When word came down that Marvel was planning an Avengers movie which would bring all of their superhero franchises together in one place, a lot of people assumed Jon Favreau would be the top contender for the film’s directing job. After all, he started the modern Marvel craze with Iron Man and Favreau has sort of become the godfather of everything that happens in the Marvel movie universe. But somehow, he was never even considered and it wasn’t long before Favs moved on to Cowboys & Aliens. We never really knew why Favs wasn’t a contender for the Avengers job, at least until now.
According to one of our most reliable sources (this is the same source which first broke the news that Black Widow would be in Iron Man 2 and has given us numerous other confirmed scoops over the years) Favreau really wanted to direct The Avengers but Marvel didn’t want to pay for him. Their negotiations with Favreau to secure him as the director of Iron Man 2 were difficult and Favreau worked out a deal that got him paid more money. Marvel wasn’t willing to pay that kind of money again when it came time for The Avengers, and so even though Favs wanted to direct their superhero team-up movie, they didn’t want him. Instead Marvel has made it a point to seek out cheaper talent to direct all of their subsequent movies. Joss Whedon was hired to direct The Avengers and while he’s a mega-talented director he’s also a much cheaper hire than someone like Favreau.
It makes sense. If you’re making a movie like The Avengers, then to do it right you’ll end up spending a ton of money on special effects and talent. You have to cut costs somewhere and if you can do it while at the same time hiring incredibly talented people (like Whedon) then so much the better. But that doesn’t explain what happened to Iron Man 2.
If you’ve seen Iron Man 2 then you noticed that it wasn’t quite the movie we’d all hoped for. Actually it wasn’t very good. Part of the problem was the movie seemed wrapped around an odd, Avengers-focused, subplot which never really fit into the story. Jon Favreau may not have liked it any more than you or I do.
Our source says Iron Man 2 wasn’t the movie Jon Favreau wanted to make. Marvel interfered heavily with his work on the movie and turned the project into an infomercial for The Avengers. Favreau felt the movie was rushed into production (and if you followed the development process you know it was) and they pushed him into making it without a fully realized script. Iron Man 2 wasn’t the movie he wanted to make and because of that, if there’s an Iron Man 3, there’s every reason to think he won’t be back. Marvel doesn’t want to pay him and Favreau may not want to deal with more Marvel interference.
Favreau wasn’t the only one unhappy with Iron Man 2. Robert Downey Jr. saw those same problems and according to our source, “While he's locked for Iron Man 3, chances are, that will be his last movie.” In the meantime, Downey will get (and probably deserves) top billing in The Avengers.
While our source here is a proven commodity, as always with anything reported on the internet without official sanction, consider the above all rumor. Besides, there’s still plenty of time for Favreau and Marvel repair their relationship. Hopefully, before they start planning Iron Man 3, Marvel will have gotten around to playing kiss and make up with its Iron Man team.