Bob Iger presented Robert Downey Jr. with the Disney Legends Award at the D23 Expo. The Tony Stark actor used the acceptance platform to share a story about getting detained at Disneyland for smoking marijuana back in the 1980s before launching into a serious speech. In addition to Downey Jr., Disney resorts executive Wing Chao, filmmaker Jon Favreau, actor James Earl Jones, singer Bette Midler, choreographer Kenny Ortega, choreographer Barnette Ricci, broadcast journalist Robin Roberts, broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer, actor Ming-Na Wen, and composer Hans Zimmer were all presented with the Disney Legends Award.
Robert Downey Jr. took to the stage in front of nearly 7,000 lucky D23 Expo attendees to accept the Disney Legends Award. As usual, his quick wit was on full display as he charmed the audience and made Disney CEO Bob Iger sweat a bit from the stage, recalling his first-ever visit to the Happiest Place on Earth. Apparently, the Avengers: Endgame star has been sitting on this guilt for quite a while. He explains.
"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. 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."
Marijuana may be decriminalized in California now, but it was very much still an illegal substance back in the 1980s when Robert Downey Jr. first visited Disneyland. Even so, smoking marijuana, or even tobacco, is frowned upon in the park to this day. The same thing that happened to Downey Jr., will more than likely still happen today, except you might get thrown out of the Disney park without warning. Downey Jr. had this to say about his misadventure.
"I would like to make amends to whoever had to detain me for smoking pot in a gondola without a license... And I don't wanna further confuse the issue by insinuating that pot smoking licenses for the gondola are in any way obtainable."
After getting massive amounts of applause and laughter from the crowd, Robert Downey Jr. got serious about his time playing Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He and Jon Favreau, along with Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, started it all back in 2008 with the first Iron Man movie. And though he would like to distance himself from the role of Tony Stark now, he is eternally grateful and proud of his work with Marvel. He had this to say.
"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. 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... So here's what I get to do: I get to remain a fan of the first inclusive and evolving cinematic universe ever, so far, and, yeah, here's to the future."
Robert Downey Jr. is finished with the Tony Stark story arc after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Fans are bummed to see him go, but he had a pretty amazing eleven-year run that has culminated with the highest grossing movie of all time, thanks to the hard work of Downey Jr., Kevin Feige, the entire cast and crews of these movies, and countless other individuals. Tony Stark and Luke Skywalker are now and forever Disney Legends, along with a lot of other people who have brought joy into the world with their creativity. Deadline was the first to report about Robert Downey Jr.'s unorthodox acceptance speech. You can watch at the 35 minute mark in the following video for Robert Downey Jr.'s comments.