It’s hard to imagine a time before Iron Man hit theatres. Iron Man It is one of the most important films in recent history that launched not only its own franchise but the entirety of it Marvel Cinematic Universe And it launched the concept of a shared universe that every other major studio has tried to replicate. in 2022, Iron Man It has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
But before its release, Iron Man It was a gamble. The character wasn’t a household name like the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man. Jon Favreau wasn’t known as a director for his blockbusters, and star Robert Downey Jr. was more known for his public life than his film work. Moreover, it was Marvel Studios’ first movie as an independent production company. king Iron Man The Marvel Cinematic Universe had never really taken off, and the company would have lost the movie rights to many of its characters to a bank as collateral.
Why did Marvel Studios decide to bet everything they had on a B-class superhero? This is why Marvel Studios was chosen Iron Man As their first movie and how it launched the MCU.
Iron Man It was the first movie released by Marvel Studios, but significantly, when Marvel Studios first formed and took out a loan to make their own movies in 2004, they didn’t have the rights to Iron Man or even Thor. Iron Man Developed at New Line Cinema with Tom Cruise looking to star. In 2005, Marvel Studios acquired the rights to Iron Man. The character was one of many considered to launch the MCU along with Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Nick Fury, and Cloak and Dagger.
Marvel Entertainment Chief Creative Officer and Marvel Studios founder Avi Arad wanted their first movie to be Captain America. The reason was that of all the characters Marvel Studios had access to, Captain America was the most popular. Future Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was also interested in Captain America as the first MCU movie. Eventual Iron Man director Jon Favreau met with Marvel Studios about directing Captain America. A trace of Captain America as the beginning of the MCU can be found in the final film’s title Captain America: The First Avenger.
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Prior to joining Marvel, Avi Arad was CEO of Toy Biz, which purchased Marvel Comics in 1996 when the company filed for bankruptcy. Toys and merchandise were an important part of their business plan and had great success with other studios’ Marvel movie toys such as Spider ManAnd X-MenAnd the structure. For the studio’s first independently produced movie, they needed a franchise that could make lots of toys that could sell.
Marvel held a focus group and brought together a group of kids. After showing the children each different hero and superpower, they asked the children which hero they wanted to buy toys from. The overwhelming winner was Iron Man. Iron Man’s superpower is his amor suit, and the character has a set of different colored armor from the comics that can be easily adapted into a toy line. this is the way Iron Man It became the first MCU movie. Ironically though Iron Man Being green-lit for playability, not much was made for the first movie as most stores didn’t consider Iron Man You will sell the goods.
Iron Man had never been so adapted before
One notable decision behind adapting Iron Man over other heroes was that the Tony Stark character had never appeared in live-action before. He previously played Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno in The Hulk Incredible Hulk TV series, and Eric Bana in the 2003 movie. Captain America appeared in two TV movies in the 1970s and a direct-to-video movie in 1990. Thor appeared in the TV movie Return of the Incredible Hulk. Doctor Strange appeared in an experimental movie in the 1970s. David Hasselhoff played Nick Fury in the 1998 TV movie.
Tony Stark and the Iron Man persona was a clean slate. Marvel Studios can set the tone and anticipation of a character on their own without worrying about previous versions or what the audience might know. The same thing that made the Iron Man character so mysterious to the general public also turned out to be the film’s greatest strength. Robert Downey Jr.’s performance of Tony Stark relaunched his career and succeeded in making Iron Man a household name. This performance launched the MCU. There likely wouldn’t be an MCU as audiences know it without Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.
While not a factor in the film’s spotlight, Iron Man It proved to be a great entry point for fans into what will be the broader MCU. Thor was a major fantasy project that Marvel was struggling with. Captain America called for a World War II period setting that the studio was concerned might alienate general audiences. while they took over Incredible Hulkwhich was based on one of their most iconic heroes, the previous attempt at a Hulk movie was a disappointment to audiences, so the new movie had a lot to prove.
Iron Man, the most adaptive hero ever appeared. The MCU has now introduced fans to comic book concepts that would otherwise have been attempted before. At the time, it was a comic book superhero movie that aimed for a sense of realism. In 2006 when Iron Man The concept of giant robots The Sentinels was developed in X-Men Former Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Tom Rothman considered the franchise ridiculous. Iron Man, as a technology-based superhero, plays with audience expectations for a grounded superhero project while laying the foundation for the eventual embrace of larger-than-life comic book concepts that would define the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man One foot in the past with an eye on the future.