Robert Downey Jr. Didn't Want to Film Iconic Avengers: Endgame Scene at First
Robert Downey Jr. didn't want to film that iconic Avengers: Endgame scene at first. The words "I am Iron Man" ring in fans' minds all the time now. But, when the Russo Brothers and Kevin Feige were deciding what to do, that option seemed impossible. This detail comes from The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry. Decision-makers had to debate what Iron Man would say during the final moments of the fight against Thanos. Downey probably was still dealing with the shock of this being his last full performance in the MCU. "Robert was telling me, when he found out that we wanted to come back and shoot a new version of, arguably, the most emotional shot, at first, he didn't want to do it," Feige revealed in the book.
"I mean, it's not the kind of thing you dial up and dial down very easily. So, yeah, it was challenging for Robert to have to readdress it. It was hard for him to understand specifically where we were with the storytelling. When you're in the edit room, working every day with the material, you have a depth of understanding with it," Anthony Russo said. "You've explored it in every possible way. It doesn't mean a new idea can't hit you. By that point, we were really sure what [the scene] needed."
During a Q+A session in 2019, Joe Russo talked about how they came to the decision to have Robert Downey Jr. say that particular line.
"Tony used to not say anything in that moment. And we were in the editing room going, 'He has to say something. This a character who has lived and died by quips,'" Joe continued. "And we just couldn't, we tried a million different last lines. Thanos was saying, 'I am inevitable.' And our editor Jeff Ford, who's been with us all four movies and is an amazing storyteller, said, 'Why don't we just go full circle with it and say I am Iron Man?' And we're like, 'Get the cameras! We have to shoot this tomorrow.'"
In another interview near the release of Endgame, Holland talked about the formulation of the scene too. "It was interesting because when we shot that scene with Robert there was no real script, at all," Holland says. "It was just Kevin Feige, the two Russo Brothers, myself, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle. They kind of brought us to set, they kind of told us what was going to happen, or what they wanted to happen, and then we sort of just improvised if I can remember correctly."
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