The latest Avengers: Endgame featurette reflects on Robert Downey Jr.'s casting as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Marvel Studios' first headlining actor hire was anything but safe. Downey wasn't the global star when he was cast as the inaugural hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, he had a less than stellar reputation, and banking on him to launch a franchise was deemed too risky. Kevin Feige and his team pushed through with it anyway, and that decision proved right over time.
Since debuting as the genius, billionaire in Jon Favreau's Iron Man, Downey went on to reprise the role nine more times in varying degrees of involvement. His character has a completed trilogy, four Avengers films, and a few appearances as a supporting role. He ended his great run in Joe and Anthony Russo's Endgame in a poetic, albeit tragic way. What started as a self-serving industrialist, sacrificed his own life to ensure the safety of the universe against the threat of Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his minions. And now that his time in the MCU is done, people, including those who were involved in his casting, are getting a bit nostalgic in light of his departure.
In a new Endgame featurette courtesy of Fandango, Downey, Favreau, Marvel Studios casting director Sarah Halley Finn, and co-president Louis D'Esposito talk about the process of casting the role of Tony Stark. Intercut between their commentaries are pieces of footage from Downey's screen test and some behind-the-scenes shot from the first Iron Man. Watch the clip below:
As we get ready for @MarvelStudios to finally announce their next movies at #SDCC, let’s go back to where it all began w/ this exclusive bonus clip from the #AvengersEndgame home release. It features Downey Jr.’s Iron Man screentest & more— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) July 16, 2019
- via @Fandangopic.twitter.com/295XP3npXl
The clip is among the many bonus content fans will access from Endgame's Home Entertainment release. Considering that the film is Downey's last hurrah as Tony Stark, it makes sense that they include a tribute to his journey in the MCU. Admittedly, not everyone is content with how the Russos handled and eventually ended his storyline. Downey himself was skeptical about the idea when it was pitched to him by the writers. But while it's depressing to think about Tony's arc, it made sense for him to put on the gauntlet and prioritize the safety of everyone over his own especially given the recent events in his life. Frankly, there will be some sort of dissatisfaction if Thanos went out and it's not Stark (or Nebula) who ultimately defeated him.
The MCU will undoubtedly be different without Iron Man in it. Outside of the screen, it'll also be odd knowing that Downey's no longer involved with the franchise. He's been the actors' leader, and he embraced that role - hosting lunches for his co-stars and making sure that everyone felt welcome once they official boarded the film series. The truth is, he played a much bigger role than playing Tony Stark in the MCU, as he's one of the reasons it seems like every actor involved in the franchise is happy about it.
Amidst an incomparable contribution to the MCU, Downey's legacy as Iron Man is arguably settling a good example. He played the role 10 times, and his outing in Avengers: Endgame proved that he continued to have a lock on the character that could get him some love this coming award season. Throughout his run, he consistently performed well - regardless if it's a starring or supporting role. Perhaps his massive pay check had to do with it, but Iron Man has been so beloved, he could've easily gotten away by not giving it his all.
Avengers: Endgame will be available on digital on July 30, and on Blu-ray on August 13.