How John Stamos Wanted To Pay Tribute To Robert Downey Jr. As He Took On The Iron Man Mantle

Iron Man was the character who started it all when it came to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that is likely to make anybody picking up that mantle, even in a totally different way, think twice. Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man has become absolutely iconic, which is probably why John Stamos, who recently met up with Iron Man at Disneyland, wanted to do something similar for his own performance, until the directors told him he didn’t need to.

John Stamos will voice Iron Man in new episodes of the children's TV show Spidey and his Amazing Friends. Stamos told ScreenRant that he came in thinking he’d play the character similar to Downey, because there are some similarities between the cartoon Iron Man’s relationship to Spider-Man in the series and the relationship Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he ended up finding his own way to play the part. Stamos explained…

I kind of came in thinking, ‘I’ll do something like Robert.’ And they’re like, ‘Don’t do that. Don’t do that.’ It was interesting, because they’re all kids! I’m coming in as a mentor, for sure, but also kind of the adult character. So, it took me a minute, but I think I found my version. I wanted him to be acerbic like he is; I wanted him to be the smartest guy in the room. And we get that across.

Spidey and his Amazing Friends is an animated series on Disney Junior and Disney+ that sees Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, and Miles Morales as a team of three Spideys who fight the likes of Green Goblin, Rhino, and Doc Ock. The first season saw the Spideys get occasional help from the likes of Hulk, Black Panther, and Ms. Marvel, but new episodes will include other Marvel names, including John Stamos, who will also be appearing on Disney+ in Season 2 of Big Shots in the future, as Iron Man.

What sets the show apart, however, is that because it is geared towards small children as young as pre-school, the three Spideys, as well as most of the other hero and villain characters, are portrayed as children, not teenagers or adults. That will apparently not be the case with Iron Man, who will be played as the literal adult in the room, a sort of mentor to the Spidey Team. 

John Stamos credits the voice director and the people behind the scenes in helping him find his version of Iron Man. Certainly, a version of Iron Man for a children’s TV show is going to be different than the one we know from the movies, but figuring out the right way to do that, but still be Iron Man, can be potentially tricky. Stamos continues…

They have these voice directors that are so great, like Kelly Ward. I said, ‘Kelly, what are we doing? It doesn’t feel like Iron Man.’ But he said, ‘This is you. This is your Iron Man. You don’t have to do a lot, because it’s in the character and in the legacy.’ And I wanted to be respectful, for sure. I asked the Marvel guys there, ‘Am I in the right world?’ and they said, ‘Yeah, it’s perfect for this. It’s a different version.’

What the future may hold for Iron Man on the big screen is anybody’s guess, though we will see a spiritual successor soon when Ironheart makes her MCU debut. But we can expect John Stamos won’t be the last actor influenced by Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.