Jon Favreau Reveals Road to The Avengers Started as "Just a Joke" in Iron Man
06.16.11 by BJSprecher
Marvel Studios is currently in production in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on its most ambitious comic book movie to date, The Avengers, which brings together the heroes, villains, and artifacts from the rest of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Captain America: The First Avenger, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor — in one titanic movie.
Threads of The Avengers have been popping up in all of Marvel's movies going back to a just-glimpsed shot of Captain America's shield lying on the table in Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.) lab in Iron Man right up to the last appearance of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in an end-of-credits scene in Thor that links the movie to Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers, with countless more in between. It might all seem like a carefully orchestrated grand scheme set up by Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige — and it most assuredly is now — but following the screening of Iron Man at the recent Hero Complex Film Festival, director Jon Favreau revealed that all of the little "clues" in the movie were really "just a joke" at the time, with no expectation that they would be anything more than fun "easter eggs" for die-hard comic book fans.
All of the stuff we did in Iron Man, in the first Iron Man film, was so seat-of-the-pants and, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we did this?" And "Should we do a tag scene after the credits?" "Yeah, what should it be?" "Oh, you know what, we should get Nick Fury." "If we could get Sam Jackson..." Just as an easter egg, 'cause he was the one they based The Ultimates Nick Fury on. And we contacted him and he was willing to do it. We were just putting together, "What's it going to be?" And the whole Avengers thing — the shield, you know, Captain America's shield that has become so important — was just a joke from one of the ILM artists. He snuck it in ... and I was like, "Leave it in, leave it in." And, next thing you know, everyone is pointing to it as like, "What did that mean?" ... Of course, by the second film, it became, you know all about... it became a big part of the agenda to set up The Avengers. All of this stuff when we first did it was just like, we were honestly tickling ourselves because we didn't know if anybody would care and now it's turned into this whole self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Avengers was written and is currently being directed by Joss Whedon (TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel). In addition to Downey Jr. and Jackson, the cast includes Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. It is slated to be released May 4, 2012.