Robert Downey Jr. Claims Marvel Studios Had Zero Faith in Iron Man Becoming Successful

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RDJ
Credit: Marvel Studios

Robert Downey Jr. has become synonymous with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so much so that when you think about the billion-dollar franchise, the name Iron Man immediately comes to mind. But during the early stages of the now-colossal property, that wasn't the case and for Marvel, turning Tony Stark, a B-list hero in the comics into a headlining character was a huge gamble.

Iron Man
Credit: Marvel Studios
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It also doesn't help that the public perception of Downey at the time wasn't that good given his past controversies. Ultimately, it was a risk that paid off big time and the success of the first Iron Man film launched a franchise that has stood the test of time.

Speaking of the studio's inhibitions, during the Director's Guild of America's "Afternoon with Robert Downey Jr." event (via The Hollywood Reporter's Chris Gardner), the MCU pioneer looked back on Iron Man's legacy and how they were somehow anticipating it to fail.

RDJ recalls: "Another full-circle story. I exchanged my previous obsession with an obsession for this role and landed it — and lest we forget, it was Favreau who was pushing for me but knew he had to play the politics or he would have no leverage moving forward. Then we proceeded to launch a historic run of what is now the cinematic universe with [Jon] Favreau and I essentially doing our version of a big-budget [Robert Downey] Senior movie. With all the templates of a genre film, with our intention of making it as marketable as possible."

Downey added how the studio initially didn't have faith in the project's box office potential. "Well, I mean first of all, not too many people were thinking Iron Man was going to have an opening weekend or do much of anything, so we were a little bit left alone."

Also Read: Robert Downey Jr. Shocks Fans with Drastic New Look

The original Iron Man film is available to stream on Disney+.