Iron Man cast and characters — where are they now?

From Robert Downey Jr to Jon Favreau, here's the complete Iron Man cast list, looking back on the Marvel movie stars and their work in the MCU and beyond.

Iron Man cast, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr., and Don Cheadle

Where is the Iron Man cast now? Every success story starts somewhere, and for the MCU, it was 2008’s Iron Man. The first of Marvel’s Phase One, Iron Man grossed over $585 million, received two Academy Award nominations, and introduced the world to some of the most beloved characters.

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 the best TV series around, 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 MCU character‘s 2008 solo film still holds a special place in many fans’ hearts (Editor: it’s definitely one of the best movies in the MCU canon). So, here’s all the info on the OG Iron Man cast, explaining where they are now and what they have planned for the future.

The main Iron Man cast list:

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
  • Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts
  • Don Cheadle as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes
  • Jon Favreau as Harold ‘Happy’ Hogan
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
  • Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S.

Iron Man cast

Iron Man cast: Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark

Robert Downey Jr. played the titular hero in the 2000s movie. Going by Tony Stark — the brilliant playboy billionaire — by day and the armored superhero by night, Downey would steal hearts as the MCU character for years.

Fans would see Downey Jr. become a regular fixture in the MCU following Iron Man, returning for two sequel Iron Man movies, and 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 for each flick until he exited the franchise after his death in Endgame (I’m not crying, you are).

Following his exit from the MCU in recent years, Downey Jr. has been keeping busy. He appeared in Christopher Nolan‘s movie about the father of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer. The actor is also scheduled to return as the world’s greatest detective as the Sherlock Holmes 3 release date creeps closer.

Iron Man cast: Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane

Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane

Jeff Bridges had the pleasure of playing the villainous 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 needs no 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: True Grit. Since Obadiah Stane, unfortunately, met his end in Iron Man, Bridges hasn’t reprised the character or returned to the MCU.

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 one of 2022’s best TV series, The Old Man, as Dan Chase.

Iron Man cast: Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia ‘Pepper’ Potts

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.

Like Tony, Paltrow’s Pepper 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.

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.

Iron Man cast: Don Cheadle as James Rhodes

Don Cheadle as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes

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 not to 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. Howard and Marvel had some contract disputes, which ultimately led to his character being recast.

After his first appearance in Iron Man 2, Cheadle became a Marvel mainstay, taking part in Infinity War, Endgame, and the Disney Plus shows The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and What If …?. Cheadle will also be back for the future Armor Wars release date.

Iron Man cast: Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

Jon Favreau as Harold ‘Happy’ Hogan

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.

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.

Iron Man cast: Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

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.

In regard to his future projects, Jackson is still in the MCU and most recently got the spotlight in Secret Invasion. He will also appear further in Marvel Phase 5 with The Marvels. Outside of the MCU, he is set to voice a character in the new Garfield animated movie. For more on the Skrull series, find out when does Secret Invasion take place.

Iron Man cast: Paul Bettany as JARVIS/Vision

Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S.

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 and 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.

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.

Iron Man cast: Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson

A high-ranking member of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (They haven’t thought of a good acronym yet), Coulson was given the difficult job of debriefing Tony Stark on his captivity in Afghanistan. It goes as well as you’d think.

Clark Gregg’s probably best known for playing Coulson and has appeared in several other MCU projects, including Agents of SHIELD, but this wasn’t the actor’s first time playing a member of an alphabet agency. Gregg played FBI Special Agent Mike Casper on The West Wing, and he has an impressive list of film credits, including One Hour Photo, 500 Days of Summer, Much Ado About Nothing, Moxie, and more.

YouTube Thumbnail

The full Iron Man cast list:

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man:
  • Terrence Howard as James “Rhodey” Rhodes:
  • Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane:
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia “Pepper” Potts
  • Faran Tahir as Raza
  • Paul Bettany as J.A.R.V.I.S.
  • Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
  • Stan Lee as himself
  • Peter Billingsley as William Ginter Riva
  • Tom Morello as a terrorist guard
  • Jim Cramer as himself
YouTube Thumbnail

Iron Man 2 cast

Iron Man cast: Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer

Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer

An industrialist with an ego so big it makes Tony Stark look modest, Justin Hammer was desperate to build his own Iron Man suit and made a deal with the devil (Or Ivan Vanko) to get one. Unfortunately, just like his dodgy tech, it all blew up in his face.

A graduate of the Professional Actor Training Program at the William Esper Studio, Sam Rockwell got his start in the 1989 horror movie Clownhouse (Technically, he was in an ’88 episode of The Equalizer, but that doesn’t count), but it was the Tom DiCillo’s 1996 film Box of Moonlight that put him on the map.

Since then, Rockwell’s gone on to work alongside Tom Hanks in The Green Mile and star in critical darlings like Frost/Nixon, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Vice, Jojo Rabbit (2019), and Richard Jewell. You can see him next in Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle.

For more Marvel content and a look at all the new movies on the way, here is our guide to all the upcoming Marvel movies, as well as our exhaustive article explaining how to watch all the Marvel movies in order.

Still not satisfied? Well, we’ve also done a deep dive into the Secret Wars release date, how to watch all the Iron Man movies in order, and the best superhero movies of all time.