“I have a problem talking about DC characters”: Robert Downey Jr. May Have A Bone to Pick With James Gunn’s DCU

Despite leaving Marvel, Robert Downey Jr. seems to be not too fond of James Gunn's DC Universe.

"I have a problem talking about DC characters": Robert Downey Jr. May Have A Bone to Pick With James Gunn's DCU


  • Robert Downey Jr.'s vague comments about DC Comics create speculation about his lack of understanding or possible dislike about James Gunn's DCU.
  • Even his frank remarks on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight suggest that he might not be too fond of the rival franchise's mythos.
  • Losing to Heath Ledger in an Oscar race may also have made Downey dislike the DC Universe for the actor was close to winning his first Oscar.
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Robert Downey Jr. is best known for his Iron Man role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it is a legacy that he cannot seem to escape despite having done numerous critically acclaimed roles. As the actor gears up for the next chapter of his career and life, it seems he still finds it hard to let go of his time in Marvel.

robert downey jr 2
Robert Downey Jr.

In a ‘pre-Oppenheimer‘ interview with filmmaker Christopher Nolan, Downey had some puzzling answers to give when the topic turned to DCU and DC characters. His ambiguous answers have led to speculations about his opinion on the DC characters and mythos, leading to questions like does the Iron Man star not understand DC or does he carry a hidden dislike for what Stan Lee referred to as Distinguished Competition.

Also Read: Neither Robert Downey Jr. Nor Cillian Murphy Can be Doctor Doom Due to a Glaring Secret Wars Flaw


Does The Iron Man Star Hate James Gunn’s DCU? His Ambiguous Answers Reveal He Doesn’t Get DC

Robert Downey Jr. and Christopher Nolan in WIRED's Interview
Robert Downey Jr. and Christopher Nolan in WIRED’s Interview

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the biggest stars in the history of cinema when it comes to comic book adaptations. The actor who is regarded to have laid the foundation for the billion-dollar-worth Marvel Cinematic Universe recently made some ambiguous comments regarding his rival comic-book franchise which has made several speculate that he might not be too fond of the DC universe.

While on WIRED’s Ask the Web’s Most Searched Questions, the conversation turned to DCU when Christopher Nolan began speaking about how it was to work with Cillian Murphy on the Dark Knight trilogy. While Nolan was talking, Downey whispered Scarecrow (Cillian’s character) and he stated the reasoning behind his whispering,

“I whispered because I have a problem talking about DC characters. I don’t know if I was programmed or not, but I was in this room with a lot of flashing lights once. Long story, thanks Kevin.”

While the actor did not make it clear as to what the exact problem behind his discomfort talking about DC characters was or what he was even implying, it might mean several things. First of all, the actor is one of the biggest Marvel stars in the world and his comments could imply a natural dislike for his rival superhero franchise and a casual discomfort regarding discussing DCU for he has had quite a bit of heartbreak (discussed below) thanks to the rival franchise.
Secondly, his comments might have had something to do with him not being able to understand the DC mythos (discussed below) for after all DC and Marvel might be superhero genres but their mythos are in no way similar. Seeing that while Marvel often has a more human, humorous, and versatile approach towards its adaptations unlike DC which often adopts more gritty and darker themes, Downey might feel uncomfortable talking about his rival franchise due to his perhaps dislike of DC over its adaptation approach.
Lastly, his comments are just pure humor, especially the last bit where he seems to imply that all Marvel actors are programmed by Kevin Feige to not speak about DC and physically brainwashed to never talk about the DC-verse. Even if it was all humor, we can’t help but wonder if RDJ is unimpressed with DC as a whole. And if that’s the case, does RDJ still carry the same feelings toward DCU now that James Gunn is in charge?
However, all these possible explanations are pure speculations and in no way imply that Downey means this. As to what Downey meant, only the Iron Man actor can reveal.

Robert Downey Jr Once Told “F**k DC Comics”

The Dark Knight Trilogy

As to what Robert Downey Jr. meant by his above-mentioned comment remains a mystery, Downey’s disregard for DC is well known. Back when the first Iron Man was released, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy was the only major competition. So when Downey was asked by the HuffPost about what he felt about the trilogy, he candidly stated,


“My whole thing is that that I saw ‘The Dark Knight’. I feel like I’m dumb because I feel like I don’t get how many things that are so smart. It’s like a Ferrari engine of storytelling and script writing and I’m like, ‘That’s not my idea of what I want to see in a movie.'”

RDJ is smart, witty, humorous, intelligent, and all the other synonyms of the word ‘smart’ undoubtedly, but surprisingly the actor felt he was not smart enough to understand Nolan’s The Dark Knight and so he very frankly and candidly told the DC comics to ‘F**k Off’.

“I loved ‘The Prestige’ but didn’t understand ‘The Dark Knight’. Didn’t get it, still can’t tell you what happened in the movie, what happened to the character and in the end they need him to be a bad guy. I’m like, ‘I get it. This is so high brow and so f**king smart, I clearly need a college education to understand this movie.’ You know what? F-ck DC comics. That’s all I have to say and that’s where I’m really coming from.”

His statement from back then really explains that RDJ might not get the DC universe, especially Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which seems ironic for he went on to work with the brilliant filmmaker in Oppenheimer, a movie which makes you scratch your head like a monkey. Suppose being in front of the screen and behind the screen are two different things after all.

Also Read: “It was a dark time”: Christopher Nolan’s Peloton Instructor Sends an Invitation to Tenet Director After Her Video Went Viral


The Dark Knight Is Why Robert Downey Jr Doesn’t Have An Oscar

Heath Ledger as Joker and RDJ in Tropic Thunder
Heath Ledger as Joker and RDJ in Tropic Thunder

Robert Downey Jr. has received two Academy Awards nominations till now but during his second nomination back in 2009, the actor was close to winning. Having been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Tropic Thunder, he was exceptional in the role.

However, the actor unfortunately lost to Heath Ledger, who was also nominated in the same category for his role as Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Ledger, no doubt, played one of the best versions of the popular comic book character and even after the numerous actors who have portrayed the character, his portrayal has continued to remain on top.

While The Dark Knight may have been the reason why Downey doesn’t have an Oscar today, he might have a chance to win an Oscar today thanks to Nolan’s box-office blockbuster Oppenheimer for it is being highly speculated that the actor might get a nomination in the same category at the 2024 Academy Awards.


Written by Maria Sultan

Articles Published: 1467

Maria Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. Having honed her skills are a Freelance and Professional content writer for more than 5 years (and counting), her expertise spans various genres and content type. A Political Science and History Graduate, her deep interest in the world around shapes her writing, blending her insights across diverse themes.

Outside the realm of writing, Maria can be often found buried in the world of books or pursuing art or engaged in fervent discussions about anything or everything, her passions balanced by binge watching Kdramas, Anime, Movies or Series during leisure hours.