Ten Years Ago, Robert Downey Jr. Couldn’t Have Predicted That He’d Have This Badass Entrance Into The Comic-Con Iron Man 3 Panel

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The great San Diego Comic-Con content just keeps trickling online! Here's Robert Downey Jr.‘s grand entrance into the Iron Man 3 panel, and boy is it fun. From his fashion combo of pairing a gray suit with an Iron Man hand, to upstaging whoever on the panel was talking, to the groovy music, to RDJ himself singing along… it's signature Tony Stark. Sexy, grandiose, slightly obnoxious.

But a decade ago, would it have been anything more than a pipe dream? Before 2003, Downey Jr. was in and out of rehab and jail. Called “a danger to himself and his community,” the flailing actor was wrecking his career with bizarre incidents like getting arrested driving under the influence of heroin and carrying a loaded gun. I only remember bits and pieces of it and his 1996 People cover story, but I think about Charlie Sheen‘s inexplicable “winning”/”tiger blood” streak and can only think that he was nothing compared to watching RDJ go down.

Then by 2003, Downey Jr. slowly worked his way back from addiction and rock-bottom, thanks to meditation, family, and twelve-step programs. Over the next five years he appeared in films like Good Night, and Good Luck. and A Scanner Darkly, until we were reintroduced to the man with 2008's Iron Man. Say what you will about actors who can pull performances out of thin air, but I think we all took Downey Jr. more seriously as Tony Stark because the gravitas was there. And now, with his third Iron Man film coming out next year thanks in part to the unexpected success of The Avengers, he's buoyed by thousands of loyal Marvel fans.

“I have three questions,” he tells the cheering crowd at SDCC. “How much do I love you? How much do you love me? Why aren't we watching any footage yet?” Amen, sir.

Video: Screen Team +