Kicking off Disney’s biennial fan convention, a new class of superheroes were honored as Disney Legends, including Downey Jr., who made his Disney debut with the 2006 film The Shaggy Dog, but is of course much better known for playing Tony Stark for over a decade in the Iron Man and Avenger films, launching the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Earlier this year, Downey Jr.’s iconic character was laid to rest at the emotional end of Avengers: Endgame, but when he took to the stage at D23 Expo, he began with a fun fact about the time he was arrested at Disneyland.
“Here’s a bit of trivia for you. The very first time I went to Disneyland I was transported to another place — within moments of being arrested,” he said onstage. “I was brought to a surprisingly friendly processing center, given a strict warning, and returned to, if memory serves, one very disappointed group chaperone. I’ve been sitting on that shame for a while and I‘m just going to release it here tonight.”
As the fans gathered for the panel laughed, Downey Jr. continued. “I would like to make amends to whoever had to detain me for smoking pot in a gondola without a license,” he said. “And I don’t wanna further confuse the issue by insinuating that pot smoking licenses for the gondola are in any way obtainable.”
But then he got serious, thanking everyone he’s worked with over the past at Disney. “I’m delighted to be among such a rich and diverse group of humans, all seeking to reflect the many challenges of life through the lens of creative expression,” he said, before referencing his time in the Marvel family. “For my part, 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.”
And although Tony may no longer be alive in the MCU, Downey Jr. remains a member of the family. “I get to remain a fan…,” he said. “Here’s to the future.”