Interesting Facts About The Iron Man Trilogy

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May 5, 2013 by Craig Sutherland

Here’s a compilation of interesting tidbits from the Iron Man trilogy…

Iron Man

This is Marvel Studios’ first self-financed movie.

Rachel McAdams was Jon Favreau‘s first choice to play Pepper Potts, but she turned the role down.

Jon Favreau was originally going to direct “Captain America: The First Avenger” in the manner of a superhero comedy adventure, but he instead chose to direct this film and give it a more serious tone. Ironically, Nick Cassavetes, who was chosen to direct that film, had been filled in to direct this film in December 2004.

In the comics, Tony Stark participated (and became Iron Man) in the Vietnam War; later this was changed to the Gulf War. In this film, the character’s origin was changed to Afghanistan, as Jon Favreau did not wish to make the film a period piece but instead give it a realistic contemporary look.

In October 1999, Quentin Tarantino was approached to write and direct the film. Later, Joss Whedon, a big fan of the comic book, was in negotiations to direct the film in June 2001. In December 2004, Nick Cassavetes was hired as a director, with the film to release in 2006, but everything fell through. Finally, Jon Favreau was hired as director in April 2006.

Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise were interested in playing Iron Man. Cruise in particular was going to act in and produce the film. Cage played another Marvel superhero in “Ghost Rider”.

All three sets of Iron Man’s armor were designed by Adi Granov, a comic book artist from the “Iron Man” comic, and Phil Saunders. They were then constructed by Stan Winston Studios.

Gwyneth Paltrow only needed to travel 15 minutes to get to the studio. She claimed that this is a part of the reason she took the role, as she could be home with her two children during the entire shoot.

Originally, Iron Man’s arch-nemesis the Mandarin was going to be the film’s villain, but Jon Favreau felt him to be too fantastic and dated, so he was rewritten into a “working-behind-the-scenes” presence. Favreau cited “Star Wars” as a case: “I looked at the Mandarin more like how in ‘Star Wars’ you had the Emperor, but Darth Vader is the guy you want to see fight. Then you work your way to the time when lightning bolts are shooting out of the fingers and all that stuff could happen. But you can’t have what happened in [“Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi“] happen in [“Star Wars”].”

There are various references in the film towards the Mandarin, Iron Man’s arch-nemesis:the organization that kidnaps Stark is called “the Ten Rings,” after the ten rings that comprise the Mandarin’s arsenal (Jon Favreau has stated that The Ten Rings, in fact, works for The Mandarin) the commandant Raza speaks of Genghis Khan and AsiaRaza is seen occasionally fiddling with an ornate gold ringrings are worn by Stark, Stane, Rhodes and Raza (that is to say those in positions of power).

Iron Man 2

Al Pacino was considered for the role of Justin Hammer.

Writer Shane Black recommended that Tony Stark’s characterization be inspired by J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led the team that developed the atomic bomb. After witnessing his creation’s destructive potential, Oppenheimer defamed himself as “the Destroyer of Worlds” and sank into depression.

To prepare for his role as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash, Mickey Rourke paid a visit to Butyrka Prison, Moscow: “I tried to incorporate the whole Russian philosophy. It’s a culture of its own and I really enjoyed doing the research and meeting the people and they were very gracious there at the prison.” Rourke also commented that Vanko’s dialogue is in a Slovakian accent.

Jon Favreau’s first sequel as a director and as an actor.

Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard as Rhodey, due to a falling out between Howard and Marvel Studios. The two actors worked with each other in “Crash”.

According to Mickey Rourke, he carried out a lot of research in Russia choosing what tattoos Ivan Vanko should carry on his body. He wanted authentic Russian tattoos, which would represent Vanko’s Russian heritage, prison societies, and special clubs he might be in.

According to Jon Favreau, the Asian man who hands Vanko false papers in order to get to Monaco is a member of the Ten Rings, the terrorist organization Stark encountered in the first film. This organization is reportedly headed by Iron Man’s nemesis, the Mandarin.

In regards to Hammer saying “If it were any smarter, it’d write a book, a book that would make ‘Ulysses’ look like it was written in crayon”, the writer James Joyce’s eyesight was failing so bad during the writing of ‘Ulysses’, that he had to write in large letters with a crayon on huge sheets of paper in order to see what he was writing.

Although Mickey Rourke spent several months on treadmill and weight training, he initially was still unable to move around and use the whip prop in the Whiplash outfit test due to its sheer weight. To get around this problem, Rourke would wear heavy vests in subsequent physical training sessions to accustom his body in moving while wearing heavy armor.

The dance Sam Rockwell does before presenting the drones at the Expo is something he does to help him get into character.

Terrence Howard was replaced in the part of Rhodes for no perceived reason. The actor claimed that his contract wasn’t honored. Entertainment Weekly stated that Jon Favreau did not enjoy working with him, often re-shooting or cutting his scenes. There was also speculation that Marvel had gone to Howard, asking him to accept a pay-cut for appearing in the sequel. As Howard had been the first actor cast for “Iron Man”, he was paid the most.

Iron Man 3

Disney bought the distribution rights from Paramount for $115 million. This deal also included “The Avengers”. However, as with The Avengers, under the conditions of the deal, Paramount will be the studio logo to appear and not Disney’s. It is expected that no reference to Disney will be made until the very end of the closing credits, “Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.”
Gemma Arterton, Diane Kruger and Isla Fisher were considered for the role of Maya Hansen. Jessica Chastain was cast but she dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Rebecca Hall was cast in her place.

Jude Law was considered for the role of Aldrich Killian.

The first day Robert Downey Jr. and Sir Ben Kingsley met on set, they snapped a photo together to send to director and mutual friend Sir Richard Attenborough.

The film was originally budgeted at $140 million, but after “The Avengers” became a huge hit, Marvel Studios and Disney upped it to $200 million in order to allow Shane Black to make the best movie he could.

Cameo (Joss Whedon): The man hiding behind the car who Tony acknowledges during the attack by Ellen Brandt.

This is the first Iron Man film to not feature Nick Fury, Agent Phil Coulson or even show/mention SHIELD.

The film was heavily edited for Chinese audiences, the Chinese edit has additional scenes featuring the character Dr. Wu and his assistant (played by Chinese stars Xueqi Wang and Bingbing Fan respectively).

Jessica Brown Findlay who appears in the film due to the use of footage from Downton Abbey was actually considered for a part in another Marvel film; the role of Sharon Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Shane Black admitted that Jon Favreau gave him tips and advice during filming (for which he was very grateful and thankful for) though noted that this film would have a “different feel” than the other two.


With Mark Ruffalo’s cameo as Dr. Bruce Banner in the post-credit scene, this marks the first time that an actor has played the character in more than one theatrical film (Eric Bana and Edward Norton only played him one time a piece.)

The first cut was over three hours long. Shane Black: ”By the way, a fun fact – although also a tragic and scary fact – is that the movie’s assembly cut came in at 3 hours and 15 minutes, and it ended up being 1 hour 59 minutes. We cut 75 minutes of footage.”

Trivia taken from IMDB &

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