SAN DIEGO - Robert Downey Jr. is far from surprised that "The Avengers" now stands as the third-highest-grossing film of all time. After all, he expects that from every single one of his movies.

"Here's my problem," began the actor, answering my question about the film's massive success on the Comic-Con press line for "Iron Man 3" over the weekend. "Every time one of my movies comes out, I think it's going to be the  #3 biggest movie of all time. And so it's really weird. It's like I cried wolf, and one actually showed up this time."

Despite this stunning lack of career doubt, Downey - who took a break from filming the threequel to attend the annual San Diego fest on Saturday - told us he still occasionally needs a recharge from the franchise's enormous fanbase to keep his energy up.

"I just like hanging out with the people," he said. "I feel like I'm at a filling station, getting all kinds of juice from the fans, and then I'm gonna go put that to use in the second half of the shoot."

This juice will likely help Downey tackle the stunt work that's required for the latter half of principal photography, much of which he insisted on performing himself.

"I just said while I'm still physically able, I'd like to leave it all on the field, and I would like there to be ten moments where people wonder how I was stupid enough to actually do that stunt," he said. "Most of all me."

During the red carpet event we also managed to catch up with writer/director Shane Black - taking over from "Iron Man 1 and 2" helmer Jon Favreau on the threequel - who spoke to us about why he decided to put the focus back on Tony Stark in the third movie.

"The first movie was my favorite, because it was Tony Stark-centric," said Black, standing side-by-side with Marvel production prez Kevin Feige. "It was so mythic in its invocation of this guy who has this phoenix thing happen to him, that not to dwell on that kind of myth, and not to go back to the well and try to mine it for more, about what that journey would ultimately be. What is that transformation from man to machine and back again?"

For more from Downey and Black on the upcoming sequel - including Downey's thoughts on Tony Stark's "inner demons" - check out the interviews in their entirety above and below!



"Iron Man 3" is scheduled for release on May 3, 2013.