It's been nearly seven years since Marvel Studios first released Iron Man 3 into theaters, but fans are still stunned to learn an injury to Robert Downey Jr. almost delayed the movie from hitting its original release date. And while the divisive followup to Marvel's The Avengers is still a topic of conversation among fans, this key moment behind the scenes had a major impact on future films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and it's all because Downey wasn't able to film a key scene. But Marvel Studios found a creative solution that kept Iron Man 3 on track to release in theaters right on time.
For those who don’t know, Downey had an ankle injury on the set of the film. Production was halted for six weeks while he recovered. But, when Marvel saw that this was going to inhibit their ability to release the movie on May 3rd, they put another plan into action. Tony Stark could be in front of the camera, but it wouldn’t be Downey standing there by that cliff. Weta Digital, the VFX team responsible for the film, shot scenes with the help of a body double and then digitally patched the Iron Man star into the shots in post. This was a bit of a heavy lift, but absolutely necessary to get the movie out in time.
hi yeah, did you know that entire last scene of iron man 3 marvel made a cgi rdj and imposed it onto a body double because rdj was injured while shooting. pic.twitter.com/uLnzNJdkST— amy (@endgamevalkyrie) April 15, 2020
Iron Man 3 VFX supervisor Chris Townsend told IGN about the process. “Together with face replacement and full-body doubles, somewhere there was a solution to the problem of not having Robert Downey Jr. on set for the time,” he explained. “The collective VFX Supes and unit leads ran into a room as soon as the incident happened to try to ascertain what sequences could they shoot.”
“It was also very important with regards to VFX that they were able to collect background plates, data, lighting and lens info, and the rest of the crew were incredibly obliging with regards to that,” Townsend added. “We were able to reconstruct RDJ as Tony Stark onset, with the help of that body double and the facial captures we’d collected afterward.”
Did you notice Fake Tony in Iron Man 3? Let us know in the comments! Check out the responses below:
The whole darn thing
my entire life is a lie— ✰ may (@astcny) April 15, 2020
Never un-see it now
YES I think about it everytime I see it now sksks— gem ♡’s chris evans / FAN account (@endgamebarnes) April 15, 2020
wait a damn minute— jade misses tony stark ✰ (@peterxmjxmcu) April 15, 2020
are you serious rn— eris ♥ (nsfr) (@lokibarncs) April 15, 2020
So many people confused
wat— m a t t 👟 | 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘮 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘳s (@__killpop01) April 15, 2020
What else are you hiding?
i- what other secrets do you know 🤭— steph (@stefaferd) April 15, 2020
This has to be trolling
NO YOU'RE JUST TROLLING RIGHT ???— michael // 3 weeks 🥺💞 (@jakeperaltajr) April 15, 2020
This is one of my fav scenes in IM3....I feel betrayed— Simone Chalabi 💗💜💙 (@s_chalabi422) April 15, 2020
He... sprained his ankle, and couldn’t shoot... are you serious— |Kate| (@wittlstminotaur) April 15, 2020
Wait one second
now hold on— syd (@milkywayspidey) April 15, 2020
I WAS WONDERING WHY HE LOOKED A BIT DIFFERENT-— niamh ✪ (@buckyspinach) April 15, 2020
Don't trust anyone!
I don’t trust anyone from now on pic.twitter.com/V3cMUUv47a— Luna 🌒 (@lunametmisha) April 15, 2020
they did a really good job wow— lauren day! 💞 (@starksnack) April 15, 2020
I N E E D T I M E
W H A T— 𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐢𝐞; ACNH (@hamletcrowley) April 15, 2020
let's take a break
what? i- pic.twitter.com/ITjI4hllQR— *loud applause* WOMEN (@sapphic_mina) April 15, 2020
I always thought that it looked a little weird but this is crazy pic.twitter.com/BUkZSxKLPE— ⎊rose (@avengers780) April 15, 2020