Eagle-eyed fans caught Captain America's shield in the background of the first Iron Man movie, leading everyone to expect more revelations about the star-spangled Avenger in the about-to-be-released second go-around. Only thing is, as director Jon Favreau explains, maybe we weren't really meant to see it there in the first place.
As Favreau explained to Ain't It Cool:
That was something that I had barely noticed. It was something that was like a little inside joke between ILM and us that turned into a reality that we then had to reckon with. We had to reconcile it in the future. Same thing with saying “I am Iron Man” at the end or even the Nick Fury after the credits was something that was like “Hey, let’s do this. This would be cool.”
Well, now that’s our reality and the whole sequel has more to do with those little added things that we threw in just for the hell of it to get a rise out of the audience and the fans. That’s now the reality that we are dealing with and so Nick Fury has a very prominent role, not just in this film, but the entire franchise of the Marvel universe and “I am Iron Man” ended up being just dealing with… Those four words became the biggest factor in how we broke the story on the second film.
A lot has been made of the flying-by-the-seat-of-their-pants nature of the making of the first movie, but I have to admit; I love the idea that the shield and Tony's last-minute public admission were thrown in just to screw with fans without much thought to the bigger picture.