As fans have all heard quite often lately, 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the game-changing Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Christopher Nolan’s legendary superhero/crime thriller film The Dark Knight also came out that summer, the current state of superhero films draws its origins back to Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Considering how shaky several of the early entries were, it’s difficult to imagine the MCU making it this far if Favreau hadn’t knocked it out of the park back in May 2008.
Ten years later, the director reflected on Iron Man in The Directors’ Roundtable, a special feature exclusively featured on the digital release of Avengers: Infinity War. Interestingly, Favreau cites his 2003 holiday comedy Elf as the reason he landed the gig. “Elf made money and I was sort of on a list of directors that were hireable.”
While his 2005 family sci-fi film Zathura: A Space Adventure had bombed at the box office, Favreau was approached by the then-infant Marvel Studios, which lacked the rights to its most iconic superheroes (Spider-Man and X-Men) due to previously selling them to Sony and 20th Century Fox. Favreau said, “They approached me about it and there wasn’t really a script or anything… They had some story ideas. I kinda didn’t know what I was gonna do with it, but I thought it was a cool concept. At the time, Transformers was being made, so I was real confident that hard surfaces would look good in CG.”
Likely as a result of Iron Man‘s well-known “on the fly” production, Jon Favreau and lead actor Robert Downey Jr. found what has gone on to become one of the defining traits of the MCU: Comedy. The director recounted to the roundtable, “I don’t even think they knew it was gonna be funny. I remember when we first screened it, [Marvel Studios President] Kevin Feige was like, ‘Whoa, this is pretty funny!’”
What do you think? Do you wish that the MCU wasn’t so heavily defined by its comedy? Are you glad Jon Favreau established the blueprint? Whatever your thoughts may be, please be sure to leave a comment below!