Could Jon Favreau be finished calling the shots with the Iron Man series? According to a report from New York Magazine's Vulture, this may be the case. While nothing has been confirmed (*see update below) and the exact reason for his apparent exit was not made clear, speculation has been abound that the relationship between Favreau and Marvel has been fizzling out. According to the report, the search for a new director for Iron Man 3 has already begun. Indeed, it would be quite a blow to the series to lose the director who, doubling on screen as Tony Stark's friend Happy Hogan, did such a tremendous job giving the series a nice balance between pure action, comedy, and character development. It's an admirable feat to get such well-rounded films, considering that the series is essentially about a billionaire who creates a suit of armor to burn terrorists and beat the crap out of evil industrialists. So, what's the reasoning behind this parting of the ways? There are some theories.
One theory centers on a creative conflict. When looking at a project with such an ambitious scope as Joss Whedon's The Avengers in 2012, the future of the Iron Man series is not only at the mercy of the mega-movie's production schedule, but exactly what it will do with its main character. The film in question, Iron Man 3 was recently announced for 2013 after the upcoming trilogy of crossover films, culminating in The Avengers. Therein lies a supposed disconnect between Favreau and the still non-existent expectations Marvel has for this third film. With no script, continued pressure to include a variety of characters from the Marvel Universe, Favreau has openly expressed his confusion and frustration about the increasingly complex movie continuity.
The other theory for his exit, is financial. Coming off a $10 million payday for Iron Man 2, it seems that the success of the Iron-films, along with auspicious numbers for his upcoming projects Cowboys & Aliens and Disney's Magic Kingdom (yes, they're making a movie about Disneyland,) have driven-up the price tag for the actor-turned-director to a level that may be too high for the studio's comfort. The report speculates that his asking price this time might be as high as $15 million, with 15% of the film's gross. Keeping in mind that Iron Man grossed about $585 million and Iron Man 2 grossed almost $622 million, we're looking at quite a hefty payday for part three. With star Robert Downey Jr. also having a portion of the till allocated for him, as well, you do get the impression that Disney, who have already spent $4 billion to acquire Marvel last year, are starting to see Favreau as replaceable. However, with the contract of star Robert Downey Jr. giving him a say in who directs the film, it will be interesting to see if things get messy if he decides to stand behind Favreau.
Iron Man 3 was recently given a release date of May 3, 2013, which actually came as quite surprise considering what Marvel already has on its plate. That's still quite a while away, so I can't imagine that a potential scramble for a new director would change that. How it will affect the film itself, is an entirely different question. Some argue that even without these issues, the Favreau-directed Iron Man 2 was inferior to its predecessor because it was too far reaching in what it tried to do, which threw off the pacing. Would a change in directors have made things different?
What's your reaction to the exit of Jon Favreau from the Iron Man series? Is it a deal-breaker? Or is a fresh perspective welcomed?
Update: Favreau has confirmed the news via Twitter. He is officially out of Iron Man 3.
Source: New York Magazine