Robert Downey Jr. Was In Talks For Marvel Villain Role Before Landing ‘Iron Man’

What would’ve become of the MCU if Kevin Feige had never hired Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark? There’s a very good chance the Marvel Studios we know now would never have happened. But according to a conversation between Iron Man director/co-star Jon Favreau and Feige, Downey was actually being sought for another role first…a villain.

“I remember you had all met with [Downey] already for like Doctor Doom or something on another project,” Favreau said to Feige. “I think he had come through on maybe Fantastic Four, so everybody sort of knew who he was.”

The movie Favreau is referring to is the 2005 Fantastic Four, a pre-MCU version of Marvel’s First Family starring Iaon Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, and future Captain America himself Chris Evans. As for that Dr. Doom role, it ultimately went to Nip/Tuck actor Julian McMahon.

And it’s a good thing, because Favreau says Iron Man never would’ve worked without Downey…

“He was the puzzle piece that made it all work,” Favreau said. “I remember sitting down with the guy, and I was like, ‘He’s got that spark in him in his eye and he’s ready.’ That’s when we were in your office, and we were pointing to his headshot, saying, ‘We got to try to figure this out.’”

Feige remarked that Iron Man‘s tone, established by Favreau and Downey, became the model for the entire MCU. He added…

“I remember on later movies – we’ll talk about them on the 15th anniversary of those – there were dark days. And I would say to Robert, ‘We wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for you.’ Meaning, we wouldn’t have a studio if it wasn’t for him.”

It’s an interesting interview talking about the birth of the MCU. You can check the whole thing out below. [via Deadline]

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.