The Marvel Cinematic Universe got a lot bigger this week, after the studio announced their full Phase Three slate through 2019, which will have a whopping nine movies. This phase will be properly set up by next year's Avengers: Age of Ultron, the ending of which will alter the superhero team's lineup.

Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Tony Stark, spoke about how the events of Iron Man 3, where he removed the ARC reactor and destroyed all of his Iron Man suits, helps set up Avengers: Age of Ultron, in a new interview with Marvel.com.

"I thought that the third Iron Man was about [Tony] transcending his dependence on the merits of continuing to wear your wound. That was what [director] Shane [Black] and I thought was the real win, that he throws that thing that had become a dependency away. Because that was the question I was always asking, why doesn't he get those shards out [of his chest]? It's dangerous. It reminds me of all that stuff, particularly as you get a little older or if you have any existential queries whatsoever. Why aren't I dealing with that which is going to destroy me any second anyway? The armor was kind of an extension of that. There were so many suits, but I think he realizes that making all the suits in the world, which is what he had been doing, still didn't [help him]. His focus [now] is more on how can we make it so that there's no problem to begin with. That there's a bouncer at our planet's rope. That's the big idea."

It has long been rumored that Tony Stark himself is the one who creates Ultron (voiced by James Spader), and the actor's statement certainly lends credence to this unconfirmed plot point. The actor also went on to praise writer-director Joss Whedon.

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"First of all, he's a good writer. I always tend to think, generally speaking, is this a movie I want to see? Because all the fine points are going to get worked out. This time, I think that from jump I thought wow, this is what I hadn't figured out beforehand. This is what Avengers: Age of Ultron should be. I was done with the first draft and I said, 'Cool. I like it.' [Producer] Kevin [Feige] was like, 'Wait, what did you just say?' [laughs] And [Joss] is continuing to write, even as we're setting up shots. He's bringing back in a line that was in the first draft or whatever.

This time around, I just want to say in summary it's been fun. We all have become close. It just seems like we're all genuinely developing relationships with each other. And I think the start and end of it is in trusting Joss. That he really, really knows what he's doing."