Today’s Feature: Pepper Discovers Tony as Iron Man (2008)/ Iron Man (2008)
Though he has now appeared in numerous films, Iron Man’s theatrical debut is still one of the strongest adaptations of the character. While I won’t go into a ton of detail about my feelings on the character, I already did that here, I don’t think that it is any secret that Iron Man would become one of the anchors of all MCU storytelling. With Producer Kevin Feige acting as a sort of editor for the collective continuity, Marvel Studios took a plethora of material and streamlined it into one of the most successful brands in film history. That streamlining sacrificed many of the better known storylines and characters of the comic book Marvel Universe, but as the brand has expanded, one has stuck out like a sore thumb.
Though Iron Man was always counted as an essential member of the Avengers and, at least within the stories, at the top of the Marvel Comics food chain, his battle with alcoholism became a defining trait for the flawed hero. In 1979, over nine issues, Dave Michelinie , Bob Layton and John Romita Jr. crafted the tale now known as Demon in a Bottle, wherein Tony Stark drowns his insecurities. While it would have been difficult to replicate the tale directly, it features numerous villains and other elements not yet present in the MCU, one could certainly place Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of the Iron Avenger in a similar role. Both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 seem to move in this direction, especially the second film, which features Demon in a Bottle villain Justin Hammer and a scene where a drunken Tony Stark gets a bit out of hand. Director Jon Favreau would leave his role behind the camera after Iron Man 2, with rumors swirling that Marvel Studios had forced him to make a movie he didn’t want to. Apparently even Downey was contemplating an exit at that point. Iron Man 3 director Shane Black later mentioned that Disney had all but barred the storyline from making its way into the MCU. For these reasons, I don’t think it is a stretch to think that Favreau may have wanted to use this plotline going forward. In fact, we know for sure he did to some extent.
Within the special features for Iron Man, you will find a very interesting deleted scene entitled “Pepper discovers Tony as Iron Man”, an early indicator of the storyline’s potential importance as the series developed. The disc even features a brief feature on the story itself.
Iron Man, along with many deleted scenes, is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.