Close-up of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in a scene from 'Avengers: Endgame.' He is a white man with shaggy, light brown hair and a salt and pepper goatee. He is wearing his red Iron Man suit without the helmet and looking at someone incredulously.
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

That Time the Internet Thought Robert Downey Jr. Was in ‘House of the Dragon’

The Internet is a magical, if wacky place where fans’ dreams can become real. Sort of. At the very least, those fan dreams can be very entertaining. Case in point, a recent social media post that had fans wondering if Tony Stark was involved in the Dance of the Dragons.

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All Starks are not created equal

Screencap of a Thread by @disbussingfilm that reads "Robert Downey Jr. will appear in tonight's episode of 'HOUSE OF THE DRAGON' as Cregan Stark's "weird Uncle Tony."" which tags #HouseOfTheDragon. Beneath the text is a photo of Robert Downey Jr. at an event making a silly face.
(screencap/@disbussingfilm on Threads)

The MCU has become so ingrained in our collective psyche that you can’t hear the name “Stark” without thinking of a certain gentleman in an iron suit. The parody account @disbussingfilm recently posted to Threads ahead of this week’s episode of HBO’s House of the Dragon to “announce” an interesting development to the plot. The thread reads:

“Robert Downey Jr. will appear in tonight’s episode of ‘HOUSE OF THE DRAGON’ as Cregan Stark’s “weird Uncle Tony.”


Beneath the text is a publicity photo of Downey Jr. at an event captured mid-silly face, clearly chosen for its level of seriousness.

Tom Taylor as Cregan Stark in a scene from HBO's 'House of the Dragon.' He is a young, white man with shoulder-length brown hair pulled back in a half-up ponytail. He's wearing the furs and uniform of the Night's Watch. It's snowing, and he's looking at something very intently.

For those who have as much trouble keeping up with all the characters and bloodlines in the Game of Thrones universe as I do, Cregan Stark (played by Tom Taylor) is the head of House Stark during the events of House of the Dragon, making him an ancestor to Ned Stark (Sean Bean). He makes his first season two appearance in episode one, “A Son for a Son.” Cregan meets Rhaenyra’s son, Jace Velaryon (Harry Collett) at The Wall. Jace has come to petition for House Stark’s support in any upcoming conflict, and Cregan affirms that House Stark will honor the oath made by his father, declaring that Rhaenyra is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

So, what was that about RDJ playing his weird uncle?

Now, it seems pretty obvious that @disbussingfilm’s thread is a joke, even to those who aren’t already aware that this is a parody account. Especially considering that if someone of Downey Jr.’s caliber were going to be making an appearance on House of the Dragon, we’d be hearing about it everywhere, and from closer-to-the-show sources. Many, like Threads user @c_newmyer were totally in on the joke, and made jokes of their own:

Screencap of a Threads thread by @c_newmyer that reads "Tyrone Lannister" above a GIF of Robert Downey Jr. in a scene from 'Tropic Thunder' with text beneath him that reads "I'm a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude."
(screencap/@c__newmyer on Threads)

However, some folks responding to the thread seemed to be genuinely confused, either about this being real, or about the original poster’s seriousness.

Screencap of a list of responses to @disbussingfilm's thread about Robert Downey Jr. being on 'House of the Dragon.' They read: @rxngazz "Fake news I've watched it and I think I would notice if Tony stark was in it lmao" @naterg07 "My dumbass saw the shortened title on ig and thought house md" @incoming00 "Source: trust me bro" @victorsilvapaula "Fake" @leesburghdotcom "That clearly didn't happen" @_husseinaboud "Seriously"
(screencap/@disbussingfilm on Threads)

Did Robert Downey Jr. go to Westeros?

Short answer: no. Slightly longer answer: Obviously f***ing not!

Now, were the folks saying things like “Fake news I’ve watched it and I think I would notice if Tony stark was in it lmao” also being satirical in their responses? Could they have been saying things like “Source: trust me bro” sarcastically? That’s absolutely possible.

But since the Internet is a tricky place in which to establish tone, I just want to be clear to everyone within reach of this post: Robert Downey Jr. was not on House of the Dragon this week, nor are there any reported plans to have him on the show at all.

Though it would be pretty hilarious on the show’s part to make that happen. Paging Ryan Condal. Only you (coupled with probably millions of dollars from HBO) can make this joke a reality. Surely a social media post reference is worth millions. Right?

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.