Behind-The-Scenes Facts From The 'Iron Man' Movies That Demand A Rewatch

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Vote up the facts that made you say, 'Whoa.'

When Iron Man hit theaters in 2008, nobody could have predicted the film would launch what came to be the biggest film franchise of all time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a beast - it's bigger than Star Wars, Harry Potter, and James Bond combined. It's that big, but it probably wouldn't even exist were it not for the shot in the dark that was Iron Man. Because so much has rested on that one movie's shoulders, it's attracted the attention of fans for years.

The movie's two sequels have been just as scrutinized, and while most fans know a lot about the films, there's always something new to learn about ol' Shellhead and some of the impressive battle scenes he's been in over the years. That's especially true when you're looking at some of the things that happened behind the scenes. The Iron Man trilogy certainly had a lot going on that wasn't revealed until much later, and when you find out what those things were, you're going to want to go back and rewatch them all.

This list compiles some of the most fascinating behind-the-scenes facts from the Iron Man movies that'll make you want to sit through them all over again! Take a look down below, and don't forget to upvote your favorites before you head back to the couch to chill with Tony Stark for a few hours.

  • 1
    27 VOTES

    A Legit Paparazzi Shot Of Iron Man Made It Into The Final Cut Of 'Iron Man'

    An interesting little Easter egg made it into Iron Man that hardly anyone knew about when the film was first released in 2008. In the pictured scene, Tony Stark is reading a paper just before his big press conference, where he announces to the world that "I am Iron Man." 

    On the front of the paper is a photograph of Iron Man with the headline "WHO IS THE IRON MAN?" For most viewers, it probably appeared like a perfect transition between Stark's last few scenes in the movie, but it's more than that - the picture is a legit paparazzi shot.

    When the movie was still filming, a photographer managed to score a grainy shot of Iron Man, so that's a legit photo of Iron Man on the set of Iron Man. Back then, Jon Favreau didn't have confidence in using CGI to render the suit, so they built a practical one for the film. It's unclear if Robert Downey Jr. is in the suit (instead of a stunt double), but the picture is real, and it made it into the movie.

    27 votes
  • 2
    24 VOTES

    Paul Bettany Never Received A Full Script For Any 'Iron Man' Film

    Paul Bettany may have voiced J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man, but he believed his career was at an end after the first Avengers film. He said as much to his agent, but then he was cast to play Vision, and the rest is history. One of the reasons he may have thought his career was ending could have been due to his early interactions with Marvel Studios. When he was cast to voice J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man, he wasn't even given a full copy of the script, and he recorded all of his lines in just two hours:

    I feel like a pirate. This is robbery. I walk in, I say some lines on a piece of paper for two hours, and then they give me a bag of money and I leave and I go about my day. I sort of feel guilty, because at least acting can be exhausting with long hours, but I do nothing!

    That's hardly a significant investment of time, so it makes sense he didn't fully appreciate his performance's impact on the movie. Interestingly, Bettany hasn't received a full script for any of the Iron Man films. The only full script he's received from the studio was the one for The Avengers, which he thought to be a mistake. Marvel Studios is famously secretive about the various plot elements from its movies, so delivering complete scripts isn't common for all cast members. In addition to missing out on the script, Bettany hasn't watched a single Iron Man film, and he reportedly "knows nothing" about the series.

    24 votes
  • 3
    19 VOTES

    Ivan Vanko Lost A Tattoo That Linked Him To Another MCU Villain

    Mickey Rourke had a lot of input when it came to designing the look of Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2. He paid for some gold tooth caps at a whopping $20,000, and he even bought a bird, but that wasn't all there was to making Vanko iconic. Another key element Rourke pushed for Vanko was to include a bunch of tattoos, and if you look, the man is covered with body art, leaving few bare patches on his skin.

    The ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe was still in development when the movie was being made, so some tweaks had to be made in post-production to avoid confusion. One of Vanko's tattoos on his body was Loki, who wouldn't debut until Thor hit theaters a year later. Because Vanko was the primary villain, it was thought a Loki tattoo on his neck might link the two characters. Of course, the studio was right because endless sites online would have pointed out the possible connection, so his Loki tattoo had to be digitally removed to ensure that didn't happen.

    19 votes
  • 4
    14 VOTES

    Robert Downey Jr. Pushed For Gwyneth Paltrow's Action Scenes In 'Iron Man 3'

    When you watch a movie, you're seeing a finished product that likely looks little to nothing like its original script. It's typical for a script to go through multiple drafts, often with multiple writers, and even the finished script tends to see changes due to improv. As a result, you're going to watch something that doesn't necessarily depict the screenwriter's original vision, and that's largely true of pretty much every movie in the MCU.

    In Iron Man 3, Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts not only gets involved in several action scenes, but she also manages to take out the bad guy. When the original script was finalized, Pepper was put in a typical "damsel-in-distress" sort of role, but Robert Downey Jr. didn't think that was appropriate. He pushed to have Pepper appear in more action scenes, and he convinced Kevin Feige. Granted, she's still a damsel in distress in the third act, but because of the Extremis coursing through her veins, she turns it around and kicks some serious Aldrich Killian butt.

    Long before the movie came out, Paltrow spoke to MTV News about the potential for a third Iron Man movie. She said she wanted to see Pepper's role get ramped up in the interview: "Maybe for the third one, if they do a third one, they have to mix it up a little. I don't want to just keep sitting there with a [cell phone] headpiece." Fortunately, Paltrow got her wish, and her role was considerably ramped up, which remained true for her appearance in Avengers: Endgame after she dons the Rescue armor.

    14 votes
  • 5
    13 VOTES

    A Finalized Script For 'Iron Man' Didn't Exist, So There's A Ton Of Improv

    Kicking off the MCU with Iron Man was difficult, and it wasn't handled in as professional a manner as most film productions. The script had yet to be completed when shooting began, which created significant problems for the actors and crew. Jeff Bridges explained this in an interview with InContention:

    They had no script, man. They had an outline. We would show up for big scenes every day, and we wouldn't know what we were going to say. We would have to go into our trailer and work on this scene and call up writers on the phone, "You got any ideas?" Meanwhile, the crew is tapping their foot on the stage waiting for us to come on.

    As a result, a lot of the movie has improvised scenes in it. Robert Downey Jr. and Bridges would act out the scenes during primitive rehearsals, switching characters to help one another out, and Bridges credits this with saving the production:

    You've got the suits from Marvel in the trailer with us saying, "No, you wouldn't say that." You would think with a $200 million movie, you'd have the sh*t together, but it was just the opposite. And the reason for that is because they get ahead of themselves. They have a release date before the script, "Oh, we'll have the script before that time," and they don't have their sh*t together.

    13 votes
  • 6
    12 VOTES

    Emily Blunt Was Originally Cast To Play Black Widow In 'Iron Man 2'

    At this point, it's all but impossible to imagine anyone but Scarlett Johansson playing Natasha Romanoff. She's made the character her own, and after years of playing her in other heroes' movies, she got her own solo film, which did well despite the ongoing pandemic. Still, Johansson wasn't the first choice for the role, and if Jon Favreau had his way, he would have cast Emily Blunt in the role. As a matter of fact, he did cast her, but she couldn't appear in Iron Man 2 because of a rival studio.

    Fox had a contract with Blunt, and it forced her to appear in Gulliver's Travels. As a result, she couldn't be in the movie, and Johansson stepped in to fill the role. Blunt was thought of for another part, but she couldn't take on Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, so she's been denied a role twice. Regarding her inability to take either role, she said, "It was never the right time, really, and it just didn't work out scheduling-wise."

    Johansson was set on getting the role, and she even dyed her hair red before landing the part. When she got the call telling her Blunt got the part, Johansson reported she "was so, so disappointed." She had truly wanted it. Fortunately, she got the chance when Blunt had to back out: "And I met with Jon [Favreau] again, and we had a funny conversation about how he had not cast me. But I was excited. I was so stoked." She took the job and ran with it, becoming Black Widow for the MCU, and aside from a little lawsuit against Disney, she's been the perfect actor for the role.

    12 votes