Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle have officially signed on to Iron Man 3 and The Avengers, the Marvel Studios project that will unite several of its superhero properties:
In addition to starring in "Iron Man 2," Downey has agreed to return as billionaire Tony Stark and his crime-fighting alter ego in "The Avengers" and a third "Iron Man" installment, guaranteeing the thesp a superhero-sized payday and his own ongoing franchise as part of a four-picture deal with the comicbook company.
Company confirmed that Don Cheadle will replace Terrence Howard as Col. James Rhodes in the "Iron Man" sequels. Cheadle will also appear in "The Avengers."
This should finally shoot down all those rumors that Marvel was going to cast big-name actors in several superhero film franchises, allude to their eventual merging with cross-over characters and mention of forming the Avengers team, then suddenly re-cast all the parts with actors from community theaters and failed CW shows. Phew!
Downey Jr. extends Marvel deal [Variety]