By far one of the most notable moments in the "Iron Man 2" trailer that arrived in March was the debut of Tony Stark's briefcase armor, a longtime element of the hero's history and a valuable tool in his arsenal of high-tech armor.
Veteran "Iron Man" artist Bob Layton, who along with writer David Michelinie was responsible for some of the character's best-loved tales and landmark moments (the celebrated "Demon in a Bottle" storyline and the introduction of characters Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes and Justin Hammer, for example), told MTV News he was just as surprised as anyone when he saw the briefcase armor debut — except he saw it almost half a year ago and had to keep it a secret until now.
Speaking with me during this weekend's C2E2 convention in Chicago, Layton recalled his visit to the set of "Iron Man 2" last summer, which included a surprise introduction to the new armor, which just so happens to be colored in the familiar "Silver Centurion" red-and-silver pallet he used throughout a significant portion of his run on the comic.
"[Robert Downey Jr.] and I were having a talk while he was getting his makeup on, and at one point, he goes, 'Oh, you don't know about this, do you?' then suddenly jumps up and runs over to the prop cart," remembered Layton. "He comes back and drops that attache case in my lap, and I just stare at it for a moment."
"I tell him, 'Wait... You're really doing it?!" he continued. "And [Downey] tells me to have the prop guys take me back to the trailer. I go back there and there's the full model of the Silver Centurion armor."
"All I could manage to say was 'F---!'" he laughed.
The necessity to keep it a secret, however, was finally removed when the armor made its debut last month in the trailer.
"Of course, I couldn't tell anybody, so I've had to keep my mouth shut," he said.
Now that he's free to talk about it, though, Layton has nothing but praise for the armor and what it means for the project.
"You know what? It's cooler than the regular armor, and those are my colors, man," he laughed.
"I was incredibly flattered that they were trying to put as much of the lexicon of Iron Man into these films as possible," he said. "Everyone on that set, cast and crew, are Iron Man fans."
"Iron Man 2" hits theaters May 7, 2010.
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