Comic-Con is old hat for Robert Downey Jr., who returned to San Diego this year to show off next year's Iron Man 3. He was joined by director Shane Black, costar Don Cheadle, and Marvel producer Kevin Feige for a press conference ahead of the film's panel. Coming off the big success of The Avengers, it's no surprise that the guys fielded a lot of questions about how Tony Stark's newest adventure will affect his fellow superheroes. They also hinted at what's in store for Cheadle's character, Rhodey, and the romance between Tony and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow).
On how the story will be affected by the Avengers:
Robert Downey Jr.: I think Avengers surprised us to a certain extent. Looking back on it, you can kind of dissect why it was the right movie with the right people, with the right director, at the right time, and we feel the same way about this now. I feel that Rhodey and Tony had not entirely been explored as much as they might be, and that in the comics was always a big part of him, and to me, some heart of what was great about it. We try to be practical in a post-Avengers world: what are his challenges now and what are some of the limitations that might be placed on him and what sort of threat would have him, as usual, ignore those limitations?
Kevin Feige: "This is a very Tony Stark-centric film, meaning not just Tony, but his world with Pepper, with Rhodey. The grand plan with Iron Man 3 is to prove they are just as interesting, if not more so, by themselves as they were when they were all together in The Avengers. So Iron Man 3, by design, is a very serious character study. It's not a serious movie, but seriously dug into exploring more of Tony, of Rhodey, of Pepper, without calling S.H.I.E.L.D. and calling Thor, or 'I think Cap should be here in five minutes,' or any of that fun."
Shane Black: "The remarkable thing that Jon Favreau managed to do is he established a precedent of espionage, high-tech, Top Gun-style thrills coupled with romantic comedy in a strange way, and it's always sort of been the mainstay of these movies. That's part of my favorite thing about it, too. The romance is definitely a part of this, and obviously we've got Gwyneth coming back, and time has passed. In The Avengers, Gwyneth and Tony are together, doing great, and living together."
RDJ: "Kevin said there's never been a movie like this, where your lead guy is in a relationship a the girl he's coming home to every night, who's kind of like Gwyneth Paltrow, telling him what to do. However, Rhodes is single!"
Don Cheadle: "Is this a dating service?"
On playing a hero:
RDJ: "I think I speak for any of us who get to live in this world — there's something about it that you just go, 'Wow, what a great opportunity.' It's an odd thing. I take it as seriously as Shakespeare."
To see what the panel had to say about War Machine and exploring Tony's dark side, just read more