Robert Downey Jr. "Joyful" to Be a Part of Marvel's Diverse New Film Slate

What does Robert Downey Jr., the undisputed box office champion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, think of the studio's recently revealed diverse roster of upcoming superhero films? The "Iron Man" star said he's very happy to be part of the "forward-thinking company."

At Thursday's annual Britannia Awards -- given by BAFTA LA, a Los Angeles-based organization of British film and television professionals -- CBR asked Downey what it meant to him to be at the forefront of Marvel's movie plans through 2019. Having been a cornerstone of the studio's expanding film legacy since 2008's "Iron Man" -- the first Marvel Studios offering -- Downey's thoughts quickly turned to Marvel's freshly diverse superhero slate, which includes solo films starring a Black superhero ("Black Panther") and a female superhero ("Captain Marvel").

"It's great, and I love it," Downey told CBR News. "But being able to have Chadwick Boseman be announced for playing Black Panther, and that Marvel is going to have a female superhero - it's those things that it would have started creating an imbalance, I think, in just what's appropriate and right and feels like what the people deserve. And so I just think that Marvel has turned into this very kind of civilized, forward-thinking company, and it's just joyful to be a part of that."

On Tuesday, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced Marvel's full "Phase 3" slate of films, including the Chadwick Boseman-starred "Black Panther" (scheduled for Nov. 3, 2017) and "Captain Marvel," featuring the Carol Danvers version of the character (scheduled for July 6, 2018). Before the "Black Panther" solo film, Boseman will appear as the Wakandan hero in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." As of this week, Marvel Studios has announced films through May 3, 2019's "Avengers: Infinity War Part II."

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