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Robert Downey Jr. almost played a different Marvel character before Iron Man

Downey was in talks to play a Marvel character that wasn’t Tony Stark/Iron Man.

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This year marks 15 years since ‘Iron Man’ was released in theaters, which effectively kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

To celebrate the milestone, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige sat down with filmmaker Jon Favreau to reflect on the film that started it all. During this conversation, it was revealed that Robert Downey Jr. almost played a different Marvel character,

While it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Tony Stark/Iron Man, Downey was apparently in talks to play the villainous Doctor Doom in 2005′s ‘Fantastic Four’.

Downey’s auditions for Marvel

“I remember you [Feige] had all met with him [Downey] already for like Doctor Doom or something on another project,” Favreau said. “I think he had come through on like maybe Fantastic Four, so everybody sort of knew who he was.”

The role was instead given to Julian McMahon, but Downey was later invited to do a screen test for ‘Iron Man’. Favreau, who directed the first two ‘Iron Man’ movies, saw a “spark in him” and knew Downey would make a fantastic Iron Man.

“Once it was him, that’s when my life got a lot easier because he understood the voice of the character,” Favreau said. “And then one by one, people were just signing on board because now it became something interesting.”

What came next?

‘Iron Man’ went on to gross $585 million worldwide, proving that superhero movies could be successful. This sparked the entirety of the MCU and Feige ensured to credit Downey for that.

“I remember on later movies – we’ll talk about them on the 15th anniversary of those – there were dark days,” Feige said. “I would say to Robert, ‘We wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for you,’ meaning we wouldn’t have a studio if it wasn’t for him. Or you [Favreau].”

Downey played the character for a total of ten movies and while he’s no longer in the MCU, his legacy continues.