Academy Award-winning actor Robert Downey Jr. is now synonymous with Tony Stark aka Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

He kicked off the films that got fans excited for the modern superhero genre, and he did it with the style and panache only he could bring to the role.

Tony Stark is just effortlessly cool, and Downey nailed a style and persona that epitomized the character. One choice he made when crafting Stark was more about convenience than style, but it ended up being essential to his look.

In a video interview with Vanity Fair (via /Film), the actor revealed that in Iron Man, during the presentation which Tony gave for potential Stark missile buyers, his speech was printed on cue cards, allowing him to give the scene an improvised feel.

However, in order to hide the fact that he was reading from said cue cards, Downey decided to give Tony a pair of sunglasses. It was a practical choice, but the sunglasses became a permanent part of Tony’s look in all the subsequent Iron Man sequels.

RDJ explained: “There’s a scene where he is doing a weapons test, and he says, ‘Is it better to be feared or respected? Is it too much to ask for both?’ And [director] Jon [Favreau] and I were literally writing that line for line as we went along shooting it that day.

“And I put on sunglasses because it was all on cue cards. […] It’s more important that we feel like we’re just coming up with this, and we like it, and there’s no trick we can’t employ to cover the fact that we’re kind of making it up as we go along.”

Tony’s sunglasses became a central plot point of the 2019 film Spider-Man: Far From Home. After Tony’s death in Avengers: Endgame, he left his shades to his protege Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

What Peter didn’t know is that the sunglasses were equipped with a high-tech artificial intelligence that allowed him to access a series of space bound assassination missiles that Tony had built. It seems Tony went back on his promise of disarmament.

Back in Iron Man, though, Tony’s sunglasses were just that, and it’s funny that they became such a plot device.

Jessica Fisher

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Robert Downey Jr. Added Sunglasses to Tony Stark’s Look in Order to Read Cue Cards in One Scene and They Just Stuck — GeekTyrant