Prior to Marvel Studios being purchased by Disney, it was just like any other meddling Hollywood studio hoping to get by on a hope and a chance. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even a thing, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige had an important choice to make — the casting of the lead character in Iron Man. If the movie was a box office failure, Marvel would surrender the live-action rights of nearly a dozen of the world's heaviest-hitting characters.
In fact, the casting choice was the first major decision Feige made in his new role. According to the mega-producer, he thought the process of casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark could go one of two ways — either the fledgling actor would be great in the role or it'd all end up being a massive dumpster fire. Either way, they'd have a definitive answer if Iron Man was successful.
"I remember speaking to the marketing team at Paramount, because Paramount release that [Iron Man], saying that if we did our job, Tony Stark will be as famous as Iron Man; Tony Stark will be as well known and as much of a household name as Iron Man because that's how interesting the character has to be," Feige told a group of students at the New York Film Academy during a recent a panel.
He added, "Literally, the first decision I made and was allowed to make and allowed to try to pursue as president of Marvel Studios was casting Robert Downey Jr. and it felt fun to do that because we knew it'd either be great or the biggest dumpster fire ever. There's very little wiggle room. It ended up being great and I've always said 'No RDJ, no MCU.'"
As we all know by now, Iron Man served as a career renaissance for Downey and now, he's arguably Hollywood's biggest stars. Luckily for MCU fans everywhere, no dumpster fire is in sight.0comments
Downey can be seen in Avengers: Endgame, now streaming on Disney+.
Other upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022.