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How RDJ’s Famously Improvised ‘Iron Man’ Line Changed Marvel Forever

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The cultural corner where comics met film all began with the 2008 movie adaptation of the Marvel classic, Iron Man. What’s more is that even the biggest and best comic fanatics couldn’t have guessed how the movie ended — and neither could the director.

Marvel’s Controversial Changes

In the original comics, Iron Man was long thought to be Tony Stark’s bodyguard. The secrecy behind a superhero’s true identity has long been considered sacred. See, for example, the mystery behind the masks of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, or any of the other great superheroes.

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Marvel has recently been criticized by fans for changing the details and plot points of the comics in the movies. In reality, though, Marvel’s habit of adapting stories to fit a new generation began with their very first film.

A Twist Nobody Expected

At the end of Iron Man, Tony Stark (portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) is slotted to read a prepared alibi at a press conference regarding the events that occurred at Stark Industries. And yet, instead of covering his tracks, Stark openly announces that he is Iron Man. Talk about a plot twist!

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What’s most interesting about this, however, is that this line was never in the script. In fact, the folks at Marvel had intended to remain true to the story most Iron Man fans are familiar with. It was Robert Downey Jr. himself who added the line on the spot because he felt it was more true to Stark’s character.

How RDJ Changed Marvel for Good

Now, a decade after the film was released, Kevin Feige (producer of Iron Man and current president of Marvel Studios) described how important that risky change was to the company. According to him, those four words helped Marvel Studios to “find [the] balance of staying true to the comics… but not being afraid to adapt and evolve.”

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We see the evolution that Feige spoke of in almost every Marvel movie released today. For example, Thor’s original alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake, is nowhere to be seen in the Marvel movies. And don’t even get us started on Infinity War.

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