Tony Stark’s death at the end of Avengers: Endgame absolutely wrecked theaters all across the world. But, new details from an interview with Weta Digital and Insider now show that it could have been even more scarring for audiences. That’s right, the charred remains of the hero could have been even more gruesome if these changes had been made. Insider sat down with digital VFX supervisor Matt Aitken and Jen Underdahl of their team to talk about the grizzly version of Stark’s death that got left on the cutting room floor. Both of the creatives mention a version of that fateful scene as Tony meets his maker with half of Iron Man’s face blown off by the power of the Infinity Stones. Now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is no stranger to handing out those nightmares as the end of Avengers: Infinity War shows. (Remembering those kids crying in a Brooklyn screening will always stick out in this writer’s head.) But, seeing Tony Stark with one eyeball dangling out of socket might be a bridge too far.
Aitken began, “We gave the filmmakers a full range [of looks] to choose from and one of those was where the energy from the stones had acted right up into his face and popped one of his eyeballs out and it was hanging out on his cheek.”
"We did do a Two-Face version where you got inside and you saw the sinews and you saw them in the teeth and that," Underdahl said about one of the more graphic approaches. “It takes you away from this really powerful moment. You don't want to be focusing on that or grossed out.”
Despite saving the world during Endgame, Downey has been adamant that although he plays Tony Stark on the big screen, he is not just the billionaire playboy philanthropist. He is seeking to prove that he’s still a man and not his character.
"I am not my work," Downey told the Hollywood Reporter. "I am not what I did with that studio. I am not that period of time that I spent playing this character. And it sucks, because the kid in all of us wants to be like, 'No. It's always going to be summer camp and we're all holding hands and singing 'Kumbaya.'"
"I remember pitching that to Robert Downey Jr. probably in December of 2015, I think," Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige remembers. "I pitched him the idea of the two-part finale for Avengers and Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was a part of that leading into it. It took a little while, but eventually it came together. I think at first it doesn't seem real that this journey will come to an end. But as it got closer to filming, it really was emotional for all of us, and particularly for him."
This particular turn as Iron Man had a major affect on everyone present during the filming. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo are on record that they believe that RDJ deserves some awards show love for his role in Endgame.
“What’s so incredible about Robert Downey and his performance — and we think this is an awards-caliber performance — is when he looks at Benedict in that moment, what you see happen on his face and the way he just drops his eyes and receives the information, it’s because he knows he’s the solution and the solution involves snapping his fingers — he’s going to die,” Joe Russo told Backstory Magazine. “The thing he wanted to preserve two hours earlier in the movie is his relationship with his daughter, and he will have to sacrifice that in order to save everyone else.”
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