In Captain America: Civil War we learned that Tony Star (Robert Downey Jr) and his girlfriend/business partner Pepper Potts, payed by Gwyneth Paltrow, were on a “break.” In reality it was Paltrow who was on a break. Her contract with Marvel Studios to play the character was up and by all reports not renewed after her appearance in 2013’s Iron Man 3.
That break may be over, though. Gossip site LaineyGossip is reporting that Paltrow will be back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making an appearance in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Downey’s Stark, as well as Jon Favereau as Stark’s security chief Happy Hogan, are already confirmed to be in the film. In fact, there’s so much of Downey in the two trailers we have seen so far that some internet wags have taken to calling the movie Iron Man 4.
The news certainly runs counter to Paltrow’s previous statements that she was done with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Rumors suggested that Marvel Studios had no problem with her decision. With her contract up for renegotiation, it is probable that the studio did not think the bump in salary she would command would be a worthwhile investment. Especially as it looked as if there were going to be no more Iron Man films with Downey headlining, leaving only small cameos in other films for her character. For what it is worth, the site did accurately report Paltrow’s absence from Captain America: Civil War at a time when her participation had a large question mark hovering over it.
The gossip site does note that since Spider-Man: Homecoming is being produced by Sony as part of their unique partnership with Marvel Studios over the Spider-Man character, it is Sony that would be fitting the bill for Paltrow’s return. And that might not actually be setting well with Sony studio chief Tom Rothman. As head of Twentieth Century Fox Rothman deservedly earned a reputation as someone who is not enamored with superhero films and their cost. According to some reports, Rothman’s mindset has not changed much with his move to Sony. So if this rumor is true and Paltrow is back with Sony footing the bill for her appearance, this could conceivably impact negotiations between Marvel and Sony when it comes time to renew their Spider-Man sharing deal which is currently set to expire after the release of the Homecoming sequel in July 2019.