How Star Wars Saved The Iron Man Movie & The Entire MCU

Jon Favreau definitely had his work cut out for him with “Iron Man.” After declaring bankruptcy in 1996, Marvel sold off the film rights to its most popular and profitable properties — including Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. So Marvel Studios had no choice but to turn to lesser-known heroes when crafting its cinematic universe. While Tony Stark had existed for decades on the pages of comic books, to the average moviegoer, he was an unknown quantity. And with Robert Downey Jr.’s famously troubled past, there was no telling how audiences would respond to him as a hero. Combined with the fact that the moment in “Iron Man” that shaped the future of the MCU was improvised, Favreau had cause to be nervous.

But those concerns were quickly and emphatically proven wrong, and the cinematic universe that Favreau planted the seeds for is now the highest-grossing franchise in box office history. A lot was riding on the success of “Iron Man,” and the director was seemingly keenly aware of this. Now that Favreau has gone on to create “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” for Disney+, however, it seems only appropriate that it was a “Star Wars” book that helped him in crafting the early MCU.

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