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Jon Favreau pleaded with the Russo Bros. not to kill Iron Man in 'Avengers: Endgame': 'You can't do this!'
Happy Hogan tried, Robert Downey, Jr. cried, but "We did it anyways," says Joe Russo.
Maybe everything Happy Hogan and Iron Man had been through together seemed like too much shared history to toss away. Or maybe all that time spent on The Mandalorian with the adorable Baby Yoda was making him sentimental. Either way, Happy Hogan actor (and Mandalorian mastermind) Jon Favreau reportedly had a heroically hard time coming to terms with Tony Stark’s demise, once he’d taken an early peek at the character's fate in the script for Avengers: Endgame.
Iron Man director Favreau went to bat hard for Tony Stark after first learning the tragic end that Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo had planned for the iconic Robert Downey, Jr.-portrayed character. He reportedly pleaded with the Russo brothers to spare Stark his now-famous onscreen death, telling the directors that audiences were likely to start melting down if the beating heart behind Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were permanently to fall silent.
That’s a long way of saying that, if Favreau had gotten his way, Iron Man might still be alive in the MCU. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the Russo brothers said the decision to kill off an Avengers movie O.G. flipped Favreau into full-on begging mode.
"Part of the pressure came from Jon Favreau, who called us up after he read the script…and said to us, ‘Are you really going to kill Iron Man?’” recalled Anthony Russo, while Joe Russo took it from there: “I remember pacing on the corner of a stage, on the phone with Favreau trying to talk him off a ledge. Because he's like, 'You can't do this! It's gonna devastate people, and you don't want them, you know, walking out of the theater and into traffic.’ We did it anyways."
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Downey himself didn’t exactly look forward to saying a final farewell to the Marvel superhero he’d embodied since first playing Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man. According to the Russo brothers (in the collector's book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, via EW’s report), Downey cried when he first learned of his character’s Endgame fate.
Audiences, thankfully, didn’t walk into traffic after seeing Tony Stark (or Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, for that matter) make the ultimate sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. But tons of them did walk right back into theaters to take in the three-hour spectacle all over again. Endgame proved an incredible success with viewers, taking in $2.79 billion at the worldwide box office and unseating Avatar — at least temporarily — as history’s highest-grossing film.
Looking for more superhero action? The 2003 adaptation of The Hulk is streaming on Peacock, as well as The Punisher and The Punisher: Warzone.