‘Iron Man’ Might Never Have Launched the Successful MCU Without a Key Behind-the-Scenes Role

As many MCU fans know, Iron Man was the movie that helped launch the MCU into what it’s become today. Many people, both in front of the camera and behind it, played a role in making Iron Man the smashing success that it was. And, in terms of the people who worked on the movie from behind the camera, director Jon Favreau was probably one of the most influential. That said, there was another person who may have been as influential as Favreau or RDJ was. That man was Stan Winston, and he and his team designed Iron Man’s suit, among other things.

Stan Winston talking into a microphone, looking away from the camera
Stan Winston | Albert L. Ortega/WireImage/Getty Images

Who Stan Winston was

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Winston worked on the special make-up effects of many movies, and he helped design and create some of the most iconic effects in Hollywood. For example, according to IMDb, he worked on many great films in the last few decades. A short list of some of his best works include AliensTerminator 2: Judgment Day, and Jurassic Park.

In fact, Winston and his team won Oscars for their role behind the scenes in several movies. He’s been nominated for 10 Oscars, and he’s won four of them. He won an Oscar in 1987 for his work on Aliens, and then in 1992, he won two Oscars, one in visual effects and the other in make-up, for his work on Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Finally, in 1994, he won an Oscar for his work in Jurassic Park

He was also friends with Favreau, and so, with such an impressive resume, it only made sense that he got hired to work on Iron Man. Little did he know though, his design would help change Marvel.

How Stan Winston changed the MCU

As MCU fans on Reddit wrote, the Iron Man costume was designed by Winston and his team, and it was a real costume that RDJ could wear. While Winston based his design on the Iron Man costume from the comics, he did update it and bring some new flair to it. Ultimately, the little changes he made to the costume made Iron Man look more modern and futuristic. 

While it’s hard to say that a costume design changed the world, it may very well have. Iron Man, as a movie, succeeded for a lot of reasons, but one of them was because Iron Man just looked so cool. Iron Man’s suit was cool for two reasons, one of them being the CGI artists who worked on it, and the other being Winston and the team who designed it. If Iron Man didn’t look as cool as he did, then the movie may not have done as well as it did. 

Stan Winston’s legacy lives on

Robert Downey Jr. smiling with his arms folded
Robert Downey Jr. | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Unfortunately though, not long after Iron Man debuted, Winston passed away at the age of 62. While he died before he could see how his work on Iron Man would change the film world, his legacy lives on through a company that his friends and coworkers created in his memory, Legacy Effects. 

Legacy Effects has carried on Winston’s legacy since it’s been hired by Marvel and Disney to work on many of their projects. IMDb said that Legacy Effects has worked on many MCU projects, such as the rest of the Iron Man trilogy as well as on Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. On top of that, since Winston was also friends with James Cameron, Legacy Effects also worked on Avatar.

Winston’s legacy lives on in the small-screen, too. Disney hired Legacy Effects to work on the practical effects in The Mandalorian. That said, while Legacy Effects worked on a lot of the practical stuff in The Mandalorian, Legacy Effects didn’t create Baby Yoda, unfortunately.