UPDATE: Favreau explains the situation.
Uh-oh, looks like the rift that has been slowly developing between director Jon Favreau and Marvel is starting to widen, as New York Magazine reports that he will likely not be back to helm Iron Man 3. The report speculates that Favreau was growing frustrated and confused both with Marvel’s short timetables, as well as their desire to force more characters and connections to other Marvel film franchises into the film, citing this quote from a recent MTV interview:
“In theory, Iron Man 3 is going to be a sequel or continuation of Thor, Hulk, Captain America and Avengers,” said Favreau at the time, “This whole world … I have no idea what it is. I don’t think they do either, from conversations I’ve had with those guys.”
Cost may have also played a huge role in the discussions between the two sides as well. Favreau is now a top-line director coming off the success of Elf and the Iron Man films, and his asking price may have been too steep for Marvel at this crucial stage. It appears as if Marvel is doing all it can to land cheap directors, and low-ball actors’ salaries while locking them into long-term franchise deals, in order to pour all the finances into special effects and other production costs.
The thing that worries me the most about this is the possibility of losing Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, since his contract for future Iron Man films has a director approval clause. His chemistry with Favreau allowed him to create a truly unique character that was cocky and cutthroat, but also vulnerable and funny. Let us hope and pray that Iron Man 3 does not follow in the footsteps of another Marvel property that lost its visionary director and was rushed into a quick cash-in at the box office. *Shudder*