Iron Man (2008) – Complete Annotations


Everhart is surprised by Pepper Potts. She is played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_45 Pepper Potts was created by Don Heck and Stan Lee. She first appeared in Tales of Suspense #45 (September 1963) – the same issue that introduced Happy Hogan. She has been a major part of the Iron Man comics ever since.

gwynethPaltrow was also a huge star before she even signed on for this film, although she was better known for romantic comedies such as Shakespeare In Love (1998) and Sliding Doors (1998). She would appear in all the Iron Man films and The Avengers. Paltrow told

I asked Marvel to send me the Iron Man comics that they thought would best help me familiarise myself with Iron Man, Tony Stark and my character, Pepper Potts. Marvel sent me a couple of binders of photo-copied comics. Some were really old, but they were incredibly helpful to me. They showed how Pepper had changed over the years. Different hairstyles and clothes, but also the way she dealt with Tony.

Rachel McAdams was considered for the role. She would finally join the MCU with Doctor Strange (2016).

We see Tony at work on an engine in his workshop. The set along with the later garage, were created at Playa Vista.

In the background we hear Institutionalized by American thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. It’s taken from their debut self titled album released in 1983.

The car Stark is working on is a 1932 Ford Model B, which has been restored with much love. The car actually belongs to Jon Favreau.

Potts and Stark talk about a Jackson Pollock painting. The American painter had a distinctive, kinetic, dripped style. And Potts is right about Springs, the town in East Hampton where Pollock lived.

MIT is mentioned again, and it’s Potts’ birthday.

Then we’re off driving. The music we hear is part of the score called Merchant of Death.

Stark is driving a silver 2007 Audi R8. Number plate is STARK4.

Following him is a 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom.

They are racing down Pacific Coast Highway at Point Mugu. [link]

They arrive at a Stark Industries air field. It’s actually Edwards Air Force Base, an active US air base. [link]

The flight attendants are Sarah Cahill (a former Miss Minnesota), Jeannine Kaspar and Ricki Noel Landers (who would have a small role in Ant-Man).

The song from the plane is called Slept On Tony With Dirt, written and performed by Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, for this film. The track has yet to see a commercial release. He seems to be on the big screen on the plane as well.

Ghostface Killah has used the alias Tony Stark and Iron Man in real life. He even named his 1996 album Ironman. He actually filmed a scene for the film, but it was cut.

Stark arrives at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan – a real place in name, but is also Edwards Air Base.

There was an extended version this scene, stretching from the plane to their arrival at Bagram, was deleted.

He is greeted by General Gabriel. He is played by Bill Smitrovich, who had roles in films such as Independence Day (1996) and Ted (2012).

Stark mentions his missiles have Repulsor technology. In the comics, it is this technology that powers the beams that Iron Man shoots from his hands.


The missiles are named Jericho. There’s already a missile with that name, named after the city.

We see the opening scene play out again, and Stark is kidnapped.

Back in the cave. Stark discovers the thing in his chest.

With Stark in the cave is Ho Yinsen. He is played by Shaun Toub.

Shaun Toub as Ho Yinsen
Shaun Toub as Ho Yinsen

portrait_incredible Ho Yinsen was a part of Iron Man’s origin in the comics, appearing with Iron Man in his first comic, Tales Of Suspense #39 (March 1963). He was created by Don Heck, Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. In the comics, he was of Asian descent, keeping with his Vietnamese origins. His race has changed as Iron Man’s origin is updated.

He’s actually only known as Yinsen in this film. We will learn the rest of his name when he Toub reprises the role in Iron Man Three (2013).

SToubToub appeared in films such as Crash (2004) and The Kite Runner (2007).

Yinsen mentions that he met Stark at a conference in Bern, Switzerland. We will see this meeting in Iron Man 3.

The terrorists arrive. The leader of the group, the main speaker is Abu BakarHe is played by Sayed Badreya.

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Sayed Badreya as Abu Bakar in Iron Man (2008)

Badreya is an Egyptian actor who appeared in films such as Three Kings (1999) and The Dictator (2012).


Stark starts building.

Yinsen tells Stark that the terrorist group is the Ten Rings.

The name is an allusion to Iron Man’s arch-nemesis in the comics, The Mandarin, whose power came from ten alien rings. The Mandarin was the villain in early drafts of the film, and this was a leftover of his influence in the film. The Mandarin would appear in Iron Man 3, in a version vastly different from the comics.

Stark extracts the palladium from his weapons. It is a real element.

The music we hear as they build what will be the first arc reactor is from the score, called Trinkets To Kill A Prince, composed by Ramin Djawadi.


Stark and Yinsen play Backgammon.

Yinsen tells Stark he’s from Gulmira, a fictional town we will see more of.

There was more of Yinsen and Backgammon that was deleted.

We’ve seen glimpses of him earlier, but we get a much better look at Raza, another member of the terrorist group. He is played by Faran Tahir.

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Faran Tahir as Raza in Iron Man (2008)

Faran-TahirTahir has appeared in films such as Star Trek (2009) and Elysium (2013).

Turns out Raza is the real leader and speaks English.

Raza is right that the bow and arrow played a major part in Genghis Khan‘s time. Khan was the ruler of the Mongolian Empire, the biggest empire the world has ever known, during the early 13th century.

It’s worth noting that The Mandarin in the comics claimed to be a descendant of Genghis Khan. It’s another Easter Egg for eagle eyed fans.

Alexander The Great. From 336 BC, he ruled Macedonia, Persia, Egypt and lots, lots more.

The Roman Empire. From 27 BC, it would cover most of Europe.


Raza threatens Yinsen in Urdu. We couldn’t find a translation.

The music we hear as Stark is banging is called Mark I, composed by Ramin Djawadi.

Stark in the first Iron Man armour, Mark I.
Stark in the first Iron Man armour, Mark I.

The pair put together the first Iron Man armour. It will also be known as Mark I.

The all grey metal design matches with Iron Man’s first design in the comics.

6 thoughts on “Iron Man (2008) – Complete Annotations

  1. In the section 20:00 to 25:00, you stated that The Mandarin will appear in Iron Man 2. He appeared in Iron Man 3.

  2. Amazing stuff, thanks for all the effort you’ve put into this. Just thought I would help with a few music cues;
    The music playing during the entertainment news piece with Zorianna Kit is ‘Groovetronic’ by Terry Devine-King.
    The jazz playing during the first scene in the Walt Disney Exhibition Hall (when Tony dances with Pepper) is ‘Kool Katz’ by Chucho Merchán, and playing when he speaks to Christine is ‘Licorice’ by Emanuel Kallins and Steve Skinner.

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