No wonder Jon Favreau was so in the dark about Marvel's plans for their heroic film slate: The man who put Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man mask, and made Marvel a movie powerhouse, isn't coming back for the third go-round.
There are a couple of theories as to why Favreau is no longer the marquee director in Marvel's stable. According to New York Magazine, the first has to do with Marvel's apparent desire to stuff Iron Man 3 with a bunch of second-tier heroes—probably as a way to seed them for future movies or TV shows. When he spoke to MTV News a week or so ago, Favreau relayed his concerns about the ever-expanding Marvel Universe and its architects: "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."
The second theory has to do with money: namely, how much Favreau stood to make. When Marvel brought him on to do Iron Man, he was a blockbuster rookie they could get on the cheap. But after Iron Man went supernova, Favreau asked for, and got, $10 million to direct Iron Man 2, plus a share of the back end. For IM3, that number would likely go up, and the bottom-line-conscious Marvel—and Marvel's even more frugal owner, Disney—wanted to stem the tide. Now, the same circumstances apply to Downey, who was a gamble that Marvel bet on for the first flick and has since become one of Hollywood's biggest stars. If you're looking to trim costs and you've got two massively expensive elements, Favreau is the less-visible cut to make.
Regardless, Marvel began a search for a new Iron Man honcho last night, hoping to find someone who will jibe with Downey—who has director approval—and steer the red-and-yellow ship from here on out.