Marvel Studios has taken major leaps forward with its storytelling in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with everything from WandaVision on Disney+ to Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters. All this new content comes on the heels of the world-famous Infinity Saga, which set the standard for interconnected storytelling over the course of a decade.
This venture, of course, ended unofficially with Avengers: Endgame in 2019 when it became the biggest movie of all time financially (before a re-release of 2009's Avatar). Endgame brought the MCU's original six Avengers together for one last battle against the Mad Titan Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet as they saved the universe, brought half of all life back, and called it a day.
Even with half the original team now dead or out of commission, the six actors behind those roles remain as close as ever off camera.
Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner recently spoke about the team's oft-discussed text group chat, which is still active as the MCU stars keep up with each other's lives and milestones.
Two of the original six even got to share a moment recently at an awards show, filled with profanity and jokes throughout the interaction.
Robert Downey Jr. Pays "Tribute" to Scarlett Johansson
The Hollywood Reporter's Chris Gardner took to Twitter to share a hilarious tribute to MCU star Scarlett Johansson given by her long-time co-star Robert Downey Jr. during a presentation at the 35th Annual American Cinematheque Awards. This presentation honored Johansson's contribution to the film industry.
First reminiscing on some of the ridiculous ways that actors in Hollywood "live to congratulate (themselves)," Downey touched on events like Star Wars star Laura Dern's birthday song, former Disney CEO Alan Horn's retirement message, and even Spider-Man star Tom Holland's "sole aim" within the entertainment industry:
"This is Hollywood. We f***ing live to congratulate ourselves. We did the midterm voter drive garbage, the Laura Dern birthday song, which isn’t even due until the week of February 10th. We knocked out the Alan Horn retirement message, ‘Last adult standing has left the building, good luck,’ and that bat mitzvah greeting for that traffic cop who gave me a pass when I was double-parked on La Brea. And as usual, 37 asks from Tom Holland, whose sole aim is to proliferate the industry like a f***ing lawn fungus. Who’s left? That’s it."
The employee running Downey's tribute for Johansson then prompted him to continue with her, to which he joked that he "passed on that" before being guilted into it due to the other Avengers stars already having done it:
INTERVIEWER: "Last one is Scarlett Johansson for -
DOWNEY: "No it isn’t cause I passed on that. I said ’N/A with regrets.’
INTERVIEWER: "Well, Joy brought it back around because all of the other Avengers -
DOWNEY: "Oh well there it is, there’s the guilt hook, ‘all of the other Avengers.’ See, the fact that everyone else is doing it is what makes it special to NOT do it. But anyway.
INTERVIEWER: "Um, okay -"
Downey then got to his outlandish and joke-filled tribute to Johansson, taking shots at himself along the way and finishing off with a simple and poignant "F**k you, Scarlett:"
"Put it up. Put it up on the godd**m prompter, I don’t care. I have no preferences. I have no opinion. Right? Let’s party. I live for this s**t. Scarlett, congratulations. I mean, you’re so deserving of this award. You’ve overcome so many obstacles to make space for yourself and others in a sea of overt and sub-intentional misogyny, started by everything from studios, director, and producers to - one-man toxic flotillas like me. Take it from me, Robert Downey Jr., the shortest leading man since Don Adams in Get Smart, who rivals Giuliani for least subtle use of Just For Men Touch Of Grey hair dye. 'How far did we get you to go? Robert, it’s Scarlett and Colin. We had two glasses of white wine on a weeknight and felt like clowning you.' Don’t actually put this on a prompter. Cut. F**k you, Scarlett. Jost, I’m gonna punch you in the d**k."
Downey's full tribute can be watched below:
The other thing is, Robert Downey Jr. is REALLY going to commit to a bit. Here he turns down Scarlett Johansson tribute (because all the other Avengers have done it is reason enough to pass) before reading the joke Teleprompter script. pic.twitter.com/29mZrARRe0— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) November 19, 2021
Downey & Johansson's Friendship Still Strong
Downey and Johansson's Marvel relationship goes back more than a decade to their first MCU movie together, 2010's Iron Man 2. The pair teamed up for a total of six Marvel Studios movies together before both of their characters met their deaths in Avengers: Endgame. Their bond grew into something truly special on top of their adventures on screen together.
Even so, it wouldn't be a Downey appearance without his signature snark and hilarity, which he took to a new level this time around with an expression of pure disdain and plenty of NSFW profanity.
Offering self-deprecating jokes about his height while making fun of the calls he receives from Johansson and her husband, Colin Jost, the man behind Tony Stark offered his love and respect to the Black Widow star in classic Downey fashion. Filled with adult language and funny praise for Johansson's accomplishments, Downey was simply allowed to let loose with his message.
While Downey and Johansson likely won't be seen in the MCU again as Iron Man and Black Widow, moments like this show the familial ties they built from working together over so many years. There are no signs pointing to when something like this may happen again, but it's clear that Downey will continue to be himself in every way possible going forward.