On Thursday at D23, the 2019 Disney Legends Honorees were announced. The achievement honors those who have made remarkable contributions to the company’s legacy in a variety of ways. 2019’s recipients prove that range – and the brand’s reach – by including composers, news anchors, producers and actors from the Marvel films. Notably among them are Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau and Ming-Na Wen.
Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner, Robert Downey Jr., fondly referred to as RDJ, is considered one of the pillars of Disney’s Marvel movies. He kicked off the franchise when he first portrayed Iron Man in 2008 and carried it all the way to today with the box office breaking Avengers: Endgame. The fact that he’s appeared in nearly half of every Marvel movie goes to show how intertwined he is to the Marvel brand. His work for Disney continues in the upcoming Voyage of Doctor Dolittle and the final entry in the Sherlock Holmes franchise.
In the trenches alongside Downey Jr. is Jon Favreau. Though his role in the MCU is lesser known, that’s only because he’s typically behind the camera. Favreau only directed the the first two Iron Man movies but acted as executive producer of all three, as well as Marvel’s The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Avengers: Infinity War. Not to mention his recurring role as Tony Stark’s bodyguard, Happy Hogan. He’s also writing and executive producing Disney’s hotly anticipated Star Wars show, The Mandalorian.
While Favreau and RDJ put their time in on the silver screen, Ming-Na Wen finds her contributions on Disney’s TV programming. Fans will recognize her from a range of shows, but she’s probably best known for her performance as Agent Melinda May on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the show for fans who left theaters wanting more. Before that, Wen made a name for herself as the voice of Mulan. Though that role alone is probably worthy of the Disney Legend title, she took her voice acting further. Wen makes appearances in Disney XD’s Guardians of the Galaxy as Phyla-Vell and in Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors as the movie’s villain, Hala.
Other notable recipients include James Earl Jones for his various voice acting performances, multi-award winning director Kenny Ortega and ESPN contributor Robin Roberts. Disney CEO Bob Iger described what it means to become a Disney Legends Honoree, saying, “The Disney Legends Award is the highest honor we can bestow; it’s a recognition of talent, a celebration of achievement, and an expression of profound gratitude to the remarkable men and women who have made an indelible mark on our company and our creative legacy.”


  1. Also worth mentioning that Favreau directed the “live action” version of the Jungle Book and the forthcoming Lion King remake.

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