Robert was the man who started it all in 2008 with his critically acclaimed performance in the first Iron Man movie directed by Jon Favreau. The experiment started in the film caught on and caught fire when the MCU did the unprecedented and pulled different characters from different films for one single ensemble film, The Avengers. The dream became a reality and still, at the heart of it all was Robert, the man whose career was in shambles after two Oscars nominations and numerous bouts of battle with the legal system.
In a way, you can say MCU saved Robert and Robert created the $26 billion grossing franchise, which is the MCU. Without one, we dare say there would’ve been the other which is something people at Disney also realized and it was for his contribution for the creation of the MCU and the joy he brought us starring in ten MCU movies over the years and for his contribution Robert was given the Disney Legends Award.
Bob Iger took to the stage at D23 where he was greeted by 6,800 loud fans who drowned out the microphone and the speakers when the topic was about to turn to Robert Downey Jr. You thought Force Awakens trailer announcement was loud, oh, think-again people, this was the loudest we ever heard D23, and it was for a man who deserved every morsel of the scream and shouts.
Source: Bob Iger
Bob Iger announced the recipient of the Legends Award and Robert took to the stage to a standing ovation and deafening shouts and hoots and “love you 3000s” and “I am Iron Mans.” The man, the legend, started talking about an incident in the drug-fuelled days of his youth when he was arrested in Disneyland. He said, “The very first time I went to Disneyland, I was transported to another place within moments of being arrested.”
“I was brought to a surprisingly friendly processing center, given a strict warning,” Robert joked as well as confessed while giving nervous glances back to the head of Disney. “And returned to, if memory serves one very disappointed group chaperone. I’ve been sitting on that shame for a while, and I‘m just going to release it here tonight.”
The speech started with the apology to the people of Disneyland for his past behavior, but very soon, the scene started to get serious for the actor. By the way, the whole pot thing was removed from the final edit of the video released by Marvel Entertainment on their YouTube channel.
Watch: The edited version of Robert's speech with no reference to pot
“For my part, playing Tony over many years, the thematic idea that technology can guide our species towards enlightenment or destruction,” the actor continued. “It’s been a really worthwhile and ongoing meditation. Honestly, it’s been a great gift. So I want to thank the fans who made all this possible starting back in 2008.”
He wrapped up the speech which lasted about eight minutes, but most of it was a video montage of the highlights of Robert’s career. In the end, he said, “So here’s what I get to do: I get to remain a fan of the first inclusive and evolving cinematic universe ever, so far, and, yeah, here’s to the future.”
Watch: Robert's uncensored speech at D23 while accepting Disney Legends Award
Robert was among a class of recipient which included the legendary actor James Earl Jones, singer Christina Aguilera, actress Ming-na Wen, director maestro John Favreau, singer Bette Midler, sportscaster Robin Roberts, broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer, choreographer Kenny Ortega, composer Hans Zimmer along with choreographer Barnette Ricci and Disney resorts executive Wing Chao.