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  • Actor-Inspired Element: The dance Sam Rockwell does before presenting the drones at the Expo is improvised and something he does to help him get into character.
  • Actor-Shared Background: The U.S. Marshal in the beginning who serves Tony his subpoena says she's from Bedford, New York, just like her actress Kate Mara.
  • Ascended Fanon: Ever since the Marvel-Sony deal was announced back in 2015, people had speculated that the masked little boy at the Stark Expo was actually a young Peter Parker. Shortly before the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tom Holland, Kevin Feige, and Jon Watts all confirmed that this was an actual revision.
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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Sam Rockwell signed on without having read the script, as he enjoyed working with Jon Favreau on Made.
  • Banned in China: Curiously, every instance of the word "Russian" was made inaudible in the China version. No explanation was given for why, although theories abound in the comments ranging from China thinking viewers would be distressed by a Russian villain, trying lend a courtesy to their longtime ally (intermittent) nation, or instead trying to distance themselves from Russia by obscuring all mention of it.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: A ridiculous number of reviews refer to Scarlett Johansson's character as "Natalie Rushman," the false identity Natasha Romanoff uses when she first appears in the film. Understandable if the reviewer is attempting to avoid spoiling the character's true identity (though neither the movie's advertising campaign nor the movie itself are particularly subtle about it) but clueless in reviews that go on to identify her as the Black Widow. Moviefone calling her "Natasha Rushman" didn't help.
  • Creator Backlash
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    • Mickey Rourke wanted to play Vanko as a complete human being, but says Marvel didn't want an Anti-Villain and thus cut his sympathetic scenes. Rourke wasn't happy with the result, and has proceeded to spew vitriol at Marvel, the director, and even the other actors in every interview he gave since.
    • Jon Favreau hated what the Marvel higher-ups forced him into pushing out so much he made a whole film as an analogy of his creative struggle.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • In an alternate opening, Tony Stark vomits uncontrollably due to his Palladium poisoning. He tries to get out of doing the air jump for the opening of the Stark Expo, but Pepper Potts convinces him. She kisses his helmet and throws it out of the plane.
    • During Justin Hammer's testimony at the Senate committee, Pepper sees Phil Coulson in attendance and speaks with him.
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    • After the Senate committee, Stark and James Rhodes argue about Rhodes' appearance before the panel. Stark and Pepper argue about his birthday plans.
    • Stark and Pepper argue in his workshop.
    • At Stark's birthday party, Stark holds Natasha close as he shows her how to fire a repulsor beam from his armored glove.
    • Rhodey tries to get a drunk Stark to stop showing off his suit during his birthday party. Meanwhile, Rebeca ("with one c.") hovers above Stark with the repulsors.
    • Rhodey shows the Mark II armor to soldiers, one of whom gets electrocuted when he touches it.
    • Stark's analysis of the 1974 Stark Expo Model is extended.
    • Stark uses a holographic readout of the periodic table to test various elements to cure his poisoning and power his suit.
    • An alternate final battle in which Ivan Vanko holds Pepper Potts hostage.
  • Disowned Adaptation: In an interview, Bob Layton made it clear he despises what the film did to Justin Hammer, viewing the film version's Adaptational Comic Relief as a black mark on the character.
  • Doing It for the Art: Mickey Rourke improvised a lot of Vanko's characteristics, such as his toothpick habit, his fondness for cockatoos, and his tattoos. He paid for the cockatoo with his own money, learned to speak Russian, and visited the infamous Butyrka prison to interview the prisoners there, who he described as very polite.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Jon Favreau had a lot of friction with the Marvel higher-ups due to their constant intervention, to the point that they were having him rewrite the script as the film was still shooting. In particular, elements such as the increased prominence of the S.H.I.E.L.D subplot were the result of a need to establish the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe in preparation for The Avengers, at the expense of the coherence of the main Iron Man 2 plot. These disputes got so bad that Favreau turned down directing Iron Man 3.
    • Word of God says the original script delved deeper into Tony's alcoholism, a la the infamous "Demon in a Bottle" arc, but was left out due to studio interference.
    • Terrence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle due to a number of disagreements between the studio and Howard's agents.
    • Scenes that fleshed out Ivan Vanko and portrayed him as a more sympathetic figure were cut from the final film, resulting in him appearing to be a more generic villain. This may a reason why Rourke has stated he is not fond of his experience working on the film.
  • Fake Nationality: Most of the French spoken in the film is grammatically accurate but noticeably spoken by either French Canadian or non-Francophone actors playing characters from either Monaco or the south-east of France (with the exception of the corrupt prison guard who delivers Vanko to Hammer and says "I'm not leaving him with you, he's batshit").
  • Fan Nickname:
    • "Dynalash" for Ivan Vanko, due to being a composite of the Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash.
    • A beam superweapon that spins around and destroys everything nearby? The only name for that is "Death Blossom".
    • "Iron Man Lite" for the Mark V suitcase armor.
    • Tony gives an in-universe example, referring to the drones as "Hammer 'roids"
  • First Appearance: Of Black Widow.
  • In Memoriam: Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM, who played himself as the DJ at Tony's birthday party, passed away from a drug overdose on Aug. 28, 2009, a little more than eight months before the film's release.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Not being tech literate, Mickey Rourke found the most challenging part about playing Whiplash was pretending to know his way around a computer.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Several. Most notably, Tony saying "you complete me" as Pepper kisses his helmet then throws it out an airborne plane for him to catch—it was decided during editing that it disrupted the movie's flow—and Tony letting "Natalie" try out his repulsor. (All can be seen on the DVD)
  • Old Shame: Mickey Rourke was NOT a fan of how Whiplash was portrayed in the film's final cut. Rourke couldn't live down the changes Marvel management that existed at the time forced on the film, believing that they robbed the character of a three-demmensional personality that would've prevented the film from suffering the same fate as other Phase One films in the MCU with their own under-developed villians.
  • Orphaned Reference: The Viral Marketing included a fake commercial for the Stark-Fujikawa subsidiary, which made little sense in the overall context of the film. This is because the character Rumiko Fujikawa (a Japanese businesswoman and one of Tony's love interests from the comics) was supposed to appear in the film, but was cut when the script was rewritten.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • James Rhodes was played by Terrence Howard in the first Iron Man movie. Here, he's played by Don Cheadle. His first scene is framed in such a way that his face isn't visible until after Tony greets him, so that the audience is clear on who he is. As an added bonus, Cheadle and Robert Downey Jr. are the same height, meaning that the production team wouldn't have to deal with nitpicking over how Rhodey would have fit into the Iron Man suit if he was still played by Howard (who's significantly taller than Downey).
      Tony: I didn't expect to see you here.
      Rhodes: It's me, I'm here, deal with it, let's move on. Drop it.
    • In the first Iron Man, Howard Stark (as seen in a photo) is played by Gerard Sanders. From this film onwards, the role of (the older) Howard Stark goes to John Slattery (as opposed to Dominic Cooper, who plays a younger Howard in The '40s).
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Sam Rockwell and Leslie Bibb are a couple in Real Life. Her presence in this film is a bit of an ironic coincidence. First Bibb was cast in the small but pivotal role of Christine Everhart in the original Iron Man, then she began dating Rockwell, then Rockwell was cast as Justin Hammer for this film, and when the producers found out he was dating the actress who played Christine in the first film, they brought back her character as Hammer's uninterested date.
    • Jon Favreau's son Max makes a cameo as the kid, later retconned as Peter Parker, at the Stark Expo who stands up to a Hammer drone.
  • Throw It In!: "Gimme a phat beat to beat my buddy's ass to." Robert Downey Jr.. is clearly cracking up after saying that, but it's perfectly in character as Tony is extremely drunk.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Emily Blunt was the first choice for Natasha Romanoff before Scarlett Johansson was cast, but turned down the offer in order to star in Gulliver's Travels (2010). While infamously considered to be a rather poor decision on her part, Blunt has said she doesn’t regret not getting the role and has praised Johansson’s performance.
    • Al Pacino was considered for the role of Justin Hammer before Sam Rockwell was cast.
    • Edward Norton was rumored to reprise his part as Bruce Banner, in a cameo for this film, as a foreshadowing of The Avengers.
    • Rumiko Fujikawa was initially going to appear, with Marvel reportedly wanting Zhang Ziyi for the role. Her part was cut due to the film already having too much going on, but Viral Marketing showcasing her Stark-Fujikawa subsidiary was still used to promote the movie.
    • According to rumors, the film was originally meant to be Darker and Edgier, and would've dealt with Tony's alcoholism and self-destructive behavior in a much more serious manner. However, Marvel's Creative Committee got upset about certain scenes (including one where a drunken Tony would've verbally abused Pepper), leading to this subplot being nixed.
    • An alternate ending was shot where Vanko is revealed to have survived his apparent self-destruction, only to be killed by War Machine. The studio went with the more ambiguous Never Found the Body exit because they wanted to make it possible for Vanko to return in future MCU movies. However, due to the great deal of Creator Backlash from Rourke, it's really unlikely we'll be seeing Vanko again anytime soon.
    • Ivan Vanko originally had a tattoo of Loki on his neck. The film's producers feared it would cause confused fans to believe that Vanko would have a connection to this other villain from the same Marvel Cinematic Universe, so the tattoo was removed in post-production using CGI.
    • There were plans for Paul Bettany to appear in a flashback scene that would have explained the origin of JARVIS. Presumably, he would have played the original Edwin Jarvis (a role that eventually went to James D'Arcy in Agent Carter).
  • Word of God: According to Jon Favreau, the Asian man who hands Vanko false papers in order to get to Monaco, is a member of the Ten Rings.
  • Word of Saint Paul: Shortly before the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, both Tom Holland and John Watts claimed Kevin Feige had told him the little kid who tries to assist Tony in the climax is Peter Parker. However, Feige was more ambiguous with his answer, making the confirmation this trope.

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