Robert Downey Jr didn’t want to say Tony Stark’s iconic last words in Avengers Endgame, here’s how they convinced him
Now that the Russo Brothers’ self-imposed spoiler ban on Avengers: Endgame has been lifted, and it is well on its way to becoming the biggest film in box office history, we can discuss plot-related details from the film. The Russos have now revealed that Robert Downey Jr was initially hesitant about saying Tony Stark’s famous last words in the film - ‘I am Iron Man’ - and had to be convinced to return to film the final scene.
Co-director Joe Russo told CinemaBlend, “It’s an interesting story. I had dinner with (Robert Downey Jr.) like two weeks before we were supposed to shoot it. And he was like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t really want to go back and get into that emotional state. It’ll take… it’s hard.’ And crazily enough, Joel Silver, the producer, was at the dinner. He’s an old buddy of Robert’s. And Joel jumps in and he’s like, ‘Robert, what are you talking about? That’s the greatest line I’ve ever heard! You gotta say this line! You have to do this!’ So thank God that Joel Silver was at dinner, because he helped us talk Robert into doing that line.”
The Russos had previously said that they were struggling with Iron Man’s final words, and for the longest time, the scene ended with Tony not saying anything, and lingered on his sleight of hand. It was longtime Marvel editor Jeff Ford who came up with the idea of having Tony say the words, which were a direct callback to his declaration in the first Iron Man film.
The Russos told SlashFilm, “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.’ 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!’”
Downey Jr had concluded filming his scenes when they came up with the new ending, and thought he’d said goodbye to the character. The Russos revealed in a different interview - to SiriusXM - that the scene was the last thing they canned, and was shot in January 2019.
RDJ has played Stark/Iron Man in multiple Marvel films, beginning with 2008’s Iron Man. The character sacrifices his life to bring order to the universe, and save 50% of the population that had been lost after the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
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