“We create our own demons”: Meaning Behind ‘Iron Man 3’ Quote

We all create our monsters 1

”We create our demons.” It was an opening line and the first thing Tony Stark says at the beginning of the Iron Man 3 movie. We can all agree that the saying resonates powerfully and hints that something big is about to go down. The meaning of the quote can be interpreted in a few different ways, but the most common understanding is that it refers to the idea that our actions and decisions can have unintended consequences and that we may create our own problems through our own behavior. But let’s see what is the exact meaning behind “We create our own demons” when said by Tony in Iron Man 3.

When Tony says ”We create our own demons”, he is reflecting on his own actions in the past and how the decisions he made way back came haunting him in the present. When Tony tricked Aldrich Killian and left him waiting on the roof on New Year’s Eve, he had no idea those actions would lead to the creation of one of his greatest enemies, Killian, who used Mandarin as a cover.

In Iron Man 3, Tony’s personality got him in trouble once again as he made enemies due to his arrogance and dismissive behavior toward others. At the beginning of the movie, Tony narrates the story of what happened in Bern, Switzerland, in 1999. In the post-credit scenes, we actually find out that the whole time he was narrating the story in a therapy session to his unusual therapist, Dr. Bruce Banner. Let’s see how it all went down and how exactly did Tony create his own demons.

It all started in Bern, Switzerland in 1999


Iron Man 3 movie starts with Tony Stark telling a quote ”We all create our own demons,”, and after a slight digression, he starts narrating his story which will later reveal what he meant by that saying.


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It all started in Bern, Switzerland in 1999. Tony was attending the “Bern Initiative,” a conference on clean energy. There he met Dr. Maya Hansen, who wanted to show him her research in her hotel room. As they were walking toward the elevator, Aldrich Killian approached them and introduced himself. Killian had long hair and a scruffy beard and was wearing shabby clothes, giving the impression of a man who has seen better days.

Killian mentioned that he is a fan of Maya’s work and gave Tony a proposition to work together on a new technology his company, AIM, invented. He claims that technology will revolutionize the field of human enhancement. However, Tony dismissed him, as he thought Killian was just another misguided scientist with a far-fetched idea. To get rid of him, Tony tricked Killian and made him wait on the rooftop of a hotel for Tony to show, which he never did.


Back in Maya’s hotel room, May shows Tony a research that she has been working on called “Extremis.” Extremis is a revolutionary treatment that rewrites the human genetic code, allowing for enhanced physical abilities and rapid healing. Tony is impressed by the potential of the technology and shows interest in it, but when the plant she was experimenting on exploded, it was clear that there is still a glitch. So, after spending the night with Maya, he left and never looked back.

However, 13 years, later, his past came knocking.

13 years later, Aldrich Killian returns with a new offer

In the present, Tony is keeping himself busy more than ever and is working on his new suit, Mark 42. He tries to keep himself distracted after the Chitauri invasion of New York and Loki’s attack. He also struggles with panic attacks.


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Along the way, Mandarin appeared. In the movie, Mandarin is a terrorist leader who claims responsibility for a series of bombings across the world. However, it is later revealed that the Mandarin is actually an actor named Trevor Slattery, hired by Killian to act as a figurehead for his terrorist organization. The real threat is Killian and his army of Extremis-enhanced soldiers.

Killian came to Tony’s life once again, 13 years after Tony left him waiting on the rooftop of a hotel. While Tony was away, Killian visited Pepper Potts at Stark Industries. He presented himself as a successful businessman and pitched his new company, Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), to Pepper, hoping to secure her financial support. During the meeting, he also showed her a prototype of the Extremis technology, claiming that it has the potential to revolutionize the human body.

Aldrich Killian 29 and Virginia Potts 29 from Iron Man 3 29 001

Pepper’s main concern was that the serum could be weaponized, so she declined his offer, as she was sure that Tony would do the same well. And that was now the second time Killian proposal was denied by Stark and his company.

Tony suffers the consequences of his prior choices

After that, Killian’s true colors are revealed, and the demon that Tony created came after him. Using Mandarin as a cover, Killian fired missiles upon Tony’s home, leaving it in ruins. Tony barely made it, and Pepper was abducted by Killian, with Maya’s help. Killian kidnapped Pepper and brings her to his mansion in an attempt to lure Tony.

Despite the uncertainty of whether Pepper’s body could handle the Extremis substance, Killian decided to inject her with it, causing her immense pain as her body tried to process it. Tony was later captured while trying to rescue Pepper, and Killian used a live feed of Pepper’s suffering and the moment when her body was determining whether to accept Extremis or detonate to manipulate Tony. Killian treated Pepper as a mere tool to achieve his goals.

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The final battle between Tony and Killian took place on an oil tanker. Tony summoned his Iron Legion against Killian’s Extremis Soldiers. Iron Man managed to defeat Killian with Pepper’s help, but he suffered a lot in the process. Eventually, Tony decided to initiate the Clean Slate Protocol and destroy all of his Iron Man suits. He even underwent surgery to remove all the shrapnel from his chest, so he no longer needed the arc reactor to keep him alive.


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All of these events were a product of a decision that Tony made 13 years in the past, back in Switzerland. Overall, ”We all create our demons” was a great line to start the movie with, as it perfectly prepared the audience for what followed.

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