In an interview with The Toronto Sun, Momoa was asked why it took so long for an Aquaman movie to happen. The interviewer points out that for decades it was just Superman and Batman movies made over and over again. Momoa credits Downey’s performance as Iron Man with clearing the way for a wider variety of superheroes to make their way to the big screen.
“The only thing about it now is, people want more,” Momoa says. “They’ve heard those other stories, and there’s plenty more to tell, but they want new ones. When Batman v Superman came out and it introduced Wonder Woman, she came in and blew it open. I feel like Marvel, in its own right, has been blowing the door open with other new characters as well. I mean look what Iron Man did. That was amazing. Who knew what the hell Iron Man did? I definitely didn’t. I feel like I knew more about Aquaman, and I barely knew anything about Aquaman over Iron Man (laughs). Robert Downey just came in and destroyed it. So there are all these beautiful, modern mythologies that people get inspired by and it’s nice to see something different.”
Momoa’s not wrong. It is almost hard to remember now, but Iron Man was thought of as a B-list character before 2008. Aquaman at least had appeared in shows like Super Friends. He may have been treated like a joke by a lot of fans, but at least he had exposure, which is more than Iron Man could claim.
Obviously, times have changed. Downey’s debut in 2008’s Iron Man altered the landscape for superheroes in popular culture. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was born, and the superhero genre became the cash cow of Hollywood. With higher demand for superhero cinema, more characters were brought up from the “minor leagues” for their moment in the spotlight.
Iron Man helped prove that almost any character can be a hit with the right actor playing the character and the right creative team behind them.
What do you think of Momoa’s comments about Iron Man opening the door for more superheroes? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Aquaman opens in theaters on December 21st
Upcoming DC Extended Universe movies include Shazam on April 5, 2019, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020.