Today Marks 11 Years Since Iron Man Was Released And Kicked Off The MCU
Today marks exactly 11 years since Robert Downey Jr first donned the red and gold armour of Iron Man, kicking off a series of movies that would form the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
*Spoiler Alert* If you aren't up to date with those movies then now is a good time to stop reading, because this article contains some pretty big spoilers that will ruin the entire thing for fans - and will lead to me receiving a lot of hate mail, which I'd kinda like to avoid.
Are we all on board? Ok, let's go...
What began with a short post-credits conversation between Tony Stark (played by Downey Jr) and Nick Fury (Samuel. L. Jackson) - recruiting the billionaire playboy to S.H.I.E.L.D's ambitious Avengers project - has become a global phenomenon, changing the cinematic landscape for superhero movies forever.
This one moment kicked off a series of 22 interconnected films, introducing fans to an intergalactic band of misfits, such as the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther, who were eventually brought together to go toe-to-toe with the megalomaniacal Thanos.
But a constant throughout all of this has been that man Stark. Audiences have seen him evolve from a narcissistic arms dealer, whose infighting with Captain America caused a devastating split in the Avengers team, to retired family man.
His story, and therefore that of the Avengers (at least this phase of the MCU) was brought to an emotional close in Endgame when Stark - having come out of his self-imposed retirement - heroically gave his life to defeat Thanos and save the universe.
It looks like we'll see some of the repercussions of this in the forthcoming movie Spider-Man: Far From Home, but for many fans, his personal sacrifice represented the perfect ending to this phase of the MCU.
One fan wrote: "Tony stark's character development will remain the best in the MCU. Thank You for amazing 11 years @RobertDowneyJr 'Part of the journey is the end'."
A second fan said: "May 2nd, 2008... that's when it all started, 11 years ago Iron Man was released, and the MCU was created."
A third put: "It's really been 11 years since iron man 1 came out and started this amazing journey. Thank you rdj for portraying this character perfectly throughout the years, we wouldn't have all we have now without you."
Another paid tribute, writing: "11 years ago, the first iron man film was released. the first movie to open the journey of the marvel cinematic universe. happy birthday to the movie that started it all. thank you, earth's best defender."
The Russo brothers, who directed the last two Avengers movies (Infinity War and Endgame), said Downey Jr was the first person to whom they pitched the Endgame plot, as he was so 'pivotal' to the entire saga.
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, they said: "The Tony Stark arc is the longest and perhaps fullest in the MCU. Once we decided we wanted this kind of ending for the character, we certainly wanted to make sure Robert was comfortable with it, just because of his enormous contribution to the MCU.
"We did pitch it out. We went over to meet with him and we pitched it out to him.
"I think Downey may have had mixed emotions about thinking about [where Tony Stark ends up in Endgame], but I think at the end of the day, he totally accepted it."
RIP Iron Man. We love you 3000.
Featured Image Credit: Marvel