If you’ve been wondering why Jon Favreau’s next project is Cowboys & Aliens instead of another Iron Man movie, then here’s your answer: They aren’t doing one; at least not for a long time.

Favreau spoke to Coming Soon on the future of Iron Man and revealed that Iron Man 3 is “years” down the road and “that has to reflect the reality of what's been established not just in 'Iron Man 1 and 2,' but in movie time, between this film and that film, is 'The Incredible Hulk,' 'Thor,' 'Captain America ,' and 'The Avengers.' I haven't had to inherit anybody else's backstory yet--it's just simply what we chose to use or not use from the comic books--so I'm feeling like I'm passing the baton and after all those movies are done, it's time to sit down and discuss if there's something I can bring to it, if it's something we want to do together, but that's way down the road.”

There had been some speculation that since The Avengers is still so far off itself (Summer 2012), Marvel might slip in a third Iron Man before then. At least now we can put that to rest. So Favreau’s got another gig and it sounds like he’ll re-evaluate where the whole Iron Man thing is at when Marvel gets to it.

Between Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 (if it happens at all), Tony Stark will appear in at least one movie which won’t be directed by Favreau in The Avengers. Though Favs is exec producing Avengers, by the time they’re done with it, he may not be interested in picking up Iron Man again. Enjoy Iron Man 2, it could easily be Jon Favreau’s last stint in the Iron director’s chair.

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