Hard to believe, but of all people Robert Downey Jr. was arguably the greatest risk in the MCU. The exact reasons for this are actually understandable.
Successful Marvel films have been with us for many years. Starting with the “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” works, it later started with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). “Iron Man” was the film that really got the MCU train rolling and the flick was not only a box-office hit, it was also able to convince critics. One of the reasons for this was definitely Robert Downey Jr., who played Tony Stark / Iron Man.
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However, Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, believes that, despite the success, signing Robert Downey Jr. has taken a huge risk, as he revealed in an interview with Cinema Blend:
“I was fortunate enough to be involved in early Spider-Man films and X-Men films. But we wanted to do an Iron Man movie. And I still think the biggest risk – which sounds outrageous now – was the casting of Robert Downey Jr. It was both the biggest risk and the most important thing in creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without Robert we wouldn’t be sitting here today. I really think so. “
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Robert Downey Jr. had no experience with action films
It is hard to imagine that Iron Man will no longer be played by Robert Downey Jr. in the future. The actor shaped an era and heroically bid farewell to the MCU in “Avengers 4: Endgame”. How does Kevin Feige come to the conclusion that it was a great risk to hire Robert Downey Jr. at the time? The Marvel boss provides the reason in the same interview and the explanation sounds pretty plausible:
“He was an amazing actor. Everyone knew he was a great actor. But he wasn’t an action star. He wasn’t exactly a popular star. And we quickly realized that the risk, as I said before, was not to occupy it. And Jon Favreau really had that vision for this film and for Robert in that role. In my opinion, this decision and the success of this decision enabled us to take further risks and make further decisions. “
Before his Iron Man role, Robert Downey Jr. starred in films such as “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and “Zodiac”, which were well received by critics but did not move the masses to the cinema. Because of that, the risk was in some ways great, but luckily, Downey Jr. hit a nerve immediately in the first “Iron Man” movie.
Although there will be an indirect successor with Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) from “Ironheart”, her character is clearly different and will establish her own story. The future will tell whether the MCU will ever dare to do a new Iron Man.
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