Looking at the Marvel Cinematic Universe now, especially after Avengers: Endgame, it's difficult to imagine any part of it being different. Over the last 11 years, the various films, stories, elements, and actors have all come together in a way that is completely unprecedented. Yet, while it all makes sense now, according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige there were some choices that were a little hard to sell early on.
During a Reddit AMA, Feige was asked what was the hardest "sell" to executives at Marvel or Disney over the past 11 years, specifically what he fought for most or that others had tried to most shut down. It turns out there were two things, both of which had they been different would have dramatically changed the whole MCU.
"There are always conversations and discussions before a film is made, and for the most part it's been an amazing collaboration, but when we first started, the two that come to mind from 10 years ago are the casting of Robert Downey Jr. and the decision to make Captain America: The First Avenger a period World War 2 film," Feige said.
While both of Feige's choices are a bit surprising, it's the idea that the casting of Robert Downey Jr. was a hard sell that really sticks out. It may seem impossible to imagine anyone but Downey as Iron Man, but back in 2007 when he was cast in the role the decision was a bit of a controversial one. Not only had Downey never really had a role in a "blockbuster" film despite his critical successes, but he was also somewhat still rebuilding his career after it had gone off track due to his addiction issues years before. However, for Iron Man director Jon Favreau, Downey best understood Tony Stark making him a good fit for the role.
Clearly, that choice -- and Feige fighting for it -- ended up being a pivotal one. Iron Man was a huge success and Downey went on to be the center of the MCU, something that makes the way his story closes in Avengers: Endgame all the more bittersweet. Of course, while Downey's Tony Stark is a huge part of the MCU, the actor himself attributes the overall success of the MCU to others and their work.
"Tony was out there for me to begin with," Downey said in the book Avengers: Endgame - The Official Movie Special. "But you don't think of the two separately. I think if you'd done as many of these films as I have and the first one was so definitive and game-changing -- not because I'm so great, but because everybody did their job so well -- what Favreau did and what Gwyneth [Paltrow] did and everybody... It's just like having a great football team, a great group of folks."
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now.
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