The Russo Brothers have revealed that Iron Man director Jon Favreau personally called them in an attempt to stop them from killing off Tony Stark in Endgame.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the director duo said that Favreau, who launched the MCU with Iron Man and later directed its sequel, really didn’t want Robert Downey Jr.’s character to die in the climatic Avengers flick. “Part of the pressure [not to kill Tony Stark] came from Jon Favreau, who called us up after he read the script … and said to us, ‘Are you really going to kill Iron Man?’” Anthony Russo said.

“He did. Yeah,” added Joe Russo. “And I remember pacing on the corner of a stage on the phone with Favreau trying to talk him off a ledge. Because he’s like, ‘You can’t do this. It’s gonna devastate people, and you don’t want them, you know, walking out of the theater and into traffic.’ We did it anyways.”

Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely previously said that they knew going into the project that it was “going to be the end of Tony Stark,” a character who led the first three phases of the MCU. “We had the opportunity to give him the perfect retirement life, within the movie,” Markus said in a New York Times interview in 2019. “[He already got that]. That’s the life he’s been striving for. Are he and Pepper going to get together? Yes. They got married, they had a kid, it was great. It’s a good death. It doesn’t feel like a tragedy. It feels like a heroic, finished life.”

Besides his work behind the camera in the Marvel films, Favreau has also appeared alongside Downey’s Stark as Happy Hogan. The character has showed up in all three Iron Man films, three of the four Avengers films, and each of the Tom Holland-led Spider-Man films. These days he’s had his hands full with The Mandalorian, which he created and serves as the showrunner for. 

Check out what else the Russo Brothers had to say about their MCU efforts above.