The longer Robert Downey Jr. played Iron Man, the less of the superhero’s costume he actually had to wear. In Jon Favreau’s 2008 blockbuster that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the top half of the actor’s body was frequently kitted out in practical armor that greatly restricted his movements, but by the time he starred in Avengers: Endgame over a decade later, Tony Stark’s armored alter-ego was virtually an entirely digital creation, leaving RDJ to essentially make a great deal of the movie sporting comfortable clothes adorned in motion capture dots.
That’s one of the perks of being the marquee name in the world’s biggest and most popular franchise, not to mention an assist from the continuing evolution and improvement of visual effects technology. In fact, at this stage, many of the MCU’s heroes sport entirely CGI costumes, including Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, while every single one of the Avengers’ nifty time travel suits from Endgame was created on a computer.
However, Downey Jr. didn’t have that luxury when he was initially cast as Tony Stark, and an image from the very first time he ever tried on Iron Man‘s helmet has resurfaced, which you can check out below.
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Robert Downey Jr. would probably have been happy to suffer for his art and have a chunky helmet screwed on over his head during early days in the MCU, especially when there were huge question marks at the time over the decision to cast someone who was still in the early stages of a comeback following years of personal problems being handed the lead role in a $150 million comic book blockbuster from an upstart production company making their very first movie. But either way, everything worked out in the end and the actor has now left a lasting mark on the franchise that’ll endure for a long time to come.