In the episode, young Spider-Man (Drake Bell) meets one of his heroes, Iron Man, and receives an Iron Spider suit developed specially for him by tech wizard Tony Stark. But thereâ€™s a steep learning curve to operating the complex suit, and Spidey has to figure it all out before he jeopardizes his relationship with his fellow teen super heroes.
I had to wonder if playing the Tony Stark role in the face of Robert Downey Jr.â€™s now-iconic portrayal put anything of a crimp in Pasdarâ€™s style as he worked to bring life to Iron Man for Ultimate Spider-Man. â€śItâ€™s funny,â€ť he remarks. â€śFrom the outside, it appears â€” and Iâ€™ll bet you Robert would probably confirm this â€” it appears as if a singular actor has put a stamp on a character when itâ€™s finally in the theaters. So many people go into making that thing happen, without the least of which are the people that youâ€™re working with immediately in a scene. â€¦ Other people obviously come with preconceptions as they do with Tony Stark, sure, because itâ€™s been such a success on the big screen, but in the performing of it, the immediate surroundings and the dialogue and the people youâ€™re working with really help define the character in a completely original way.â€ť
In making the role of Tony Stark his own for Ultimate Spider-Man, Pasdar has simply tried to please his own creative sensibilities and meet his own standards, but heâ€™s looking forward to the critical feedback of his target audience â€” namely, his two sons. â€śI just watched the first two or three [episodes] with my 7-year-old,â€ť he says, noting that his 11-year-old is also a fan. â€śIâ€™m excited â€” mostly for my kids. They watch this stuff â€” itâ€™s right in their wheelhouse.â€ť
Beyond just the very real and gratifying enthusiasm of oneâ€™s children, there has to be a certain resonance in playing a character that you likely remember from your own childhood. But as Pasdar explains, his character and those around him in Ultimate Spider-ManÂ are clearly different from the ones of his youth. â€śThese characters are kind of real, in a different way than the Spider-Man I grew up with,â€ť he says. â€śI mean, they were real then, too, for me. But I think now the demographic is much more relatable in terms of friendship and high-school life, and the things that these kids are going through. They make mistakes, which is cool â€” and they learn from them. So Tony is not this infallible [character] â€” even though he is perceived as a big hero of Spider-Man. … He makes mistakes along the way, although heâ€™d never admit it â€” you know, heâ€™s an egomaniac â€” but he learns from them, along with the other characters.â€ť