Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far the MCU has come. In 11 years, the franchise has gone from what could have been standalone one-off character films to combining all of it together into one massive universe. And at the start of it all, testing the waters, was Iron Man. At the premiere of Avengers: Endgame on April 22, 2019, there was a reunion between the three names most associated with the flick: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., and Gwyneth Paltrow. Here’s what went down.
Favreau is responsible for the film that kicked off the MCU
Jon Favreau is, in addition to being an actor, a well-known writer, director, and producer. Iron Man, which came out in 2008, was only the fourth film he’d ever directed, but clearly, it was a landmark project for him, as he became something of a figurehead for the franchise along with the stars (in addition to playing Happy Hogan, who we know survived the Decimation, in a few films).
“I’m like a grandpa with all the grandchildren here,” said Favreau. “I’m happy to be here. This is very surreal for me because it wasn’t like this in the beginning and now it’s turned into something so much more.” He continued, “It’s great to be with the people that I started with here today, too, and to have been able to stay a part of it over the decade as an actor and as someone who kind of helps out but is also the audience member who gets to be at every premiere and watch how it’s developed and changed over time.”
Downey Jr. joined him on stage to talk about their start together
As Favreau was talking to the press, Downey Jr. (Tony Stark / Iron Man himself) jumped up on stage and joined his co-star. “This is exactly who I should be up here with,” said Downey Jr., putting his arm around Favreau. “The man who literally started it all. Who had faith in me and this connection we had.”
When asked if Favreau had to convince Downey Jr. to play Iron Man, the star said, “Quite the reverse.” Favreau added, “We knew — we had to convince everybody else.” Downey Jr. continued, “History is interesting — we could rewrite it in success but truth be told we were hungry and we had a good feeling [about Iron Man], so seeing something like this tonight you realize your just part of something, and yet you kind of get to pretend you’re at the beginning of it,” adding that the night “really feels special.”
Finally, Paltrow completed the trio
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Paltrow, who plays Pepper Potts, Iron Man’s fiancee and head of Stark Industries, came up on stage to say hello. For a few minutes, there was chaos, as Chris Evans (Steve Rogers / Captain America), Josh Brolin (Thanos), and the Russo Brothers also mingled around the stage, but finally, Paltrow was able to answer a question about what it was like shooting her final scenes in the MCU.
“I have an indelible moment from filming — I don’t know if it was the actual last day. We were all together and shooting on this beautiful lake in Atlanta and it was amazing to be with everybody,” she said, mentioning that “the casts of multiple movies” were there, which she was warned could be an Endgamespoiler. She continued, “It’s been just an amazing experience to be a part of for all these ten plus years and it’s very nostalgic and emotional and it’s wonderful to be here.”