Robert Downey Jr. is the name that is synonymous with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The entire cinematic universe depended on the success of his Iron Man (2008) and his portrayal of the character was considered comic-accurate and loved immensely by the fans. Not just that, many other actors have confessed to being convinced by RDJ to join the MCU.
So, undoubtedly, when the actor shared his views and opinions, Marvel Studious took it seriously. This could be one reason why a major change was brought in, in the Spider-Man character, which had always been portrayed differently in the previous movies. That one character is Aunt May.
Robert Downey changed Aunt May’s character to cast his co-star
Aunt May has always been portrayed as an old lady with white hair and a wrinkled face, but when Spider-Man first made his debut in the MCU with Captain America: Civil War, the Aunt May we saw was pretty and young. The fans were against it at first but soon loved the way Marisa Tomei played the character of a caring, loving, yet modern New York City Aunt May. Her death in Spider-Man: No Way surely made us all cry rivers.
In an interview in 2021, the actress who had worked with Robert Downey Jr. previously in Only You, revealed that the Iron Man actor had a role to play in casting her. After her appearance in Civil War, she reprised her role in all three Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland. Her dynamic with Holland surely added a new angle to the bond shared by Peter and his aunt that wasn’t explored before.
The actress told The Wrap,
“I think Robert Downey had a lot to do with it. And then [Jon] Watts [the director] and I a lot about, well, I guess the mandate is a reinvention. But what is that? I don’t think anyone is really focused on that, really. There was a lot of bigger fish to fry. So Jon and I did a lot of talking about it.”
Tomei’s version of Aunt May, though different from what the fans were used to, soon became a fan favorite. The actress did not just look different but also brought out a different side of the character that is funny, creative, and street-smart.
Robert Downey Jr. cried upon hearing about Iron Man’s death
When one plays a character for almost over a decade, they tend to get attached to it. The same happened to Robert Downey Jr. with Iron Man. Tony Stark not only was a character that he played for a really long time but also a character that saved his Hollywood career. In the book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry, the incident was recounted when RDJ was moved to tears hearing about the death of his character.
According to the book, Joe Russo was quoted saying,
“When we started winding down the pitch, and getting to his death, Robert started crying. And when we were done, he said, ‘That’s f*cking awesome.’ That’s when we knew that we had to do it. Because he felt it.”
Surely, the great sacrifice of Tony Stark made every Marvel fan cry and applaud the hero at the same time. He proved everyone wrong, he showed the world he was more than just an arrogant genius. The character met a heroic end, but there are rumors that the actor might return to reprise his role in Avengers: Secret Wars.
As for Marisa Tomei, after Aunt May’s death at the hands of Green Goblin in No Way Home, her future in the MCU remains uncertain.
Source: The Wrap