Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo reveal that Robert Downey Jr. initially didn't want to say Tony Stark's final line in the film. Kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with director Jon Favreau in 2008's Iron Man, Downey has played the role 10 times over the course of 11 years, with his final performance aptly in the recent Marvel blockbuster that capped off the 22-film arc that the franchise has been treading. Stark's superhero journey ended with the heroic act of sacrificing his own life in exchange of the defeat of Thanos and the assurance of the universe's future. And in honor of the legacy that the character is leaving behind, they've peppered subtle callbacks from his early adventures throughout the film - from Happy (Favreau) and Morgan's (Lexi Rabe) cheeseburger conversation to the return of his original arc reactor during his funeral. But arguably the film's best one came during Stark's final stand against the Mad Titan.
Having succeeded in undoing The Decimation, the Avengers continue to fight Thanos who threatens to burn the universe down if given another chance to wield the gauntlet. But just when everyone thought that he's going to successfully do another snap, it's revealed that Stark was able to snatch away the stones and embed it on his own gauntlet. Without any hesitation, he clicked his finger, dusting off the Mad Titan and all of his minions, but before that, he said: "I am Iron Man" - a response to Thanos previously declaring: "I am inevitable." It was the perfect line for Stark just as he was gearing up to die as it's in reference to the last scene in Iron Man where he came clean about his superhero identity. But apparently, Downey didn't want to deliver it in the first place.
Speaking with CinemaBlend's ReelBlend, Joe Russo details how Downey told them that he didn't want to say that line because "it's hard." It was only until Endgame producer Joel Silver, who has worked with the actor outside of the MCU in the Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (and also Sherlock Holmes 3), as well as Kiss Kiss Bang chimed in the conversation and persuaded him.
It’s an interesting story. I had dinner with [Robert Downey Jr.] like two weeks before we were supposed to shoot it. And he was like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t really want to go back and get into that emotional state. It’ll take… it’s hard.’ And crazily enough, Joel Silver, the producer, was at the dinner. He’s an old buddy of Robert’s. And Joel jumps in and he’s like, ‘Robert, what are you talking about? That’s the greatest line I’ve ever heard! You gotta say this line! You have to do this!’ So thank God that Joel Silver was at dinner, because he helped us talk Robert into doing that line.
As previously reported, the scene with Downey saying "I am Iron Man" was a last minute reshoot and was filmed shortly after the actor was convinced to finally do the part. And if it wasn't emotional enough to film his MCU final scene with a direct callback to his first outing as Tony Stark, they did additional work at a stage in Raleigh Studio in Los Angeles which is adjacent to the stage that he test screened for Iron Man more than a decade ago. Much has been said about how big of a risk Kevin Feige and his team had to take in order to get the franchise's first film off the ground, and one of their biggest gambles was hiring Downey who was weighed down by his troubled past. It was Favreau who fought for his casting, firmly believing that he's the perfect guy to bring Tony Stark to life and he was not wrong.
It's difficult to imagine the MCU without Downey and Tony Stark in it. Iron Man remains to be the poster boy of the universe and while's he's no longer around after Avengers: Endgame, he'll live through with a new crop of heroes he had a direct link to like Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as seen in the latest Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Who knows, moving forward, fans might also see Morgan don an armor? But what's more interesting to know is how this affects the franchise off-screen. The actor made an effort to foster a fun working environment evidenced by his hosted lunches making him their leader, something that everyone's hoping to continue even him no longer around.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019