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Marvel's Iron Man Faced Intense Debate Over One Controversial Line

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Anyone who knows anything about the Marvel Cinematic Universe knows that it all began with "Iron Man." The superhero film's success paved the way for every Marvel Studios movie that has followed it, including 2012's "The Avengers" and even seemingly distant spin-offs like "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Doctor Strange." None of those films could have existed in the form they do were it not for their 2008 predecessor. While he might not have initially seemed like the obvious choice to kickstart the massive multimedia franchise, time has proven why Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man was the perfect superhero to lay the foundation of the MCU.

As well-known as the importance of "Iron Man" is among comic book readers, though, viewers might not be aware of some of the behind-the-scenes conflicts that occurred during the making of the film. Those same fans would likely be surprised to learn that there was, at one point, an intense disagreement between the film's director, Jon Favreau, and its U.S. Department of Defense liaison, Phil Strub. The aforementioned conflict is outlined in the new book "MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios," which reports that Strub and Favreau got into a long-running debate about one line that involved a member of the U.S. military remarking that he'd "kill himself" for the same kind of opportunities as Downey's Tony Stark.

"It never got resolved until we were in the middle of filming," Strub is quoted as recalling in the book. "We're on the flight lines of Edwards Air Force Base, and there's 200 people, and [Favreau] and I are having an argument about this. He's getting redder and redder in the face and I'm getting just as annoyed."

Iron Man's most contentious line was eventually replaced

Phil Strub went into great detail about the memorable disagreement between him and Jon Favreau that took place on the set of "Iron Man." According to Strub, Favreau didn't see any problem with the film's original, unexpectedly contentious line of dialogue and its use of a "common idiom." Strub, conversely, thought it involved "an enlisted man" making "light of suicide," which isn't something that he wanted to see in the superhero film.

Eventually, Favreau angrily offered to change the line so that the serviceman in question would instead joke about how he'd willingly walk over hot coals to live the same kind of life as Tony Stark. The change was immediately approved by Strub. "[Favreau] was so surprised it was that easy," the former head of the Pentagon's Hollywood Liaison Unit revealed. Of course, in a somewhat hilarious twist of fate, neither version of the aforementioned line was included in the final cut of "Iron Man."

There was, however, famously a lot of improvisation on the set of the 2008 film. Indeed, it's been previously revealed that the movie's actors often came up with their own, original dialogue on the same days that certain scenes were shot and even between takes. Fortunately, many Marvel fans seem to agree that the cast and crew's looser approach to that aspect of the film improved "Iron Man" and placed a greater emphasis on the chemistry between its characters. Now, it turns out that it was also Favreau's improvisational skills that allowed him to smooth over his and Strub's biggest disagreement — one that never ended up mattering all that much.

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