Benedict Cumberbatch reveals that Doctor Strange’s most scathing Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) insult in Avengers: Infinity War was improvised. Set-up by the events of Captain America: Civil War, the 2018 Marvel Studios blockbuster picked up two years following the Avengers’ break-up. This resulted in Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) attack and forced new hero team-ups including that of Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) as they traveled to Titan to confront the purple villain.
Due to its massive cast, director Joe and Anthony Russo had to section the heroes and their allies into smaller groups in Avengers: Infinity War. One of those teams included Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) who were all based in New York. But their team-up started on the wrong foot as Tony Stark and Stephen Strange didn’t miss to trade jabs against each other. And apparently, one of, if not the best insult Doctor Strange had launched against Iron Man (where he tells Tony that his job is “protecting your reality, douchebag”) wasn’t in the script.
As Cumberbatch promotes Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he also looks back on his stint in the MCU thus far. In a new interview with BBC Radio 1, he tells the story of how Doctor Strange’s Iron Man burn in Avengers: Infinity War was totally improvised and inspired by Downey and Holland riffing off of each other. Read his full comment below:
So basically, Tom had just come off the success of the first Spider-Man film of his and obviously he had scenes with Downey so they knew each other. They were very relaxed around each other so on the Q ship they were sort of riffing around aunt May and I was going ‘This is crazy. I’m working on one of the biggest budgets most special films of all time and these two actors are just being playful like making stuff up and it ends up in the movie. Let’s have some of that, let’s have some fun.’ But I remember doing it and the crew was sort of over the back of his shoulder obviously, and I just remember people literally kind of going ‘Oh!’ I went ‘oh shoot, what have I done something have I ever stepper my mark?’ and everyone else was like ‘That was sick. That was so cool. ‘Can you include that’ and the Russos says like ‘if we’re allowed to, we would definitely, definitely include that line.'”
Despite the initial conflict between the pair, Iron Man and Doctor Strange eventually found a way to work together. In fact, the sorcerer even willingly gave up the Time Stone to save the Avenger’s life, albeit it had something to do with learning that Tony Stark would be instrumental in defeating Thanos (Josh Brolin) five years later in Avengers: Endgame. Throughout it all, only Doctor Strange knew what the plan was going to be and he refused to divulge it until the very last minute, just before Tony decided to steal the Infinity Stones and snap the Titan out of existence. In the end, Iron Man gained Doctor Strange’s genuine respect after his heroic snap. Perhaps, it might even be one of the major reasons why Doctor Strange was adamant about helping Spider-Man in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Thanks to their similar personalities, seeing Doctor Strange and Iron Man working together in Avengers: Infinity War is arguably one of the best bits of the film. Unfortunately, with Iron Man now dead in the MCU, fans won’t be seeing more of them moving forward. Unless, of course, Marvel Studios decides to dip into the multiverse to bring back the genius, billionaire playboy. That may not happen anytime soon, but it’s nice to know that there’s an easy way to bring back Iron Man into the franchise.