Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of Iron Man was loved immensely by fans across the globe. The actor became synonymous with the role and his standalone Iron Man film from 2008 became the strong foundation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to branch its course across the decade with 23 films and many more planned under the canon. But, there was a time when studios straight up refused to cast Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man in 2008.
Back in 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was speaking at the New York Film Academy about how it was a gamble to cast Robert Downey Jr in the titular role. Kevin Feige recalled the time when he spoke to the marketing team at Paramount Pictures, the studio which distributed the first Iron Man film and told then that if done right, Tony Stark and Iron Man could become household names for many. That is how interesting they wished the character to be.
Kevin stated that the first decision he made as the Marvel Studios president was to cast Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man. He called the decision to be fun as it could either turn out to be great or the biggest dumpster fire ever. Both Kevin Feige and director Jon Favreau have revealed it on various occasions that Robert Downey jr's casting as Iron Man was a risky gamble as the actor had a bad past behind him having a history of serving prison time and substance abuse which was not a suitable choice for a movie attracting younger audiences.
But as witnessed by millions of audience members, Robert Downey Jr's performance as Tony Stark in Iron Man was deemed to be the most comic-accurate portrayal of a character on the silver screen. The actor went on to become a household name, as foretold by Kevin Feige. He bid an emotional yet enthralling farewell to the character in 2019's Avengers: Endgame.
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