“I gave myself a dare”: Real Reason Stan Lee Called One Superhero a Major Marvel Gamble That Built a $30B Empire 3 Decades Later

Despite all odds, Iron Man turned out to be one of the most popular superhero characters!

"I gave myself a dare": Real Reason Stan Lee Called One Superhero a Major Marvel Gamble That Built a $30B Empire 3 Decades Later


  • Iron Man was one of Marvel's greatest gamble that built a $30B empire
  • Creating Iron Man was one of the biggest challenges faced by Stan Lee and his team.
  • Stan Lee believed it was challenging to turn Iron Man into a hero
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MCU superheroes created by Stan Lee, are often adored by fans for their captivating presence and brilliant backdrop. But no one could create a vibrant legacy better than Iron Man. Turning into a larger-than-life complex character, Tony Stark became the most appreciated Marvel superhero. 

Stan Lee
Stan Lee

However, to everyone’s surprise, the character of Iron Man was one of Marvel’s greatest gamble that built a $30B empire. Starting with the smallest details including habits, armor, and even the references, creating Iron Man was one of the biggest challenges faced by Stan Lee and his team. 

Also read: “Stan Lee… He named me”: Nicolas Cage Named Himself After A Marvel Character With Own Live Action Series


Stan Lee Called Iron Man as Marvel’s Greatest Gamble 

There is no doubt that Iron Man is that legendary superhero whose fandom has catapulted since its reincarnation on the silver screen. But there are certain small details and aspects of this character that initially got misinterpreted during screenwriting. Thereafter, Stan Lee was right to call Iron Man as Marvel’s greatest gamble. 

Iron Man
MCU’s most loved superhero character

Initially, it was difficult to connect audiences with Iron Man as people weren’t familiar with the character’s backstory or mythology. The character was severely neglected and eventually, according to Demon in a Bottle, Tony Stark succumbed to alcoholism. Thus, giving that character a superhero arc was not only difficult but confusing for Hollywood screenwriters. 

Stan Lee
Stan Lee called Iron Man as MCU’s greatest gamble

Also read: “We’re going to take that kind of guy and make him a hero”: Iron Man Writer Didn’t Want Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark as Face of MCU


Turning Iron Man Into a Superhero Was a Challenge 

This entire situation was a mess and it seemed impossible to turn Iron Man into a silver-screen superhero. According to MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, Stan Lee believed it was challenging to turn Iron Man into a hero. Given the Cold War situation and young reader’s hate for war and the military, Lee claimed people would never appreciate a character as a hero, who was a weapons manufacturer and dealer. 

Stan Lee at the premiere of Captain America: Civil War.
Lee and his team faced a great challenge while screenwriting Iron Man’s character

However, Stan Lee turned the challenge into a real-life dare and ended up creating Tony Stark as one of the most loved and appreciated superheroes in the MCU. Played by Robert Downey Jr. the character not only helmed praises but also made $30B, three decades later after its release in theatres. 

I think I gave myself a dare. It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was military. So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree.”

Stan Lee
Stan Lee took it as a real life dare to make people appreciate Iron Man’s character

I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him.” 

The entire team was excited with the challenge and thus engaged in turning the character with these huge flaws into one of the most loved superheroes. Although Marvel Studios and Stan Lee briefly considered Iron Man might end up being political, Tony Stark proved to be an interesting superhero character. 


Read more: “I’ll give you a little apology”: One Marvel Show Stan Lee Regretted Could’ve Derailed Tom Holland’s MCU Career


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1361

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1000 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.