At the World Premiere of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War, Robert Downey Jr. stood on stage in front of a packed house at the Dolby Theatre delivering a speech that paid tribute to all who’ve contributed to the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). From there, he asked director Jon Favreau to stand, declaring that “When they say ‘the man who started it all,’ that is you, Jon—you brought it to life.” It was Iron Man that launched the MCU in 2008, and throughout the first 10 years of Marvel Studios, RDJ’s portrayal of billionaire Tony Stark has been a fixture—the foundation of the Avengers, and the cornerstone of Marvel Studios.

The morning after the premiere, I was invited to stop by the Marvel Studios offices in Burbank. Following a meeting with Victoria Alonso, the executive vice president of physical production and executive producer of Infinity War (she helped shape the MCU from the beginning, working alongside President Kevin Feige and Co-President Louis D’Esposito), I had a chance to look around the offices for a rare glimpse inside the workspace of the team now responsible for the biggest opening weekend of all-time—both domestically and globally.

Avengers: Infinity War costumes next to the Marvel Studios reception desk.

From the second you step off the elevator, there’s no mistaking where you’re at (you’re definitely on the right floor!) as the Marvel Studios logo pops against a cosmic background. Next to the reception desk is a small stage that serves as a rotating display for costumes used in the most recent film. During my visit, the Infinity War suits for Captain America, Black Widow, and Black Panther were on display, directly facing what is arguably the finest waiting area you will ever see. Behind two couches and a coffee table stands a “Hall of Armor” that showcases three of Stark’s earlier Iron Man suits—an ever-present reminder of where the MCU began.

Hall of Armor, complete with three early versions of Iron Man’s suit, located in the waiting room of Marvel Studios.

Once through a set of etched glass doors, the offices follow a race track design around an exterior atrium that allows the hallways to fill with natural light. Murals by Head of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding take up much of the wall space, with vibrant reminders of past battles around every turn. There’s concept art as well, some of which currently includes off-limits-to-the-public glimpses at future films, like the currently-filming Captain Marvel.

Black Panther vs. Captain America mural art by Ryan Meinerding

While many offices are filled with collectibles based on Marvel superheroes, this one takes it a step further by including actual costumes and props from the films. Why display a figure of Star-Lord when you can just put Chris Pratt’s costume on display instead?

The common spaces are exciting, but behind them exists the sealed-by-NDA world where production and development of films both announced and unannounced continues at a brisk pace. Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo are editing the currently-untitled fourth Avengers film for next year, while finishing touches are placed upon this summer’s Ant-Man and The Wasp. A sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming is also brewing, as is James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3.

The Marvel Studios library

As for what’s next for the MCU, that answer might be held hiding in plain sight in what for me is one of the coolest spots in the Marvel Studios offices… the library. It’s the type of library that pop culture fans and comic enthusiasts would love to have—filled with collected editions of nearly every property that’s been published in the pages of Marvel Comics over the years. It’s also peppered with props like Captain America’s shield (two versions), Thor’s hammer (Mjolnir) and one of the small “space rats” from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, alongside a throwback to where it  all began—one of Stark’s early Iron Man helmets.

The 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War is now playing in theaters everywhere.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.