Things You Probably Didn't Know About Iron Man

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When Marvel Studios launched Iron Man in 2008, few people thought the movie would work. After all, Iron Man wasn't Marvel's strongest or favorite character, so the movie was something of a gamble. Of course, it all worked out, and Iron Man became a far more appreciated character on and off the screen. Tony Stark and Iron Man were introduced in Tales of Suspense #39 back in 1963, so the character has been around for more than half a century.

In all that time, through the comic books, movies, graphic novels, video games, and other media, the character has developed into a significant one in the Marvel Universe. Despite so much history, or perhaps because of it, there are a ton of things you probably didn't know about Iron Man.

Photo: Marvel Comics / Paramount Pictures

  • 1
    1,440 VOTES

    Robert Downey Jr.'s 'I Am Iron Man' Was Improvised

    Perhaps the most famous line of Robert Downey Jr.'s career, "I am Iron Man," was improvised by the actor, to the surprise of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who authorized the take (and the line) to be the last words spoken before cutting to the end credits of Avengers: Endgame. Feige explained his reason for accepting the line even though it wasn't part of the script:

    It’s a fine line. If you’re changing something for no reason, that’s one thing, but if you’re changing something because you want to double down on the spirit of who the character is? That’s a change we’ll make. Tony Stark not reading off the card and not sticking with the fixed story? Him just blurting out, "I am Iron Man"? That seems very much in keeping with who that character is.

    The words also close out the character's story arc.

    1,440 votes
  • 2
    788 VOTES

    Stan Lee Created Iron Man As A Challenge For Himself

    Iron Man, or rather, Tony Stark, isn't a typical superhero. Back when Stan Lee created him in 1963, that was especially true, and it's all due to Stark's personality. He's a staunch capitalist, a weapons designer/seller, and has serious personality problems. He's also an alcoholic and womanizer, so he was hardly the typical superhero back in the '60s.

    Instead, Lee wanted to create someone who was antithetical to the typical superhero. He said in an interview:

    I think I gave myself a dare. It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was the military... So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist... I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him... And he became very popular.

    Casting Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe somewhat parallels the character's origins. At the time, Downey wasn't a particularly "liked" actor. He had some serious personal problems, including issues with substance abuse. In the end, he managed to get the fans on his side, a parallel to how the comic book character grew in popularity.

    788 votes
  • 3
    607 VOTES

    Stark Owns Area 51

    The Marvel Universe has its own version of Area 51, the secretive military complex that many people believe hides evidence of alien activity on Earth. In Avengers #19, it's revealed that Stark purchased the military facility from the government. He then uses the base to hide the Reality Gem from the Infinity Gauntlet.

    Eventually, the Reality Gem is lost, and the facilities of Area 51 are used for other things. It becomes Shadow Base Site B for the US Hulk Operations, and it's likely Stark uses it for testing his armor or anything else he'd like to do away from prying eyes.

    607 votes
  • 4
    751 VOTES

    Stark's Arc Reactor Is Insanely Powerful

    In the 2008 Iron Man film, the first Arc Reactor that Stark creates using palladium has an energy output of 3 gigajoules per second. That's the equivalent chemical energy of burning 30 barrels of oil a minute. Another way to look at the comparative energy output is to compare the wattage.

    Stark's Arc Reactor produces 3 gigawatts. The largest power plants in the world run at around 1 gigawatt, making Stark's chest-piece power source three times as powerful as a power plant capable of powering about 2 million homes. In addition to its insane power output, it's also immune to EMPs (electromagnetic pulses).

    751 votes
  • 5
    890 VOTES

    At The Beginning Of 'Iron Man,' Stark's Captors Reveal The Whole Plot Of The Film

    The beginning of Iron Man sees Stark captured and ransomed via a video. In the video, as it's later revealed, his captors essentially detail the entire plot of the movie, but most people in the West were completely oblivious.

    His captors are speaking Urdu, the primary language spoken in Pakistan, so anyone who understands Urdu knows everything up front. The dialogue explains that the group is affiliated with Obadiah Stane, a key piece of information revealed in the third act of the movie... revealed in English, that is.

    890 votes
  • 6
    535 VOTES

    Stark Completely Trusts Pepper With His Life

    Stark is aware of his armor's destructive potential and knows a means of stopping him is necessary should anything go wrong. To this end, he entrusts Pepper Potts with something that's dangerous, but only to him.

    Stark gives Pepper a remote shutoff device that can render his armor completely inert, should the need arise. Giving her this remote shows just how much he trusts her, and has helped elevate Pepper as a character since her introduction as his assistant in the '60s.

    535 votes