James Gunn Blasts Viral Tweet Saying Iron Man Could Be Played By Anybody

Iron Man Tony Stark

A controversial tweet has generated a lot of discussion online for arguing that Robert Downey Jr. isn’t a key factor in the success of Iron Man. In a multi-tweet opinion piece, The Sunday Times argued that characters are now more of a draw to moviegoing audiences than actors. Using the MCU as an example, the site claimed that Tony Stark could’ve been “played by almost anyone with wit” and audiences would’ve taken to him just as much.

Obviously, Marvel fans are calling foul on this one as it’s a widely held opinion that Downey was the perfect choice to bring the Armored Avenger to life in the MCU. It’s often been noted that it feels like he was born to portray the hero as he fits the part so well. The Times’ thoughts went viral, then, with “Iron Man”” and “Robert Downey Jr.” subsequently trending on Twitter as fans rebuffed the argument.

Likewise, Marvel filmmaker James Gunn weighed into the discussion with a brief tweet that made clear he’s got an insider’s insight into exactly why The Times is wrong on this one. “I’ve seen the screentests,” the Guardians of the Galaxy director wrote. “This is bullshit.”

In other words, Gunn’s viewed how the other actors in the running for the part of Tony in 2008’s Iron Man played the role so he’s seen first hand that no one else could’ve portrayed Stark better than Downey. While The Times has a point that what attracts audiences has changed over the past decade or so, discounting the incredible performances of superhero actors like Robert Downey is borderline offensive.

It’s ironic that this discussion is happening now as Marvel is actually doing the unthinkable and recasting Iron Man for their What If…? animated series, with a currently unknown actor voicing the character after RDJ proved unavailable. Catch that on Disney Plus from August 11th.