It was an insane moment in Avengers: Endgame when Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark sacrificed himself to save the world. While there was a lot of rumor and speculation about Iron Man dying, no one really wanted to see him die! He was the hero of the MCU!
Well, it turns out that Iron Man director Jon Favreau actually called the Russo Bros. after he read the script for Endgame and argued against killing Iron Man. He did not want Iron Man to be killed off! In a recent interview with Vanity Fair Joe Russo talked about that experience saying:
“It’s probably the most pressure we’ve ever had in trying to come up with a line with [screenwriters Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely on any of these movies. You do not want to fuck up Tony Stark’s last line.”
Anthony Russo added: “Part of the pressure came from Jon Favreau, who called us up after he read the script and said to us, ‘Are you guys really going to kill Iron Man?'” Joe recalled “pacing on the corner of a stage on the phone with Favreau trying to talk him off a ledge.”
It feels like Favreau was upset about this conclusion. Joe said, “He’s like, ‘You can’t do this, it’s gonna devastate people. You don’t want them walking out of the theater and into traffic. We did it anyway.” Anthony added: “We did it anyway, and to Jon’s credit, he hadn’t stepped through the process in the way that we had,” and he noted he and his brother “would have had the same reaction” if they hadn’t directed the two Avengers movies.
Joe explained that they felt they “had earned the arc that would feel redemptive and emotional and uplifting and hopeful, even though [Stark] had sacrificed his life.”
The directing duo then went on to talk about how Stark’s final line “I am Iron Man” came about. Downey Jr. improvised some lines for that scene some of which were “super-smartass” including “Oh, snap,” and an F-bomb thrown at Thanos.
Nothing was working because Downey Jr. “wasn’t playing it with enough pain of the power of the [Infinity] Stones surging through his body,” so they were originally going to use a version where Stark didn’t say anything. Then their editor, Jeff Ford, came up with the “I am Iron Man” line.
Anthony said, “Our editor, Jeff Ford, who is one of the most amazing filmmakers we’ve ever collaborated with, edited the first Iron Man movie. So he had been on the journey with the character since the original Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man. Joe added, “He hit play, and Thanos says, ‘I am inevitable.’ Beat, beat, beat. And Jeff went, ‘I am Iron Man.’ We were like, ‘Stop! What did you just say?!’ We called Downey and said, ‘You gotta put the suit back on.'”