Former Marvel Studios Boss Exposes Board's Doubtful Reaction to Casting 'Addict' Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man Instead of Timothy Olyphant
2023/12/28

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Many Marvel fans may not be familiar with the name David Maisel, but according to the entertainment executive himself, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) would not exist without him. In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Maisel, the former president of Marvel Studios, expressed his frustration with being overshadowed by Kevin Feige, the current president of the company who is often credited with Marvel's success. 

In the summer of 2003, he was an agent at Endeavor when the idea struck him. Excited by this concept, Maisel flew to Florida to meet with Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter, the then-CEO of Marvel Entertainment.

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Perlmutter was so impressed by Maisel's universe pitch that he made him the president of Marvel Studios. Maisel successfully secured a whopping $525 million in financing through Merrill Lynch and thus began the construction of the MCU.

The journey commenced in 2008 with the release of "Iron Man." It was then that Maisel conducted a focus group of children to determine which Marvel toy they were most interested in. To his delight, Iron Man emerged as the clear favorite. Despite Downey Jr.'s undeniable talent, Marvel's board was concerned about his troubled past, which included drug addiction and legal issues.

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Maisel stood his ground, assuring the board that Downey Jr. was the perfect choice and that he had confidence in the actor's ability to stay clean. Ultimately, Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark in "Iron Man" proved to be a critical and box office success, cementing the foundation for Maisel's dream of a Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Maisel's contributions to Marvel did not end with the launch of the MCU. He went on to arrange the monumental $4 billion sale of Marvel to Disney. However, after the deal was finalized, he resigned as president, making way for Kevin Feige to take over and become the face of the MCU. 

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