Three of Marvel's greatest — Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, and Ming-Na Wen — were honored as Disney Legends to kick off 2019's D23 Expo on Friday.
The Iron Man actor helped kick off the MCU and make it into the box office juggernaut setting billion-dollar records around the globe. Wen helps run the TV game as a lead on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (adding onto her previous Disney bonafides as the voice of Mulan), while Favreau has directed The Jungle Book and The Lion King remakes on top of his role as director/Happy Hogan in the Iron Man franchise. Oh, and the latter created a little thing called The Mandalorian, which might be of interest to fans of a small part of the Disney family. All three were honored as Legends — and fans know that the designation doesn't just mean with Disney, but with all of genre media.
Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, took the stage as SYFY WIRE saw Downey Jr.'s ceremony kick off the proceedings just like the actor did with the modern comic book movie. Leading to a montage of some of the actor's most iconic moments, Iger said that "Robert Downey Jr. delivered more than an iconic performance, he launched the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe."
The actor appeared after the sizzle reel, accepting the honor with some jokes about visiting Disneyland under the influence and some heartfelt thanks to friends and characters alike. "Playing Tony over these many years, and that thematic idea that technology can either leads us to enlightenment or destruction, has been incredible," Downey Jr. said. He thanked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel team, but singled out his "brother and fellow honoree, Jon Favreau" as the person he would like to share his award with.
Favreau was next up, recieving a similar treatment with a best-of compilation of Marvel moments and Disney proper clips alike. When he took the stage, he took it old school. "Walt Disney was the master of bringing the old myths and technology together to create a culture that we all grew up in, and passed a set of values from one generation to the next," Favreau said. "I thank Disney and all of you for the opportunity to tell theses stories and help bring magic to the next generation."
Wen didn't just get honored — she got an announcement all her own! The actress explained that she's been "hitting my whole bucket list thanks to Disney," which now includes the Marvel universe, Disney princess universe, and Star Wars. Yes, Iger confirmed that Wen would be appearing in The Mandalorian in an undisclosed role.
"I used to pray to God, Buddha and the Force when I was a little girl, so this is astounding to me," the actress said of the honor. "The impact of Disney on my personal and professional life is a gift already so this Legends thing is insane." Hopefully Wen will get more than a voice role, but even that is still unannounced.
Legendary composer Hans Zimmer (of The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean fame) and actor James Earl Jones (Darth Vader and Mufasa himself) were also honored, but couldn't attend in person. The former's video message simply stated, "Thank you for thinking of me as a legend...it means the world to me."