In the comics, Justin Hammer was a shrewd but elderly businessman. He was re-worked as a younger character in the film to make him a contemporary rival to Tony Stark. The original purpose of the character in the comics was to explain why the various enemies Iron Man fought somehow gained unique and extremely advanced weapons, but usually kept them for themselves to commit violent crimes instead making money by bringing them to market. Iron Man eventually discovers the reason is because Hammer gives the weapons to various criminals as part of their contracts to become his mercenaries with the agreement that they hand over a percentage of the loot from their crimes.
The 35mm prints were shipped to US theaters with the code name "Glow". There were 3 separate cans shipped. Can #3 held reels 1 & 8 and was locked. The combination to the lock was not sent until a few hours before the midnight premieres.
Al Pacino was considered for the role of Justin Hammer.
Tanner Foust took the role of driving Stark's racing car.
Black Widow's alias of "Natalie Rushman" is inspired by "Nancy Rushman", a S.H.I.E.L.D. cover identity she has used in the comics.
SPOILER: The new element Stark creates comes from the Zeeman effect (a magnetic field) and the Stark effect (static electric fields).
SPOILER: Scenes in the film explicitly foreshadow The Avengers (2012): - When Tony goes through his father's case an old Captain America comic book can be seen inside; later he uses Captain America's shield (a prototype) to build a reactor - a news report of The Incredible Hulk (2008)'s campus battle is seen near the end of the film - Stark and Fury discuss Stark's membership throughout the film - and Agent Coulson finds Thor's hammer in a crater in the post-credits scene. Link this trivia
SPOILER: In the comics, Tony Stark would drive on a racetrack and suffer a car crash, from which Happy Hogan rescued him. This event has been replicated in the film, with the minor change being that Whiplash's attack causes the crash, and Hogan saves Stark by getting to him his suitcase armor.
SPOILER: Tony Stark creates a new arc reactor with the use of Captain America's shield. This shield was earlier seen lying on a desk at Stark's office in Iron Man (2008). The shield was crafted from a unique material, just like the new arc reactor.
SPOILER: The film's basic storyline (Stark must cope with the government confiscating his armor and a mid-life crisis of depression and alcoholism, with his manipulative rival Justin Hammer scheming to ruin him) is inspired by the Iron Man comic Demon in a Bottle.
SPOILER: This is Scarlett Johansson's third foray into comic book films; her previous comic-book films were Ghost World (2001), and The Spirit (2008), which had her role working for the Octopus played by Samuel L. Jackson). In this film, Johansson is again working under Jackson (as Nick Fury).
The promotional film of the Howard Stark character spotlighting his EXPO vision for the future, apes the promotional films of Walt Disney presenting his EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) plan for a city of the future.
In regards to Hammer saying "If it were any smarter, it'd write a book, a book that would make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon", the writer James Joyce's eyesight was failing so bad during the writing of Ulysses, that he had to write in large letters with a crayon on huge sheets of paper in order to see what he was writing.
The name on Vanko's fake passport is Boris Turgenov, the name of the second person to use the Crimson Dynamo armor in the comics.
Seth Green can be seen briefly in the scene while Tony is leaving the Expo and meets Larry King and Larry Ellison. Seth Green featured and provided the voice for Iron Man (including "Little Iron Man") in several episodes of his TV show "Robot Chicken" (2005).
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