Sam Rockwell Explains How He Got His Iron Man 2 Villain Role After Losing Out On Tony Stark


Actor Sam Rockwell recently explained how he got the MCU role of Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 after losing out on the role of Tony Stark to Robert Downey Jr. Although he hasn’t been seen in live-action since 2014’s All Hail The King one-shot with a brief cameo, Rockwell’s Justin Hammer is still a big fan-favorite villain who desperately wants the fame and respect held by his competitor Tony Stark. As such, it’s rather fitting that Rockwell nearly played Stark himself in the MCU.

During a recent interview with GQ, Sam Rockwell briefly spoke about his original conversations with Iron Man director Jon Favreau about potentially playing Tony Stark before the role ultimately went to Robert Downey Jr. He then broke down how he later got the part of Justin Hammer for Iron Man 2:


“My partner was in [Iron Man], Leslie Bibb, and so I had dinner with those guys before opening night, and they were nervous about it, and then, of course, it was a big hit. And then my friend Justin Theroux was going to write the script [for Iron Man 2] … and I went over to his house and I said, “What’s going on with that Iron Man 2?’ He said, ‘I’m flying out to go help Favreau write the script.’ And I go, ‘Well, let me be in it. I want to be in the movie. Write me a part as a bad guy.” They talked to Mickey Rourke, and they decided to split the villain into two villains.”
It’s rather interesting that Hammer was a later addition to the movie where Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash was originally intended as the sole villain seeking revenge and wanting to damage the Stark legacy. After all, Hammer’s involvement as Whiplash’s benefactor due to his own desire to destroy Stark is incredibly dynamic.

Sam Rockwell recently returned to voice an animated Justin Hammer in Marvel’s What If…? season 2, episode 3, featuring a reality in which Hammer breaks into Avengers Tower on Christmas Eve. However, there is room for a potential live-action MCU return in the near future. After all, Marvel Studios’ Armor Wars is on the horizon starring Don Cheadle’s War Machine as he attempts to protect Iron Man’s legacy. To that end, Iron Man 2’s Hammer makes a lot of sense as a primary villain seeking to corrupt said legacy in the wake of Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame.

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