Jon Favreau, the director behind Tony Stark’s first stand-alone MCU film Iron Man, wasn’t so sure the hero should have died in Avengers: Endgame, according to the Russo brothers.
In a video interview with Vanity Fair, the duo opened up about some of their most memorable scenes on projects like Community, Captain America: Civil War and their latest movie, Netflix’s The Gray Man. But the duo start their breakdown going over Tony Stark’s final moment in Avengers: Endgame, where he reveals he’s acquired all the Infinity stones and placed them in his suit to “snap” the half of the universe back to life that Thanos wiped out in Avengers: Infinity War.
The brothers once again touch on how they painstakingly worked through several lines to be Stark’s last before they ended up using something provided offhandedly by the film’s editor, Jeffrey Ford. “It’s probably the most pressure we’ve ever had in trying to come up with a line with [Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely in any of these movies,” Joe says. “You do not want to fuck up Tony Stark’s last line.”
But in the process of discussing how they orchestrated that goodbye for star Robert Downey Jr., they also reveal that part of the pressure around nailing Stark’s final moment was because of MCU regular and Iron Man director Jon Favreau.
“Part of the pressure came from Jon Favreau who called us up after he read the script and said to us, ‘Are you guys really going to kill Iron Man?’” Anthony recounted.
Joe goes on to describe a phone call with Favreau in which he had to “talk him off a ledge” over their decision to wrap the story on one of the MCU’s most popular heroes. “I remember pacing on the corner of a stage on the phone with Favreau trying to talk him off a ledge because he’s like, ‘You can’t do this. It’s gonna devastate people and you don’t want them walking out of the theater and into traffic,’” he recalled, before saying, “we did it anyway.”
They both acknowledge that they understood Favreau’s concerns, especially as “he hadn’t stepped through the process in the way that we had,” Anthony says. “We would have had the same reaction if somebody had brought it up.”
So why did they move ahead with it? According to Joe, the Infinity War and Endgame directing duo felt that they “had earned the arc that would feel redemptive and emotional and uplifting and hopeful, even though he had sacrificed his life.”