Everyone, Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man – the movie that started it all – came out FIFTEEN YEARS ago. That’s right. In 2008 the smash hit premiered in theaters and kicked off what we now call the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did it start a new dawn of superhero movies, but it marked a serious comeback for Downey Jr’s career.
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Considering the success of Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. became synonymous with the tech billionaire character. This is why fans may find it hard to believe he was almost cast as another Marvel character first! He auditioned for Dr. Doom, the villain of the 2005 Fantastic Four film.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first Iron Man movie, director Jon Favreau and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige got together for a Marvel Entertainment video called ‘Iron Man: 15 Years Later.’ In the video they discuss why Jon Favreau signed on to direct, the pressures of opening weekend, and connections to the Marvel Comics.
Around the four-minute and forty-five second mark, Favreau begins to reveal how Robert Downey Jr got involved. It’s a casual mention, but a huge bomb to confirm for MCU fans! Here’s his quote as Keven Feige nods in confirmation:
I remember that Robert had come in for a general on it and I remember you had all met with him already for like Dr. Doom or something on another project… I think he had come through on… like Fantastic Four… So everybody sort of knew who he was and I remember sitting down with the guy and I was like geez he just got… that spark in him and his eye, and he’s ready. And that’s when we were in your (Feige) office and we were pointing to his headshot and saying we got to try to figure this out.
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Just before this revelation, Feige admits that Robert Downey Jr’s casting as Iron Man “was probably one of the greatest decisions in the history of Hollywood.”
Dr. Doom was eventually played by Julian McMahon. Marvel fans will note, however, that Chris Evans (AKA Captain America) starred in Fantastic Four as the Human Torch, meaning Robert Downey Jr. feasibly also could’ve done both the Doom and Iron Man roles.
Check out the whole 21-minute video below shared by Marvel Entertainment.