Robert Downey Jr. made his final Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance in Avengers: Endgame, but he very nearly looked a lot worse while doing it.
One of the VFX supervisors behind the highest-grossing movie ever made has revealed that the effect of the Infinity Gauntlet upon Tony Stark could have been far more gruesome than in the finished film.
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The movie sees Iron Man sacrifice himself to save the universe, putting on the Infinity Gauntlet and snapping his fingers, causing Thanos and his army to fade to dust.
The impact of wielding that power proves impossible for Stark to bear and he dies from his injuries, but that damage could have been far more visible.
“We gave the filmmakers a full range [of looks] to choose from and one of those was where the energy from the stones had acted right up into his face and popped one of his eyeballs out and it was hanging out on his cheek," Weta digital VFX supervisor Matt Aitken told Insider.
Aitken quipped that Disney “didn’t go for” that particular design, which has echoes of the DC Comics villain Two-Face, depicted on screen most recently by Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight.
Marvel VFX producer Jen Underdahl added that there was a version even more akin to Eckhart’s Batman villain, which also unsurprisingly didn’t make the cut.
She added: “We did do a Two-Face version where you got inside and you saw the sinews and you saw them in the teeth and that.
“It takes you away from this really powerful moment. You don't want to be focusing on that or grossed out.”
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Underdahl said they put together multiple designs ranging “from grisly to not so grisly” in order to allow the filmmakers to find the sweet spot.
The scene marked Downey Jr’s poignant farewell, after playing a pivotal role in the MCU dating back to 2008’s Iron Man.
He said it was time to “get off the bus” for both him and Chris Evans, who bid farewell to the role of Captain America in the final act of Endgame.
Downey Jr. will appear next in the title role of family adventure Dolittle, based on Hugh Lofting’s series of children’s books published in the 20th century.
The role has previously been played on the big screen by Rex Harrison in 1967 and Eddie Murphy in both 1998 and 2001.
It’s fair to say the new film has been somewhat dogged by delays and production troubles, but the main thing people want to point out is the star’s unusual accent.