The story of Deadpool’s surprising success can be directly traced back to the CG demo reel Tim Miller and Blur Studios produced to sell Fox on Deadpool. But it turns out Miller and Blur also did something similar for Marvel Studios—and it helped the first Iron Man movie get made in the first place.
Remember, when Marvel was considering kicking off its movie slate with Iron Man back in 2006, Iron Man was at best a B-list comic book character. Only some comic fans liked him, and the general public had little to no idea who Iron Man was, compared to big names like Spider-Man or the X-Men.
So Marvel tasked Miller and Blur Studios to develop a series of Iron Man shorts targeted to kids, designed to help explain who the character was and raise awareness. According to Marvel’s Chief Creative Office Joe Quesada, the shorts had three objectives:
1- Clearly demonstrate that there was a man inside the armor.
2- Show off his wide range of cool powers.
3- Position him clearly as a hero on the same level as Spidey and Hulk by having those characters show how cool they perceive him to be and valued him as a peer.
These shorts been floating around the internet in various states of quality for a while, but in the wake of Deadpool’s success, Quesada took to Tumblr to reshare them with the world. You can see all three below!
Obviously, Miller’s shorts were successes, giving Marvel the necessary confidence to keep working on Iron Man. And we all know how well that went! Marvel even planned to do a similar test for Thor ahead of his cinematic debut, but according to Quesada Marvel ended up canning them as they couldn’t get them broadcast on TV. Still, it’s cool to see that Miller and the amazing CG artists at Blur had their hands in turning two unlikely superheroes into major movie franchises.