Tony Stark is Iron Man. Comic book fans have known this since the character made his debut in 1963, but at the close of last year's blockbuster movie, the hero's secret identity became public knowledge in the film's fictional universe, too. So, where do you go from there?
"Now, the exciting action of the sequel is asking: 'What does that really mean, to a real person in a real world?' And then we heighten it for our superhero reality," director Jon Favreau said of the first flick's final scene.
During our tour of the "Iron Man 2" set, we visited Stark's "garage" filled with interactive virtual computing environments -- and a Shepard Fairey-style Iron Man poster on the wall. The sequel to last year's hit film finds Stark living an even more outrageous life, juggling the responsibilities of being both a businessman and superhero in the public eye.
“Essentially it’s an inner game, rather than it is about who the nemesis or nemeses are,” explained Downey. “But obviously Mickey [Rourke] figures into that, and there’s other challenges as well.”
Among those challenges is a new source of power hinted at in a message from his deceased father, Howard (John Slattery).
“Essentially, there’s a whole energy crisis thing -- and he’s having his own energy crisis of sorts,” laughed Downey. “ [His suit] was always powered by a spectacular energetic source, but it’s not a Duracell, it’s more of a Rayovac. And so, there’s this crisis of energy and this legacy of his dad and these Expos [of Howard’s] occurring every decade or so. [The Stark Expo] is a bit of a grail, the grail of the movie.”
“Yeah, [his father had] technical innovations that take everything that he’s involved with to the next level,” added Favreau. “Because it’s still a flaw in the technology that he’s working on, and [Tony’s work] is still a life-support system of sorts.”
Along with all the energy concerns, Stark will also have to contend with storylines stemming from his growing cast of supporting characters, including Whiplash (Rourke), Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle).
“We’re trying to maintain the tone that we’ve grown comfortable with...We’ve never missed an opportunity at all those tension releases, which were not written into to the first film," said Favreau. "The robots, the crashing into the desert after the escape, the joke at the press conference after the plane shot down -- those are all [comedic] opportunities we find, and we don’t pass them up."
“Because that’s the way we roll," laughed Favreau.
For more on our "Iron Man 2" set visit, head over to Movies.MTV.com.