Iron Man actor, director honoured with Disney Legend award at D23 Expo
Downey Jr, who helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the Avengers juggernaut, and Favreau, the director of the first two "Iron Man" films, joined cinema legends such as James Earl Jones, Bette Middler and composer Hans Zimmer in the new class of Disney Legends at D23 Expo 2019, Disney's biannual fan celebration, here on Friday.
Downey Jr said playing Iron Man for over a decade was one of the greatest gifts of his career
Playing Tony over many years, the thematic idea that technology can guide our species towards enlightenment or destruction, it's been a really worthwhile and ongoing meditation. Honestly, it's been a great gift,? said the actor, often stopping midway to thank fans who kept interrupting his speech with " I love you 3000' and "I'm Iron Man".
The actor, 54, also thanked Disney CEO Bob Iger, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Fiege, directors Joe and Anthony Russo and Favreau, with whom he said he shared a brotherly bond of faith.
Staying true to his quirky self, Downey Jr began is acceptance speech by sharing a trivia about his maiden visit to Disneyland. The star revealed he was arrested for smoking pot in the gondola.
Here's a bit of a trivia for you. They very first time I went Disneyland, I was transported to another place within moments of being arrested,? he said.
Avengers: Endgame?, which released in April this year, was Downey Jr's last film as Iron Man as the character died in the end of the biggest war in the MCU.
The actor ended his speech with, "Here's to the future".
Praising Downey Jr's portrayal of Iron Man, Iger, who hosted the ceremony, said it was a coming together of ?a phenomenal actor and a fantastic character."
Favreau, who has directed the first two Iron Man movies, executive produced Avengers films besides directing the live action remake of "The Jungle Book" and "The Lion King", paid tribute to Walt Disney in his speech, hoping to continue the tradition of storytelling for the next generation.
"Let us talk about Walt Disney because that's why we are here. The flattering thing about technology, as Arthur C Clarke said, is if used in an efficient way, it is indistinguishable from magic. And Walt Disney was the master of bringing the old myths and the magic of technology together to create indelible memories," he said.
"I thank Disney and all of you for the opportunity to tell these stories, to explore technology and help being magic to the next generation," he added.
Favreau is next directing Disney Plus' "Star Wars" series "The Mandalorian".
James, the magestic voice behind King Mufasa in both the animated as well as Favreau's live-action remake of "The Lion King", could not attend the ceremony but sent a video to thank Disney and his fans.
"It is a great honour to be included in the Disney Legends. Thank you and may the force be with you," James, who also voices "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader, said.
Zimmer also could not be a part of the ceremony but called Disney home to all his " crazy ideas" for past 30 years.
Iger kicked off the ceremony by introducing Christina Aguilera, who performed on her hit number "Reflections" from Disney classic "Mulan", which is also getting a live-action version soon.
An emotional Aguilera said she was inspired by Julie Andrews in "Sound of Music" to become a singer.
Weather played a spoil sports for Bette Middler, whose speech was read out by her daughter Sophie, who Iger said was a spitting image of her mother.
"In 50 years, I have never called myself an artist. I have always said I am an entertainer. After all these years, I feel I have finally earned the right to be called an artist," Sophie said as she read out "Hocus Pocus" star's speech.
Honourees also included Kenny Ortega, Ming-Na Wen, Wing Chao, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer.