TODAY, it’s impossible to imagine Robert Downey Jr. playing any other Marvel character, and its even harder to separate him from Iron Man, the character he played for almost a decade.

But years ago, before Iron Man was introduced to audiences in 2008, this was not the case.

For the 15th anniversary of Iron Man’s release, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Jon Favreau – who directed, produced and appeared as Happy Hogan in the 2008 film – revealed that Downey Jr. almost did not play the iconic Marvel hero while discussing the makings of the movie and its legacy.

“I remember you had all met with [Downey] already for like Doctor Doom or something on another project,” Favreau told Feige in an interview published on Youtube Wednesday.

“I remember sitting down with the guy, and I was like, ‘He’s got that spark in him in his eye and he’s ready,’” The Mandalorian creator noted.

“That’s when we were in your office, and we were pointing to his headshot, saying: ‘We got to try to figure this out’,” he continued recalling.

Favreau also explained that once Downey was signed on, life became a lot easier due to the actor understanding the voice of Tony Stark.

“And then one by one, people were just signing on board because now it became something interesting.”

“That tone that you and Robert discovered on that movie, I would say became the template in a way for much of what the MCU became,” Feige told Favreau.

After Downey first donned the iron suit in the 2008 film, he went on to reprise the role in nine more Marvel films, including two Iron Man sequels, before his character died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

Even before that final Marvel appearance, Downey had become a cultural icon, which the Marvel Studios president also attested to, as Feige says there would not even be a studio were it not for Iron Man’s success through Downey (and Favreau).

After Endgame, Downey has laid low, appearing in only two films since 2020, with his next being in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Oppenheimer.