Robert Downey Jr. Improvised One of Iron Man's Most Memorable Lines

© 2018 - Marvel Studios
© 2018 - Marvel Studios

Robert Downey Jr. always believed he was the perfect person to play the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man—the star of the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film—but as we learned later on, he was in the minority. Due to his longtime struggle with drugs and alcohol and brushes with the law, Downey was considered a risky pick for the role and the studio wasn't willing to roll the dice on him. Ultimately, it was Iron Man director Jon Favreau who was able to sway the studio to his way of thinking—which is fortunate, because it's impossible to imagine the MCU without Downey today.

It turns out that had another actor been cast, one of Iron Man’s most iconic lines would have been completely different, too, as it was improvised by Downey during production.

MCU fans will never forget the final scene of the first Iron Man movie, as it perfectly caps off the film and sets us up for Iron Man’s future. “I am Iron Man,” Tony Stark states at a press conference, admitting his superhero identity to the world.

The line became so iconic that it appeared again at the end of Iron Man 3. And Downey’s improvisation actually turned out to have a wider impact on Marvel Studios as a whole.

"That success inspired us to go further in trusting ourselves to find the balance of staying true to the comics and the spirit of the comics but not being afraid to adapt and evolve and to change things," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Deadline in 2018.

In the comic books, it takes several years for Stark to confirm his alter ego to the public.

“It’s a fine line,” Feige continued. “Tony Stark not reading off the card and not sticking with the fixed story? Him just blurting out ‘I am Iron Man?’ That seems very much in keeping with who that character is. It just hadn’t been done in the comics before, but it was something very much in keeping with the comics’ character and what he could have done.”

More than 10 years after the release of the original Iron Man, Feige remains the architect of the MCU, and therefore one of its key decision-makers.

“I think it did inspire us on all the movies," Feige continued. "What I love now—20 movies in—is how fans expect the MCU to change and adapt. They expect us to be inspired by the comics as opposed to being slavishly devoted to them."

Fans will see Downey don his Iron Man suit once more when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26, 2019.

Mifflin Madness: Who Is the Greatest Character on The Office? It's Time to Vote

Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.
Steve Carell, as Michael Scott, hands out a well-deserved Dundie Award on The Office.
NBC

Your years of watching (and re-watching) The Office, which just celebrated its 15th anniversary, have all led up to this moment. Welcome to Mifflin Madness—Mental Floss's cutthroat competition to determine The Office's greatest character. Is Michael Scott the boss you most love to hate? Or did Kevin Malone suck you in with his giant pot of chili?

You have 24 hours to cast your vote for each round on Twitter before the bracket is updated and half of the chosen characters are eliminated.

The full bracket is below, followed by the round one and round two winners. You can cast your round three vote(s) here. Be sure to check back on Monday at 4 p.m. ET to see if your favorite Dunder Mifflin employee has advanced to the next round. 

Round One


Round Two


Round Three


The Office Planned to Break Up Jim and Pam in the Final Season—Then (Smartly) Thought Better of It

Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski star in The Office.
Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski star in The Office.
NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly's relationship in The Office was truly a romance for the ages. Fans were delighted when, in Season 3—after years of flirting—John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer’s characters finally got together. But an alternative plan for the show’s ninth and final season saw the couple going their separate ways.

Season 9 saw one of the most stressful storylines the show had to offer when Jim took a job in Philadelphia and Pam struggled to take care of their children on her own back in Scranton, putting intense strain on their otherwise seemingly perfect relationship. In one unforgettable scene, a particularly tense phone call between the couple ends with Pam in tears. Fischer’s character then turns to someone off camera named Brian for advice.

As Collider reports, Pam and Jim's relationship could have taken a turn for worse in the final season—and the writers had planned it that way. As recounted in Andy Greene's new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, series creator Greg Daniels sat down with each of the show's stars before starting the final season to discuss where their characters would go. John Krasinski, who played Jim, pitched the idea of putting Jim and Pam’s relationship on thin ice. According to Krasinski:

"My whole pitch to Greg was that we’ve done so much with Jim and Pam, and now, after marriage and kids, there was a bit of a lull there, I think, for them about what they wanted to do … And I said to Greg, ‘It would be really interesting to see how that split will affect two people that you know so well.'"

Several writers weighed in with ideas about how they might handle a split between Jim and Pam from a narrative standpoint—though not everyone was on the same page.

Warren Lieberstein, a writer on the series, remembered when the idea of bringing Brian—the documentary crew's boom operator—into the mix. “[This] was something that came up in Season 5, I think," Lieberstein said. "What if that character had been secretly there the entire time and predated the relationship with Jim and had been a shoulder that she cried on for years?’ It just seemed very intriguing." Apparently, the writers thought breaking the fourth wall would jeopardize the show, so they saved it for the last season.

Writer Owen Ellickson said there was even some talk of Pam and Brian “maybe hooking up a little bit," but the negative response to the storyline led the writers to "pull the ripcord on [Pam and Jim's separation] because it was so painful to fans of the show." Ellickson said that they backtracked so quickly, they even had to re-edit certain episodes that had already been shot to nix the idea of Jim and Pam splitting up. Which is something the show's millions of fans will be forever grateful for.

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