Tony Stark Iron Man

Everyone has his or her own idea for a great superhero movie these days, and many (actually, most) of them never even get made. Hollywood is full of "almost" and "what if?" stories, and even major heavy-hitters in the industry have failed to get certain projects off the ground. With that in mind, it turns out that the Arrow-verse's Greg Berlanti once pitched a very, very different version of Iron Man that ultimately never came to fruition. Berlanti explained:

I kept telling people in the industry that I loved comic books as a kid when Iron Man hadn't been made yet. I pitched on that. There was that movie with Nic Cage where he's a gunrunner. Lord of War. Marvel wanted that feeling. Tony [Stark] was an alcoholic in it by then. My pitch certainly wasn't as good as the eventual film. So everyone made the right choice. My agents at the time were like, 'You like comic books?' And so then I pitched Warner Bros. on Green Lantern.

While speaking with Vulture about the immense success of the Arrow-verse, Greg Berlanti opened up about his initial work in the world of superheroes, and a pitch for Iron Man that he brought to Marvel before Jon Favreau teamed-up with Robert Downey Jr. in 2008. Berlanti modeled his pitch for an Iron Man movie after the 2005 gunrunner drama, Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage, which has become something of a cult classic in recent years. Folks, I cannot even begin to describe how cool this could have been. Although Iron Man has become a consistent source of comedy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it sounds like Berlanti's version would have given us a far more jaded and cynical version of Tony Stark.

Berlanti did admit in this interview that he prefers the theatrical version of Iron Man, but a dark, alcoholic Tony Stark is something that audiences have actually wanted to see on the silver screen for quite some time. Even Iron Man 2 almost approached the iconic Demon in a Bottle storyline, but ultimately didn't go all in with its adaptation of the legendary narrative. Of course, it's still not too late to give it a try. An Iron Man 4 hasn't been announced just yet, but if Robert Downey Jr. does decide to come back for another, the film could potentially utilize flashbacks to showcase his darker days as a heartless, gun-running drinker.

Just take a look at Nic Cage's awesome Lord of War speech below. Now imagine Robert Downey Jr. delivering a similar performance:

That's basically just a much darker version of Tony Stark's Jericho missile speech from the original Iron Man. Greg Berlanti goes to point out that he had an opportunity to make his mark on the silver screen superhero landscape a few years later. After Marvel Studios went for the final version of Iron Man, Berlanti made his way over to Warner Bros. and pitched the 2011 Ryan Reynolds sci-fi romp Green Lantern. Sadly, we all know how that story ended.

What are your thoughts on this particular "what if?" story? Would you have liked to see Greg Berlanti version of Iron Man, or do you think what we got turned out even better? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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