The Iron Man trilogy may not be the most beloved set of films within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s most certainly been an important one for the franchise. After all, there really wouldn’t be an MCU without the first Iron Man movie, which not only helped revive Robert Downey Jr.’s acting career, but also helped put Marvel Studios on the map. As with everything in the MCU, each film in the Iron Man trilogy has a variety of callbacks to Marvel comic books, as well as a host of cameos and other hidden details. Much like with our breakdown of the best Easter eggs in the Captain America movies, we’ve broken down the best hidden details found in the Iron Man films that you may not have noticed upon first (or repeated) viewings.
Iron Man (2008)
Invincible Iron Man Theme Song
The original Iron Man (2008) movie helped make the former B-grade Marvel superhero a household name, but there had been previous attempts to adapt the character from the comic page, such as the Invincible Iron Man cartoon from 1966. Iron Man includes a nice callback to that series, as you can actually hear the cartoon’s theme song playing during several scenes: when Tony Stark is in the casino at the beginning of the film, in Stark’s bedroom at one point, and as Rhodey’s ringtone.
The Ten Rings
While Iron Man’s arch-nemesis, the Mandarin, wouldn’t officially make an appearance until Iron Man 3 (well, sort of), his organization the Ten Rings plays a prominent role. The leader of the group is Raza, who can be seen fiddling with an ornate gold ring on occasion. In fact, Tony Stark, Obadiah Stane, James Rhodes, and Raza all wear rings in the film, symbolizing the power each character wields. In the comics, Raza is not actually an enemy of Iron Man, but rather an alien cyborg and leader of a space pirate gang known as the Starjammers. The only thing they share is a facial disfigurement — in the comics, Raza has implants on the left side of his face, whereas in the film, Raza is scarred on his right side. Finally, the end credits sequence features an animation of the Ten Rings logo.
Burger King Beat Drugs
When Tony returns to the United States after months spent in captivity, his first request is to grab an American cheeseburger. According to Robert Downey Jr., this story beat was inspired by real-life events. In an interview with Britain’s Empire Magazine, Downey Jr. specifically thanked Burger King for helping him get clean back in 2003. As the story goes, the actor was eating a burger from the chain in his car, which was full of drugs at the time, and the burger tasted so disgusting that it made him rethink his life, and dump all the drugs in the ocean. Of course, his character’s epiphany (to no longer sell weapons) is a bit of a different scenario.