Robert Downey Jr. has forever changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with his portrayal of Tony Stark/ Iron Man. While some people doubted his casting for the role of the Armored Avenger he silenced all his haters when he made his debut with his first standalone film Iron Man in 2008. His immense popularity as the character made him the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout eleven years, Downey Jr. has reprised his role in ten films, with Avengers: Endgame bringing his time in the franchise to an end.
Naturally, after Robert Downey Jr. marked his exit, the MCU is trying vehemently to fill the void left by the Oppenheimer actor. While Marvel has attempted to fill the role, with several big names, their influence is nothing compared to Downey Jr.’s as his presence compelled many big names to be a part of the MCU, proving Quentin Tarantino’s words wrong.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Presence Influenced Actors To Join The MCU
There’s no denying that Robert Downey Jr. had an unparalleled influence on the success and popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His outstanding performance and the ability to improvise the scene, with unscripted lines and behavior made the scenes more memorable. But more than that he made other actors yearn to be a part of the MCU, as they being a part of the franchise would have given their acting careers a huge boost.
This was evident and Joanna Robinson, a co-author of MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios was a guest on Phase Zero podcast, where she stated even though Marvel has put their fate on several actors, none of them could fill in the void left by the actor after the 2019 film.
“I don’t think they have a replacement and I think that they had hoped that some of the people that they had put in place including [Paul] Rudd, [Benedict] Cumberbatch, the late, great Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, etc. might step in and be that sort of on-screen and off-screen leader. But that has not been the case for a number of reasons.”
The co-author discussed how Marvel has been struggling to overcome the absence of the Zodiac actor, and how he shaped the Marvel Universe alongside Kevin Feige, the President of the Marvel Studios. The actor’s charismatic presence compelled Academy Award-nominated actors and winners to join the franchise that helped Marvel to grow heavily during Phase 2.
“And every A-list actor wanted a role in a Marvel movie, and your Oscar winners, and your whatever, your cinematic legends. [Downey] is setting a tone that they followed and you can just see echoes of Downey’s wry, zippy tone, and Joss Whedon, as a writer, matches that tone, so when he sort of shepherds Phase 2, it endures through that.”
Robert Downey Jr.’s influence on the franchise’s success proved Quentin Tarantino’s statement to be absolutely bizarre and silly. But what did the acclaimed filmmaker say about the actors working in the franchise that made him regret his statement?
Quentin Tarantino Isn’t Blown Away By The MCU And its Actors
Over the years, the MCU has faced immense criticism from fans and critics, as each film follows a similar storyline, calling it overly homogenous. But there’s a whole list of filmmakers who are hating on the franchise, as superhero films are a money-making genre that is killing a whole generation of filmmakers, who are more interested in making films that will showcase personal relationships, and feelings, and show something that the audience could relate to.
While Martin Scorsese hates the MCU, Quentin Tarantino does not have a problem with the franchise but has something bold to say about the actors playing the roles. During an episode of 2 Bears 1 Cave podcast, Tarantino stated that people are paying to see their favorite characters come to life, and the actor portraying those characters doesn’t have any influence on them.
“Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is…you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters. But they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star. I mean, I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times…but it’s like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star.”
While this was a bold statement to make, Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark/ Iron Man remains the greatest of all time. For Marvel fans, it would be impossible to even imagine that any other actor except him is deemed to play the role.
Iron Man can be streamed on Disney+.