It is very much right to say that avid Marvel fans cannot imagine the MCU without Robert Downey Jr., who played Tony Stark, a.k.a., Iron Man, starting with 2008’s Iron Man. Jon Favreau directed the first part, which also starred Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, and more.

Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard in Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard in Iron Man | Marvel Studios

Iron Man is known as the first film in Phase One of the MCU, and upon its release, it not only impressed the audience and the critics but also cemented Downey Jr. as a significant part of the MCU. His performance was highly lauded by everyone worldwide, but he wasn’t the first choice of Marvel Studios for the character that changed his life.

Terrence Howard recalls helping Robert Downey Jr. be cast as Iron Man

Terrence Howard, who played Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes in 2008’s Iron Man was appreciated for his performance. He appeared on The Joe Rogan Show, where he recalled helping out Robert Downey Jr. after his wife, Susan Downey, expressed his desire to audition for Marvel’s Iron Man. He revealed that he had a multi-movie deal with Marvel,

We did a three-picture deal with Marvel, with the first for 4.5 million, 7-8 million for the second one, and 12 million for the third one. We signed it.

The actor further shared that when he was working on The Brave One with Jodie Foster, Susan Downey was the producer of the movie with Joel Silver. He continued that she congratulated him on signing Iron Man and said that it was the first time the studios had signed the second lead before the main lead.

Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard in Iron Man
Terrence Howard pushed Marvel Studios to audition Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man | Marvel Studios

Howard added that Susan Downey mentioned that Robert Downey Jr. wanted to audition for the part, but the studios were keen on getting Clive Davis for the role. After expressing that he loved Downey Jr.’s work, Howard mentioned that he helped him get an audition.

I called Avi Arad; immediately, he was the producer on it, and I’m like, Obi, um, I hear, Robert wants to come in, but you guys don’t even let him audition. He’s like, No, we can’t bond him, and then I’m like, instead of the 4 and a half million you want to give me, why don’t you take a million dollars for the bond for him if he gets it and lets him audition?

Downey Jr. got the part, later thanked Howard for his help, and went on to be one of the biggest stars in the MCU and maybe worldwide. Fans grew quite attached to his character, and it nearly broke them when his character died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. However, Terrence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle in the second and third Iron Man.

Terrence Howards says Robert Downey Jr. didn’t respond to his call when he was replaced 

During the podcast, Howard revealed that even though he signed a three-movie deal with Marvel Studios, they returned to him, offering him a million dollars instead of what was promised for the second part. He shared that his agent simply said, ‘F You’ and disconnected the call.

Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard as War Machine | Marvel Studios

Actor Don Cheadle, in further Marvel movies as Rhodes, a.k.a., War Machine, replaced Terrence Howard. The former War Machine actor said,

When this other thing happened, I’m calling Robert Downey Jr., and he’s doing Sherlock Holmes. I called him 27 times, and I’m leaving a message, calling his assistant, and I’m like, I need the help I gave you. I didn’t hear from him until three years later, when I bumped into him at Brian Graser’s wedding.

He added that Downey told him that everything worked out well for him, but Howard said it hurt him. Back in 2013, when Howard appeared on Watch What Happens Live, he revealed that after the success of Iron Man, Downey Jr.’s salary massively increased, which resulted in a cutback on his salary, which did not sit well with him. (via ScreenRant)

Robert Downey Jr. has maintained that he had nothing to do with the recasting of War Machine.

Iron Man is available to stream on Disney+. 

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