‘Iron Man,’” news that’s sure to sadden fans of ol’ Shellhead. But it shouldn’t come as a shock, either.

Downey is front and center as Iron Man in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” but past that, he’s only contracted for a third “Avengers.” With so many other superheroes vying for the spotlight, and only so many release dates available to give said heroes their time to shine, it’s no wonder that Marvel wants to hit “pause” on the “Iron Man” franchise.

Besides, with “Guardians of the Galaxy” emerging from absolute obscurity to become the highest-grossing movie of the year, does Marvel need a juggernaut like Iron Man to lead the way anymore? Or can Tony Stark remain reserved for “Avengers” adventures from here on out?

For now, here’s what we know about the upcoming Marvel movie schedule:

May 1, 2015 — “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
July 17, 2015 — “Ant-Man”
May 6, 2016 — “Captain America 3″
July 8, 2016 — Unconfirmed (But rumored to be “Doctor Strange”)
May 5, 2017 — Unconfirmed
July 27, 2017 — “Guardians of the Galaxy 2″
November 3, 2017 — Unconfirmed
May 4, 2018 — Unconfirmed
July 6, 2018 — Unconfirmed
November 2, 2018 — Unconfirmed
May 3, 2019 — Unconfirmed