Marvel Looks Back at Iron Man—the Movie That Started It All

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Date sent: 2017/12/05 06:56:56
There were a lot of points where the <a href=""></a> whole thing could have fallen apart, of course, starting with Iron Man,” Kevin Feige said while sitting down to reflect on a decade of filmmaking from Marvel Studios for Vanity Fair’s Holiday issue. Nine years and 16 movies since that first Marvel Studios effort, Feige and the rest of the team behind the first Iron Man—director Jon Favreau, star Robert Downey Jr., and the studio’s original head, Avi Arad—couldn’t help but think back on the film that started it all. It wasn’t necessarily easy to go back that far; as Downey put it: “That’s the dumb thing about history, if you’re talking about something that has its origins more than 12 minutes ago, you’re already coloring it with your ego and your story.” But, as best they could, the team laid out the humble beginnings of Iron Man, and its impact on everything that came after.
For even more from Vanity Fair’s exclusive Marvel cover story and shoot, click here.
Arad: When we got involved with Marvel, Marvel had a very low self-esteem. It seemed like something that is old. Comics were very niche. No one saw the value of it. No one wanted Spider-Man. It took a while to unite the rights, and in those days, those rights were, I would say, they were sloppily put together, and Marvel, at the time, tended to sell the properties for anything they can get. We licensed studios, we participated in revenues [on films like X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Hulk, 2005’s Fantastic Four]. At the time, I was running a company plus getting the movies made, and in all fairness, on the job learning of the live-action business. Kevin was working for Lauren Shuler Donner [on X-Men], and he became basically the guy that will tell me really what’s going on and when.
Feige: I had been in touch with Avi Arad for two or three years during the course of the production on X-Men. So I would keep him in the loop of what was going on on set and give him my opinions on things. By that point I was an expert in all things X-Men, in all things Marvel.
Arad: I kept calling him from New York and say, “Kevin, what’s happening today?” I realized not only that he’s brilliant, but that was his life, too. Comics. He’s incredibly pleasant and loyal, and we became as close as people can get <a href=""></a> close, and one of the things [that] was important for me is to make Kevin executive producer of our movies. It’s almost like in my mind, I needed an heir apparent, and there was no one else that could come to my mind.
During this period, the team of Arad and Feige could observe and offer notes on various Marvel-licensed films, such as Elektra, X-Men: The Last Stand, Spider-Man 3, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but, ultimately, had no control over those films made by 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, and other studios.

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