Iron Man still stands as one of the crowning achievements of the MCU, introducing us all to Robert Downey Jr’s pitch-perfect portrayal of the arrogant tech billionaire Tony Stark. It also gave us Jeff Bridges on villain duties as the bald business betrayer Obadiah Stane, but that look could’ve been very different.
In fact, Bridges’ shaven-headed look in the MCU only came about as part of a joke gone wrong. While the star was preparing to play one of the first Marvel villains in the new franchise, he shared some ideas for potential looks with his long-term stunt double Loyd Catlett. Naturally, MCU characters go through lots of different styles before anybody gets near the set of the upcoming Marvel movies, but Catlett jumped the gun.
He told The Hollywood Reporter: “I was up at my cabin in Idaho and Jeff sends me an email with a picture of himself with a bald head and a beard. I’d never been bald before, but right away I had my hair shaved off, took a picture and sent it to Jeff.”
Almost immediately, Catlett said he got a phone call from Bridges, who was horrified that his double had taken such drastic action so quickly. But of course, that bald look for Obadiah – which matches the comics – ended up in Iron Man.
Catlett said: “He calls right up and says: ‘Shit, Loyd! That was a bald cap. We were just experimenting with looks. I was just joking with you’. I guess Jeff felt bad, because he ended up shaving his head for the movie.”
Bridges did a great job with his role in the Iron Man cast, though Marvel clearly hadn’t cracked their villain formula yet. The first few years of the MCU gave us some very forgettable villains—name Christopher Eccleston’s dark elf without Googling it, I dare you—and Obadiah sadly fell among them.
But none of that is down to Bridges, who rocked the bald-headed look to great effect. Obadiah might not go down among the best movie villains, but it was a joy to see Bridges strut his stuff in a film that still stands among the best movies in the MCU, even 15 years on.
As for the future, we’re deep into Marvel’s Phase 5 and staring down the barrel of a packed Marvel Phase 6 as well. So we’ll boil it down to just the first of the new movies coming up and tell you all about Deadpool 3.
But if you want to dig deeper before the next time you rewatch the Marvel movies in order, find out why Tony Stark is staying dead in the MCU even after Loki. And finally, read about why the MCU needs to learn that killing characters isn’t everything.