Robert Downey Jr revealed studio executives thought Iron Man was destined to be a flop and would be treated as a "tax write-off."
The cinema world became much different when Iron Man came flying into our lives in 2008, but not everyone was convinced it wasn’t going to succeed. In fact, Robert Downey Jr recently revealed during an interview at the Directors Guild of America that the studio had a crazy backup plan in case Iron Man tanked. According to Downey, “I find out more every day about how that thing was financed, it was basically ready to be written off if it tanked.”
Robert Downey Jr and the Iron Man crew were apparently left to their own devices while making the movie, so much so, that Jeff Bridges called it a “$200-million-dollar independent film.” Downey Jr added, “And so it was the perfect thing where there were not a lot of creatively aggressive eyes on us. And by the time they gave it to us, it was like united artists, like the lunatics took over the asylum.”
What Robert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, and Jeff Bridges did was create a fantastic Iron Man movie that became the catalyst for the entire MCU. Without that movie, the landscape of cinema would not be where it is today. It is kind of strange that the studio was not willing to give any sort of creative pushback, especially because everyone assumed that it would fail.
Robert Downey Jr also compared the release of Iron Man to the more recently canceled Batgirl. He stated that the movie was going to be written off in the same manner, and the studio would have just absorbed the cancelation as a “tax write-off.” Clearly, that is not at all what happened, but it’s interesting to know that studios were not going all in on the idea of superhero movies.
We would imagine that Robert Downey Jr has been asked a lot in the past two decades about being in Iron Man, but this is one of the first times that we are getting some of the deeper news about what really happened behind the scenes for the movie. It is great to see that RDJ is willing to discuss one of his more iconic roles, though he left it behind when Avengers: Endgame concluded. We are still holding out hope that he is going to come back for at least one cameo in the future MCU plans.
The multiverse is all the rage right now, and Marvel is currently building up its slate to bring back some of the original actors that have appeared in the earlier Marvel iterations. We could see Robert Downey Jr return as Iron Man one final time in Avengers: Secret Wars, as that story is meant to involve many different timeline versions of each character. Everyone had hoped to see Tom Cruise appear as Tony Stark in Doctor Strange 2, but since that did not happen, Marvel could still see it done with RDJ right next to him.
This is just wild speculation at this point, and we are more than certain that Robert Downey Jr is completely done with playing Iron Man, but it is still fun to think about him potentially showing up one final time. If he did show up, it would be exactly like the moment then Captain America controlled Mjolnir. We can all just hope for that to happen, and just be happy that we were all alive when RDJ was able to suit up as Tony Stark.