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Downey Jr. did not want to say his final line in Endgame

Contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, the hero who started the Marvel Cinematic Universe as fans know it today, went through a profound journey in Avengers: Endgame. His character arc came to an emotional end-point in the final moments of the superhero ensemble, when the Armored Avenger delivered a line that called back to the beginning of the Marvel movie franchise. 

As it turns out, though, that moment almost never happened. Downey Jr. didn't initially want to say Tony Stark's last major line.

Though Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo lifted the ban on spoilers for the film earlier this week, we're offering one last warning to those who haven't yet seen it before we start getting into all the juicy details.

Chatting during a recent appearance on CinemaBlend's ReelBlend podcast, the Russo brothers opened up about Tony's concluding scene in Avengers: Endgame, which saw the hero equip his own suit with the Infinity Stones, snap his fingers, and turn Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his hellions into space dust. Just before Tony mirrored Thanos' Decimation from Infinity War, the Mad Titan was convinced that he had the upper-hand and declared, "I am inevitable." In a bold and badass move, Tony flashed his hand to show Thanos that he had the Infinity Stones, then fired back, "I am Iron Man" — a nod to his admission at the end of 2008's Iron Man

The Snap took a fatal toll on Tony's body, and he died shortly thereafter. Though he did speak a few more words before passing away (and later delivered a heartwarming message via a hologram video he recorded before his death), Tony's last big line was the assertion of his heroism — and moviegoers can attest to the truth that those four words left fans cheering in their theater seats. 

But, as Joe and Anthony Russo explained, Tony originally didn't say those words. He didn't say anything in that moment, in fact, and an early cut of the film had Tony snap his fingers without a single word. It wasn't until Avengers: Endgame editor Jeff Ford pitched the idea of having Tony say "I am Iron Man" that the Russos knew they had to gather up the appropriate forces and reshoot the scene with the now-iconic dialogue in it. However, Downey Jr. was hesitant about the idea at first, and it took some convincing to get him to agree to a reshoot. 

Joe Russo shared, "It's an interesting story. I had dinner with [Robert Downey Jr.] like two weeks before we were supposed to shoot it. And he was like, 'I don't know. I don't really want to go back and get into that emotional state. It'll take... it's hard.' And crazily enough, Joel Silver, the producer, was at the dinner. He's an old buddy of Robert's. And Joel jumps in and he's like, 'Robert, what are you talking about? That's the greatest line I've ever heard! You gotta say this line! You have to do this!' So thank God that Joel Silver was at dinner, because he helped us talk Robert into doing that line."

Anthony Russo then chimed in, confirming that the "I am Iron Man" line didn't pop up until Avengers: Endgame was in post production. "Originally when he snapped, he didn't say, 'I am Iron Man,'" he said. Added Joe, "We were sitting on our editorial, and we were reworking that sequence, and Thanos says 'I am inevitable.' And we were like, 'We need a response to that. What is the response to that?' And our editor said, 'What about I am Iron Man?' And we were like, 'That's it!'"

Once Downey Jr. was on board, the crew headed back to the studio to re-film the scene. Not only did the newly added Endgame line serve as a nod to the start of the MCU, but the actual reshoot process also served as a callback to Downey Jr.'s beginnings as Iron Man within the franchise. As Anthony Russo detailed, "We did that shot at a studio in Los Angeles called Raleigh Studios. And the stage that we shot that shot on was adjacent to the stage where Robert Downey Jr. screen tested for Iron Man."

If that doesn't give you chills, we don't know what will. 

Downey Jr. may have been initially wary to step back into character for the powerful scene after principal photography on Endgame had already wrapped, but we're glad he ultimately saw the poignancy in it. The line he gave wound up being one of the most memorable and impactful ones of the entire film, and many would agree that Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of the last 11 years of the MCU, just wouldn't be the same without Tony Stark going out with a bang and a biting remark.