Robert Downey Jr. has signed up for two more Avengers films.

Marvel announced Thursday that the actor will reprise his role as Iron Man/Tony Stark for The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3.

Downey Jr. has played the character in a trilogy of Iron Man movies, as well as the first superhero ensemble Avengers film, which made $2.7 billion US worldwide.

Joss Whedon is to return as director of the next Avengers film. He is writing the screenplay now. Production is to begin in March, with a theatrical release in May 2015.

The 48-year-old actor had previously suggested Iron Man 3 might be his last spin in a stand-alone Iron Man film. Marvel's announcement made no mention of an Iron Man 4 release.