There was much improvization in dialogue scenes, because the script was not completed when filming began (the filmmakers had focused on the story making sense and planning the action). Favreau felt that improvization would make the film feel more natural. Some scenes were shot with two cameras to capture lines said on the spot. Multiple takes were done, as Downey wanted to try something new each time. It was Downey’s idea to have Stark hold a news conference on the floor, and he created the speech Stark makes when demonstrating the Jericho weapon.
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Bridges described this approach as “a $200 million student film”, and noted that it caused stress for Marvel executives when the stars were trying to come up with dialogue on the day of filming scenes. He also noted that in some instances, he and Downey would swap characters for rehearsal to see how their own lines sounded. The dialogue for the Nick Fury cameo scene was also changed on set, with comic writer Brian Michael Bendis providing three pages of dialogue for the part, and the filmmakers choosing the best lines for filming on set. The Nick Fury cameo was filmed with a skeleton crew in order to keep it a secret, but rumors appeared on the Internet only days later.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige subsequently had the scene removed from all preview prints in order to maintain the surprise and keep fans guessing. An alternate version of the Nick Fury post-credits scene was filmed in which he specifically said “As if gamma accidents, radioactive bugs and assorted mutants weren’t enough” referencing Hulk, Spider-Man and the X-Men but this was cut due to legal problems with Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox who at the time had full ownership of the characters until their reacquisition much later in the mid to late 2010s.
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