With its incredible opening weekend, Deadpool has defied expectations to become a huge success for 20th Century Fox. Part of the film’s success comes from director Tim Miller, whose singular vision brought the Merc With a Mouth to the big screen. However, this is not the first time Miller has worked with Marvel characters. Recently, Marvel CCO Joe Quesada revealed how the director played a part in making the first Iron Man movie a reality.
Before hitting the big screen, Deadpool had been a long-gestating project, for which Miller created test footage as a way of convincing Fox executives of the movie’s look and tone. That footage came from Blur Studio, a company co-founded by Miller that specializes in 3D character animation, motion design, and other visual effects for movies. After the footage was leaked online, the exuberant fan reaction resulted in the studio green lighting the film. Fast forward to today, Deadpool has set box office records and was almost immediately awarded a sequel from the studio.
After congratulating the Deadpool team on its success, Quesada revealed on his Tumblr how Miller and Blur Studio were involved with the first Iron Man movie. Miller’s job, according to Quesada, was to alleviate some of the problems with bringing Iron Man to the big screen — problems like the character’s lack of recognition amongst young children and non-comic book readers. Quesada said:
“As we at Marvel began plans on the first Iron Man movie our focus group research showed that we had some serious awareness issues with the character, especially amongst kids.”
In many cases, Quesada explained, kids thought Iron Man was “a robot.” In order to raise awareness for the character, the studio collaborated with Miller and Blur to create “Iron Man Advertorials” — short films intended to introduce Tony Stark and Iron Man to younger viewers. Quesada broke down what the goals of the short films were:
” Our marching orders were to…
1- Clearly demonstrate that there was a man inside the armor.
2- Show off his wide range of cool powers.
3- Position him clearly as a hero on the same level as Spidey and Hulk by having those characters show how cool they perceive him to be and valued him as a peer.”
The Marvel CCO also provided a look at the Iron Man Advertorials, the second and third of which you can see below:
As you can see from the clips, Miller and his team delivered something that not only informed viewers who and what Iron Man was, but it almost seems to have informed the final act of The Avengers. Both films depict Tony Stark embarking on a near-suicidal mission to rush a nuclear device out of Earth’s atmosphere. The ensuing explosion of the nuke sends Iron Man plummeting back to earth, where he is caught and returned to safety by the Hulk.
In addition to offering up Miller’s Marvel Studios background, Quesada continued with many compliments to the director and his team:
“That’s where Tim and the incredible team at Blur came in and knocked this assignment out of the park. Working with Tim was a joy (you’d have trouble finding a nicer more creative guy) and immediately his love of all things Marvel and comics was evident. He took the scripts and created beautifully visceral action scenes while never forgetting to keep things lighthearted with the classic Marvel sense of humor running throughout.”
The first clip features the sort of lighter tone that has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and certainly played a part in Deadpool as well. While Deadpool marks Tim Miller’s feature-length debut, it’s clear that his directorial vision and love of Marvel characters have been with him for a long time. The big question now is: after Deadpool 2, how many studios will be climbing over each other trying to get Miller to helm their superhero films?
Deadpool is now playing in theaters. X-Men: Apocalypse arrives on May 27, 2016, followed by Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.