When the news broke earlier today that Jon Favreau had walked away from Marvel and would not be directing Iron Man 3, it was obviously huge news for the geek community, but even huger news for our resident Marvel Universe expert Eric Eisenberg, who saw Iron Man 2 with Katey and explained all the Avengers references, and helped her decide whether Mark Ruffalo would make for a good Hulk. With Katey still no Marvel expert, clearly it was time for her to seek advice and understanding from Eric once more.

They took to Gchat to talk it out, give Favreau some advice and wonder how all of this will affect Joss Whedon as he puts The Avengers together. Check out their conversation below, and chime in with your own thoughts or encouragement for Favreau in his future endeavors below.

KATEY:? ? ?So Eric, Favreau exiting Iron Man 3 didn't come as a total surprise to us, given that we had reported the rumor months ago. But were you still surprised to actually see it come true??

ERIC:? ? ?I was surprised in the sense that Favreau has been talking up the sequel in the time since, giving us all the impression that he would be directing it? you don't have to look much further than the interview he did last week with MTV we knew that things were stressed between him and the studio, but it was never really public until today.

KATEY:? ? ?I was pretty surprised too, actually, because it did seem like they were recommitting to make the third movie make a lot more sense than the second?. But then it seems Favreau and Marvel were at odds the moment Iron Man became such a hit. They were even being a pain when it came to bringing him back for the sequel, like they were pretending he wasn't the reason the first movie worked at all to begin with. It seems the studio has consistently undervalued him, so he's taking his chips and walking. Can't blame him, really.


ERIC:? ? ?Absolutely?. I don't think that there's anyone that will side with Marvel on this one. A lot of credit must be given to Downey Jr. for his portrayal, but you can't deny the impact that Favreau's direction had. The man set the entire tone of the franchise. Even worse, now we probably don't have a Happy Hogan

KATEY:? ? ?Ha, I don't actually think that's even worse?

ERIC:? ? ?it doesn't help?

KATEY: ?But I agree that he gets credit not only for setting the tone for the franchise, but the reason we're interested in the Marvel universe at all?. I can't imagine Joss Whedon as the Avengers director without Favreau's Iron Man. I mean, obviously Marvel knew they wanted a movie with a comedic tone, which is why they hired him in the first place. But still, he definitely set the standard that they're working from with all the other Marvel movies.

ERIC:? ? ?Absolutely?. What's truly irritating is that Marvel keeps talking about the importance of continuity in the press, but doesn't really show it in the moves that they make. Beyond just the actors, anyone they bring in for the third movie is going to have a different vision than Favreau. Favreau has spent two movies informing this universe, and a shift like that in the third movie won't help anything.

KATEY:? ? ?Although, I'd argue that after the mess of the second movie, a different vision is somewhat warranted?. I just was hoping Favreau would be the one shifting gears, not someone else coming in and trying to imitate him.



ERIC:? ?B?ut the disorganization in the second film wasn't Favreau's fault, that was the pressure being applied by the studio?. This actually has a lot of parallels to the Raimi Spider-Man franchise.

KATEY:? ? ?I don't know, I'm not willing to let Favs totally off the hook on Iron Man 2?

ERIC:? Maybe not entirely, but most of the blame does have to be shift on to the studio?. They're so focused on building the Marvel Movie Universe that they are letting the solo films suffer from clutter.

?KATEY:? ?That's fair, but I don't know that we're really in a position to assign proper blame or not?. And anyway, apparently it's time to move on. Who do you think they'll find to replace him for the third one? Or will Robert Downey Jr. just pull some kind of jujitsu and get out of it entirely and cancel the sequel?

ERIC:? ? ?I'm fairly certain that RDJ is under contract for at least a third film, so I don't see him getting out?. As for suggestions, it really comes down to finding a guy that can handle both the humor and the action. Which isn't exactly easy.

KATEY:? ? ?Yeah, as the hunt for an Avengers director already indicated? And honestly, I'm not sure who's going to WANT this job, with an overbearing studio and a star who probably wishes he'd never signed up for this shit. Obviously, yes, there are plenty of people dying to make their name by directing Iron Man 3-- but it's an incredibly tough spot to be put in.

ERIC:? ? ?I imagine that it will likely be a younger, more inexperienced director who is willing to bow to the studios demand?. Same as the Spider-Man reboot.

KATEY: ?yeah, it's definitely a worthwhile parallel-- and maybe in this case we've spared ourselves the terrible third film and can move right on to the reboot?.

ERIC:? I'm fairly certain that if there's a word that Marvel fans are truly sick of, it's "reboot"?.

KATEY: The thing is, and you know this well, is I don't care much about the Marvel world at all, and really just enjoy seeing well-made superhero movies.<> ?And it bums me out that Marvel has scared away the one guy who seems to be possible of making them both good and fun?.



ERIC:? ? ?the good news is that it's not as though they are going into production any time soon?. Iron Man 3 doesn't have a release date until May 2013 so perhaps things will calm down and the two sides can figure things out. But that's an incredibly optimistic viewpoint and even I recognize how unlikely it is.

KATEY:? ? ?And knowing now that Marvel is still making Favreau miserable, wouldn't you rather just see him move on? I mean, the Magic Kingdom movie doesn't exactly look brilliant, but he could make something fun out of it?. Given how strong Cowboys & Aliens is looking at this point, I feel like he has a lot to offer, and would benefit from getting out of the Marvel universe even if the working relationship was really strong.

ERIC:? ? ?the impression that I get from the guy is that he really loves what he does, and if Marvel can't provide a hospitable work environment, he should bolt? he has the talent to make the movies that he wants to make for a studio that will better appreciate him.

KATEY:? ? How about The Avengers? Do you now worry that Joss Whedon is anxiously eyeing the exit as well, and we'll get something even bigger than uglier than Iron Man 2?

ERIC:? ? ?I hope for the exact opposite?. I want Marvel to understand what they've lost in Favreau and treat Whedon like a king.

KATEY: ?But what do you think are the odds that will happen??

ERIC:? ?C?onsidering they've already have him do work on the script for Captain America and knowing his love of the medium, I think that Whedon probably won't be ?fazed? by this at all?.

KATEY:? ?W?hat's one thing you'd like to say to Jon Favreau right now?? Right now all I can think of of is "Attaboy"

ERIC:? ? ?same idea: "Good for you."?

KATEY: ?And to Marvel??

ERIC:? ? ?"Stop with all of the franchise thoughts and just focus on the now?." You?

KATEY: ?"Make good movies, because we will lose interest if you don't"?

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