Where is the Iron Man cast now? Every success story starts somewhere, and for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its jumping-off point was the 2008 movie, Iron Man. The first film of Marvel’s Phase One, Iron Man grossed over $585 million at the global box office, received two Academy Award nominations, and introduced the world to some of the most beloved characters in the superhero movie franchise.
Directed by Jon Favreau, many of the actors who appeared in Iron Man have gone on to have thriving careers. From becoming some of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood to working on award-winning flicks, and appearing on hit TV series, it is safe to say that the cast of Iron Man – much like the MCU itself – has been pretty much unstoppable since Tony Stark’s first big outing.
Although Iron Man met his end in the Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame, the character’s 2008 solo film still holds a special place in many fans’ hearts. And with Disney Plus‘s upcoming series about Tony’s spiritual successor – Ironheart – on its way, you may be looking to revisit the flick that began it all. Well, The Digital Fix has got you covered. Here is all the info on the OG Iron Man cast, explaining where they are now and what they have planned for the future.
Who is in the Iron Man Cast?
- Robert Downey Jr – Tony Stark
- Gwyneth Paltrow – Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts
- Don Cheadle – James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes
- Jeff Bridges – Obadiah Stane
- Paul Bettany – J.A.R.V.I.S.
- Jon Favreau – Harold ‘Happy’ Hogan
- Samuel L Jackson – Nick Fury
Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr played none other than the titular hero in the 2000s movie. Going by Tony Stark — the brilliant playboy billionaire — by day and the armoured superhero by night, Downey would steal hearts as the MCU character for years.
Fans would see Downey become a regular fixture in the MCU following Iron Man, returning for the franchise’s two sequel films, and appearing in the Avengers movies alongside the likes of Chris Evan’s Captain America. The actor was at one point even the highest-paid star in Marvel’s roster, earning millions in revenue for each flick until he exited the franchise after his death in Endgame (I’m not crying, you are).
In recent years, following his exit from the MCU, Downey Jr has been keeping busy. Currently, he is set to appear in Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming drama movie about the father of the atomic bomb – Oppenheimer. The actor is also scheduled to return as the world’s greatest detective in Sherlock Holmes 3.
You know the saying, behind every great man, is a woman pulling the strings. And in the case of the smart but irresponsible Tony Stark, let’s be honest, he’d be pretty much lost without his personal assistant Pepper Potts – played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
The best of the Multi-verse: Marvel movies ranked
Like Tony, Paltrow’s Pepper Potts was a central figure in Iron Man, meaning that the actor would go on to reprise the character for all of the 2008 film’s sequels and the Avengers movies too. Pepper wasn’t just Tony’s confidant but also proved to be an important significant other throughout her time in the MCU.
Besides Marvel, Paltrow has had a thriving acting career earning multiple accolades such as an Academy Award for her work in the romance movie Shakespeare in Love. However, after Endgame and appearing on the TV series The Politician, Paltrow is on an acting hiatus and is focusing on her ‘lifestyle brand’ Goop.
We know what you’re thinking. Yes, Don Cheadle technically wasn’t cast in the first Iron Man movie. But considering how he is now synonymous with the role of James Rhodes, we figured it would just be downright silly to not include him on our list.
Originally the part of Rhodes, Tony’s friend and future avenger, was first played by Terrence Howard in Iron Man. According to Entertainment Weekly, Howard and Marvel had some contract disputes, which ultimately led to his character being recast and taken over by Don Cheadle – who is still playing the role to this day.
After his first appearance in Iron Man 2, fans have seen Cheadle in a number of Marvel projects, including the Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and What If …?.
Small screen fun: MCU series ranked
The star will also be back as James (aka War Machine) again in the future Armor Wars movie. So yeah, unlike Downey and Paltrow, Cheadle is still firmly on the MCU train with plenty of appearances lined up!
Jeff Bridges was the first main Marvel villain, named Obadiah Stane, in the first Iron Man movie. Obadiah was a family friend to the Starks, who, in a stunning act of betrayal, turns on Tony in a bid to take over Stark Industries. Bridges is a man that hardly needs any introduction, thanks to the 90-plus acting credits behind him.
The actor has starred in a number of acclaimed films over the years, including the likes of Seabiscuit, Crazy Heart, and one of the best westerns in recent years – True Grit. Since Obadiah Stane, unfortunately, met his very final end in Iron Man, Bridges hasn’t reprised the character or returned to the MCU (I know, we are devastated too).
Explosions! Best action movies
In 2020, Bridges revealed that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, but thankfully, the actor is now in remission. Since his announcement, Bridges has been healthy enough to get back into the acting seat – and appeared in the 2022 TV series The Old man as Dan Chase.
The only character who is perhaps as iconic as Iron Man himself in the 2008 flick, is the AI J.A.R.V.I.S. Paul Bettany, who voices the robotic butler designed by Tony Stark, has saved the superhero’s life on many an occasion.
Bettany would voice the part of J.A.R.V.I.S. for all of the Iron Man sequels, until Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he would then go on to play the part of Vision. As Vision, Bettany has shown up physically in three films and was one of the leads in the acclaimed Marvel series WandaVision.
As many Marvel fans already know, after getting their hearts broken at the end of WandaVision, Bettany will return with the Vision Quest release date.
AI’s have feelings, too: Best robot movies
The star has some exciting projects outside of Disney coming up. Cinephiles can look forward to seeing the actor again in the film, The Collaboration, where Bettany is set to portray the legendary artist Andy Warhol.
Besides directing Iron Man, Favreau also appeared in it as Tony Stark’s close friend and the head of security at Stark Industries, Harold ‘Happy’ Hogan.
Happy has a pretty successful run in the MCU, appearing in all of the Iron Man sequels, surviving Endgame, and even jumping to another vertical — Spider-Man. That’s right, on top of Iron Man, the star has appeared in all three outings of Tom Holland as the web-slinger. But besides acting, Favreau has an amazing career behind the camera.
Peter Parker is coming for you! Spider-Man villains ranked
Recently, along with his few appearances in Marvel movies such as No Way Home, Favreau has been focusing on his work as a filmmaker. He produced the hit sci-fi series The Mandalorian, the Book of Boba Fett, and is now set to be helming the upcoming Disney movie Jungle Book 2.
Samuel L. Jackson
Yes, it is only a cameo appearance, but I mean, come on, we couldn’t not talk about the first time the world was introduced to Samuel L Jackson‘s Nick Fury, now could we? As mentioned above, we first meet Fury in the post-credit scene of Iron Man, when the agent seeks out Tony Stark to discuss what he calls “the Avengers Initiative.”
Jackson is one of the most hardworking actors of our generation, sporting an incredibly impressive 201 credits behind his name. Some of his notable films include Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, and Oldboy.
Decades gone by: The best ’90s movies
In regard to his future projects, Jackson is still in the MCU and will appear in the upcoming series Secret Invasion and in action movie The Marvels. Outside of the MCU, the star is set to voice a character in the new Garfield animated movie.
For more Marvel content and a look at all the new movies on the way, here is our guide to Marvel’s Phase 5. Still not satisfied? Well, we’ve also done a deep dive into the Ant-Man cast and The Marvels release date.