“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

Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man had a shaky beginning in the MCU, however the character later became insanely successful

"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


  • Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark ended up representing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a whole new level, that wasn't always the case
  • Hollywood screenwriters faced several problems with the process when the first project was being developed
  • Nevertheless, years down the line, RDJ’s Iron Man earned phenomenal fame and success
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Iron Man is undoubtedly one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fan-favorite and incredibly beloved characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With his remarkable sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame just to save the rest of the world, the character won the hearts of fans worldwide within a snap. Yet, at the beginning, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark wasn’t such a beloved character after all.

Marvel's Iron Man
Marvel’s Iron Man

In fact, he had been neglected for so long that making the audience familiar with Stark’s backstory or mythology or even pitching their takes for the character proved to be difficult for the writers, let alone painting him as the face of the MCU for Tony Stark’s very first film, Iron Man.

Also Read: Robert Downey Jr Needs This Armor in Secret Wars – Marvel Gets Iron Man a Metal So Strong Even Captain Marvel Can’t Bend it


Iron Man Writers Faced Several Problems While Pitching For Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark

Also Read: “What if Iron Man faced off with Wolverine”: Hugh Jackman Has a Dream Fight With Robert Downey Jr That Might Finally Come True

While Robert Downey Jr.‘s Tony Stark ended up representing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a whole new level, that wasn’t always the case, especially in the very beginning. When Marvel Studios embarked on the journey for the production of Stark’s very first film, Iron Man, Hollywood screenwriters faced several problems with the process, as per MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios:

“The character had been neglected for so long that the only collection of Iron Man comics readily available was Demon in a Bottle, compiling the 1979 run of issues where Tony Stark succumbed to alcoholism. That confused some of the Hollywood screenwriters who were trying to get up to speed on the character before meeting with Marvel to pitch their takes on the new character. Was Marvel really trying to launch a new studio with a superpowered version of The Lost Weekend?”

However, that wasn’t even the entire issue.


“Even without addiction issues, the character of Tony Stark was a complicated figure: as a billionaire weapons manufacturer, he was the face of the military-industrial complex. ‘We’re in two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the vice president [Dick Cheney] was formerly the CEO of Halliburton, the weapons manufacturer,’ pointed out Matt Holloway, one of Iron Man’s credited writers. ‘We’re going to take that kind of guy and make him a hero. How do we do that?'”

Despite that, screenwriters and Marvel went on to stick to the Iron Man that the late Stan Lee created back in 1963, thus, creating an entire legacy for RDJ’s Tony Stark which ended on a legendary tear-jerking note.

Also Read: Marvel Didn’t Want Robert Downey Jr to Have Six-Pack Abs and Ripped Physique to Play a Billionaire Superhero in Iron Man Franchise

The Late Stan Lee Took Creating Iron Man As A Challenge

Iron Man
Iron Man

Going further in the book, the late Stan Lee shared how he challenged himself with the exact same thought as the screenwriters while creating Tony Stark’s superhero in 1963. As per an excerpt from the book, here’s what Lee said:


“‘I think I gave myself a dare,’ Lee said years after the fact, trying to retrospectively discern the logic in his improvised decisions. ‘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 the military. So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist.'”

Not only did Stan Lee’s idea turn out to be a brilliant one but the whole new superhero that he created even proved to be one of the biggest fan-favorite characters of all time from Marvel.


Written by Mahin Sultan

Articles Published: 1137

Mahin Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. With almost one year's worth of experience in her field, she has explored and attained a deep understanding of numerous topics in various niches, mostly entertainment.

An all-things-good enthusiast, Mahin is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Commerce, and her love for entertainment has given her a solid foundation of reporting in the same field. Besides being a foodie, she loves to write and spends her free time either with her nose buried in a good book or binging on COD or K-dramas, anime, new movies, and TV serials (the awesome ones, obviously).

So far, Mahin's professional portfolio has more than 500 articles written on various niches, including Entertainment, Health and wellbeing, and Fashion and trends, among others.