Did ‘Iron Man 2′ Cost Jon Favreau ‘The Avengers’ Job?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

When the first Iron Man surpassed even the highest expectations, locking director Jon Favreau in as the director for the sequel seemed like a foregone conclusion. However, Marvel initially made him a paltry offer and there was a brief moment where fans contemplated the possibility of Iron Man 2 moving forward without Favreau calling the shots.

Ultimately Marvel came to their senses, realizing how integral Favreau was to the continued success of the franchise – and a much more lucrative deal was worked out. Favreau was initially concerned over how quickly Marvel wanted to get Iron Man 2 into production but evidently one of the reasons he agreed to the accelerated schedule was the opportunity for first dibs on The Avengers.

Though Favreau won that particular battle, it may have cost him the war.

According to one of Cinema Blend‘s most trusted sources, Favreau’s Iron Man 2 payday was a huge factor in the studio’s decision to leave him off the list of candidates to direct The Avengers:

“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.”

It seems extremely underhanded, if you believe that Marvel lead Favreau to believe he was the front-runner to helm The Avengers, while having already quietly decided they had no intentions of offering it to him. To add insult to injury, it was all the tedious Avengers set-up shoe-horned into Iron Man 2 that apparently kept Favreau from making the film he really wanted to make.

Cinema Blend‘s source claims that both Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. were unhappy with the end result of Iron Man 2 and blame Marvel’s interference for its shortcomings. They even speculate that the director’s relationship with the studio took such a beating he may not be interested in returning for Iron Man 3. The first Iron Man also entered production without a finished script – but Favreau was still able to deliver an extraordinary final product. I just assumed they weren’t able to catch lightning in a bottle a second time.

Downey has no choice but to appear in Iron Man 3 – as he’s still under contract. Although he was quite enthusiastic when the cast of The Avengers assembled for the first time at Comic-Con, Cinema Blend seems to think that after Iron Man 3, he won’t likely extend his contract – and we probably won’t see him as Tony Stark again.

I know Iron Man 2 has plenty of supporters and I’d never call it a bad film, but I don’t think it’s even close to the same league as its predecessor. I walked out of the theater feeling like Marvel’s initial film adaptation successes had made them trigger happy – and that the movie would have greatly benefited from another year of development.

To hear Favreau had other ideas for Iron Man 2 is especially disappointing, as the S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline continually derailed what should have been the focus of the movie – Tony Stark’s plight. It wasn’t the only thing wrong with Iron Man 2 but it certainly didn’t help. I wanted something that worked as a stand alone film in addition to being another stepping stone to The Avengers. Instead, the film only seemed concerned with telling us how cool the future Marvel movies were going to be.

Favreau didn’t spend too much time wallowing in his grief, and if there was indeed this level of friction, he remained extremely diplomatic about it when discussing his involvement with The Avengers last fall. He of course moved on to Cowboys & Aliens and Marvel found an affordable director for The Avengers in Joss Whedon.

As reliable as Cinema Blend‘s source may be, we obviously can’t consider any of this to be definitive – Favreau was discussing Iron Man 3 as recently as April and if there actually is some bad blood, there’s a good chance things could get patched up before the film gets underway. Fan reaction to Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers is also going to play a huge part in the direction of future Marvel movies.

Follow me on Twitter @chrisschrader1 and our main feed @screenrant.

Source: Cinema Blend.

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  1. If this is true, someone’s head needs to roll. To hear that Favreau was rushed into anything when he practically was responsible for the foundation Marvel studios has, is nauseating. The first Iron Man was incredible. That alone should have given him the leverage he needed, after all, Marvel studios is in its infancy!

  2. when i read the title i thought it was because iron man 2 was subpar.

  3. still havent seen it, and wont either, im pretty much done with this drama BS

    • what you haven’t seen yet? IM2?

      • nope, dont plan on it either lol

  4. Anthony
    OMFG r u kidding me?!? Well it was good not great. NOT beeter than the first!!! But still worth a watch man^^ anyways i cant wait for part 3!!!! Oh and if they replace him after 3,itll suck nuff said.

    • I unfortunately missed the film in theaters. Luckily the BD comes out at the end of next month.

      • i wont see it ricky, sorry man.

  5. Hm. Interesting. You know, I really bought that story of him just wanting to be exec producer from then on..

  6. and YES, IRON MAN 2 is MARVEL’S fault — hadn’t they rushed it like a mother-effer, we wouldn’t have gotten such a bland sequel..

  7. Matt K
    wow,alot of ppl missed this! Dude its not as good as ppl say its a movie u only see once….

  8. Well its only worth one watch thats all. I dont think it belongs in a BR collection youll get bored of the movie…

  9. Anthony
    Thats cool if u dont i could care less…..its not a movie u NEED to see.

  10. I’m sorry but this isn’t news everybody. You can see all this from a mile away. Marvel are a bunch of cheap schmucks and they ruined Iron Man 2. Seriously, Iron Man 2 sucked hard only because of all the corny Avengers and SHIELD crap and the awful acting from Sam Jackson and ScarJo. The only redeeming qualities it has are the bits of greatness that Favreau injected like Stark and Hammer’s relationship and the few, and I mean few, action scenes. Marvels tramp stamp was all over that film and really showed the difference between quality superhero films like The Dark Knight and cash grabs like Iron Man 2. Did I mention that Thor looks like utter crap.

  11. Ahhh…i wanted more action in IM2,that was BS wat we got only 2 fight scenes between him and whiplash?!? Wtf?!?

  12. It’s Marvel’s characters, Marvel’s money and in the end Marcel’s decision as to who directs their movies.

    I sympathize with Favreau but Ironman isn’t his intellectual property so there has to be a bit of give and take.

    All roads must lead to the Avengers….

  13. I still say despite it’s many faults overall IM2 was butter than the first. The first two acts of IM were superb just awesome but the third act was so friggen awful it ruined the film it took a movie that started amazing and made the overall project just ok. The second film was pretty good overall and at least consistant throughout the entire film.

    Anthony why on earth do you refuse to see IM2 that doesn’t even make sense. Did you think the first one sucked? Because that is the only possible way that would make sense. If your refusing to see it because of lame behind the scenes drama that no one would know about that’s a pretty lame reason.

    • its not a lame reason to me daniel, sorry bro. :D

  14. Jeph Loeb is Marvel’s TV guy, that should tell you enough about how they are treating their media divisions. Loeb can write a hell of a Batman story but his Marvel stuff has been pretty much garbo and hated by many fans(see Red Hulk). Norton, kicked out because of his passion for TIH and wanting more of a story rather then a summer blockbuster and now this? When I heard they were initially jerking Favs around for IM2 I got pretty angry. The way Marvel is doing things isn’t very pretty and they appear to be burning some bridges to exceptional talent. Very disappointing. I hope Nolan has more control over at DC/Warner so that this type of infighting doesn’t happen when DC brings their universe together, who will be the revamped Batman though since Nolan’s Batman is separate from the rest of the DC Universe?

    • ACSLATERSON– Nolan’s Batman is not separate from the rest of the DC Universe. Initially I think it was suppose to be, but not anymore. Nolan now will incorporate his Batman world into the fold. Christian Bale is hoped to recast as Batman and they will get underway on a new Superman Movie, the GreenLantern Movie is coming out next year. So ultimately the JLA will be coming out in a couple years.

      I totally agree with you on your comments about Marvel. I’m a huge Marvel fan, and they are becoming a public relations disaster. I can imagine not just to the fans, but to the actors as well. This is something that just does not sit well with me at all. Marvel is burning their bridges and they are acting like a toddler studio. Sometimes I think though it comes down to one or two people who represent the company and if one or two people go about their business in this way, they make the entire studio look bad. Somehow I feel Kevin Feigne is one of those persons in question. Who may or may not be going about their business the right way. Case in point, the way he has handled publicly the Edward Norton situation. Very immature.

      This kind of stuff is becoming a pattern. Remember the term, what goes around comes around? You pay for cheap talent (directors/actors) that’s what you get.

  15. Can you imagine the stuff Marvel is telling the directors of Thor and Capt America to do. I have said it till I am blue in the face, Avengers is not ready, Hulk was abandoned with out real justification and the burden was put to Iron Man 2. this movie was choked by setting up Thor, Capt America and ultimately the Avengers. Now the other two characters only get one movie before the big team up? If either one fails its game over, forget Edward Norton they are going to have to recast the whole thing. All main characters should have at least two movies to establish themselves and then a collaboration film called the Avengers. One saving grace is if Iron Man 3 is released after the Avengers then it will be able to stand on its own.

  16. Wow MJ makes a great point. These characters needed two films to establish this. If all this is true and RDJ is not Stark in Avengers then it could be the biggest sinking then the Titanic. Or the biggest bust since Jamarcus Russel (hey preseason is about to start). Favs needs to be on board in some way making some kind of decision in the Avengers. One thing I will say is I do like crossovers being brought to the big screen.

  17. I disagree everyone needs two films. I think they are doing the film amount just right. Capt really only needs to establish origins in his films before the avengers he doesn’t need a second film before. Honestly IM is the only one that needs two since stark was more of an loner and it would take time to convince him. Thor and capt didn’t need the same convincing. Thors arrival instantly brings attention to him and after the origin he has no need to resist diving in to a film and capt would be eager to join especially since it would be Shield to thaw him. Besides with only one film before bringing them in to the fold it gives them two solo films after Avengers where they have more freedom and less Avengers being shoved down our throats. Alot of people complain IM2 spent to much time building Avengers. So Capt 2 and Thor2 will be a little more free because Avengers has already been established and built up.

    • .the movie was great-could’ve been better,but its definitely not a prince of persia or last airbender…also unless you see the film,then you can argue its validity..just because one idiot doesn’t like it doesn’t mean its a bad film..i liked it. it was entertaining and worth the money and thats it. could it have gone the extra mile???of course..did it need to??
      not really..it had what everyone wanted or expected to be in the film..
      IM’s alcoholism, Black Widow,War Machine,a dash of pre-Avengers,comedy,and alot of stuff blowin up.wtf more did you want??the mandarin and his 5 rings?? More russian spy s***??Him goin after other countries that took his stuff?? his suit gettin a life of its own??c’mon man its only the second flick..You guys ask too much to be entertained..
      Should there have been more”playboy” stark??ehh did you need it to??I do agree that IM3 or 4 may be RDJ’s last foray in this genre, maybe the second and third avengers too if there isn’t a 4th IM. I also agree that Marvel though they may think it smart to go cheap with Actors,and other film related issues, it will bite them in the ass if they continue that habit…Directors need money too and if they decide to keep costs down by cutting out certain film tools or necessary CGI-they may end up becoming B-movie studio in relation to other established studios..Don’t get me wrong-Disney is there bankroll..for now…Look what happened to MiraMax and Touchstone..Disney isn’t stupid and will use the products as long as it consistently makes cash but if other studios constantly improve their film tech,if Marvel doesn’t stay ahead or at least in the game, then they may get left behind with only IM,IM2 and INC.Hulk as their best..

  18. I honestly can’t say I’m thrilled by the faint odor of MARVEL becoming SONY/FOX-ified, but I’m also not surprised…
    I skipped IM2 at the theater because I saw plenty enough during the internet “run-up” for the film that I decided to wait for the rental, and from most accounts (with all due respect Daniel F), it didn’t hold up well on the tail of the first IM film. The biggest prob I see in this industry is that once you’ve shot a great film…unless your last name is NOLAN, or SPIELBERG, or BAY ( I say that cringing horribly…), you shouldn’t expect a raise, cuz lets face it yall’…In Hollywierd, NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED!
    I have hopes for the Avengers flick, but DAMN…when are “The Suits” gonna begin to give a rat’s @$$ about us???

    (Sigh…) End of Rant. Thanks for playing…

  19. Thats exactly the word I would have used for Joss Whedon ‘Affordable’

    • My point exactly. :-)

  20. IM1 was a great super hero film. IM2 was entertaining but nothing special. TIH was also a great film.

    As a studio in it’s infancy, you would think they’ve learnt some important lessons in film making but quite obviously there’s a screw loose rattling around in the initially well oiled machine.

    I never thought I would be but I’m really disappointed with MARVEL’S cheap Uncle Scrooge tactics. On the other hand maybe DISNEY need to take more creative control and teach the MARVEL suits a lesson or two, I don’t know.

    I can only shake my head with disbelief if they continue interfering with actors and directors artistic merits.

    They will dig a bigger hole to sink into and become the laughing stock of the movie industry for truly stuffing things up.

  21. Drsam affordable is accurate…. Of course so is very creative, talented and awesome. Oh and the phrase Great F-ing choice comes to mind as well.

    • I used to think as you do.

  22. I don’t know about you guys, but that Monaco racetrack scene in Iron Man 2 was freakin’ awesome to me. I think that is a taste of how the movie was meant to be from Fav, but what we got instead was the rest of the movie being WAY less intense than that…

    • Agreed. The racetrack sequence was an absolute highlight. And the film was hardly what I would call bad, but there was a much better story hidden in there somewhere. Sam Rockwell stole the show in that movie.

      • Maybe Im wrong guys,but my overall gripe with the film the fact it seemed to be missing something.I dont know what,but it just felt lackluster.It was a good movie,dont get me wrong,but it seems “light” on something.Not to mention Samuel L Jackson was not Nick Fury in the film.He was simply Sam Jackson with an eye patch.Which pissed me off big time.It just felt like he randomly showed up and had something to say.IM 1 was an awesome overall feel b/c it felt balanced and flowed well.I was never bored,just entertained and wow’d.lol.

        and IM 2 was nothing more than a prelude to the avengers movie.Caps Shield,the first appearance of Mjolnir after the credits were all things that seemed thrown in.We were surprised to see Nick Fury at the end of the credits in IM 1,as well as Downey popping up in Hulk.But IM2 just felt like cheap appearances for the sake of its big film.The Avengers.I maybe wrong,but thats what it seems like

        • I honestly wish they hadn’t gone with Sam Jackson for Nick Fury. It seemed like a lazy choice since they based the Ultimates version of Fury on Sam Jackson. They should have found someone who could pull off the original Nick Fury. My vote would have been Kurt Russell, but he would need to get back in shape like he did for Soldier, lol.

          • russell woulda looked like an older, shorter haired version of Pliskin LOL

  23. Reading this makes me wonder if Norton’s fee might have played a part in Marvel dropping him from the Avengers?

  24. I think we just look to give passes to directors we like. Iron Man II was lackluster at best, not just because of the shield angle, but because of the overly-light hearted, comical tone, two extremely weak villains, an ill conceived final battle in an empty park, and a lame storyline with Rhodey that took away from the film more than it added to it. I fault Downey, who championed the writer who got the job, the lame script, and the direction. The movie just had too many weaknesses. To blame big bad Marvel and the shield angle is too convenient. The first Iron Man and the Hulk were both very good films created under Marvel’s watchful eye, so it can be done.

  25. Actually wepz Nolan has made it very very clear several times in fact that his batman is in a world with out any other Heroes ever. His batman is seperate from anyone else. Nolan was sure to make it clear to the world. He is only godfatherimg superman to make sure it’s a good film. This superman is not connected to Bale as batman.

    • THat’s not accurate. There are rumors that DC will be building a shared universe and that the Batman trilogy will be the beginning of that, with Green Lantern being the next hero to “emerge” followed by Superman.

      Read up on it here:


      • It wont be Nolan’s Batman that shares in that universe, by the time Gl is up and running as a franchise, Superman is relaunched, and The Flash is speeding onto our screens it will be time for a new Batman.

        • There will probably be a new Bats – doesn’t mean the continuity of the trilogy Nolan did won’t be included in the Justice League universe.

          And Dan F – Sure it’s just rumor right now, but personally speaking it’s not a rumor I’m betting against. We’ll have to wait and see.

          • Nolan has stated several times that his Batman lives in a contained universe. I very much doubt the continuity will be followed into a JL movie.

  26. I dont think Fav is all that! he not that good a director,We should give Joss wWhedon the benefit of the doubt and it may be HIS “Iron Man” but i’ve seen nothing about the guy that says he’ll do a good job and lets face it AVENGERS is a mighty big film to screw up om if it happens, wouldn’t want to be him if it turnd out to be crap.Not really sure if Fav could do any better.

    • But, what if they do what they were gonna do with Justice League? Slice up characters previously established in previous movies, like removing Christian Bale, who has been Batman for, what, six years? So far, I’m used to RDJr as Tony Stark. I mean, how much recasting do we stand? They’ve already gotten rid of Norton…

  27. 1. Havnt heard those rumors at all.

    2. They are simply rumors I’ll base my stance on Nolans exact words on the subject rather than unsubstantial rumors.

  28. I’m LOVING THIS. After all the denial fanboys had when IM2 came out, finally it’s revealed that the star and director hated it too – for exactly the same reasons I wrote about here:


    Sure I’m bragging unnecessarily – I just can’t help but feel a little validated for keeping myself objective and not letting my geekness blind me to a truly sub-par movie. Marvel crapped the bed with IM2 – meaning they crapped the bed with their Avengers springboard.

    • You’re not bragging, you’re exaggerating like a four year old. Where exactly does it say that director and star hated the film? Unless i see an interview with JF and RDG saying those words, I will no longer believe any article you write, and I use the term ‘write’ loosely as woefully conjecture is more appropriate!

      • give em hell kofi!!!

      • @Beckett

        LOL – I’ll add this threat/insult to the long list of times you’ve sworn never to read what I write (woefully conjecture?) again. I love it when you bash me in big fancy words. It’s sexy.

        @Dan F
        I try not to, but that face in the mirror is just so pretty:


        See what I mean?

        • Yes. Well. Glad to be of assistance.

    • You all won’t believe me, I think most of you are to big of comic book lovers to agree with me. But the JL and Avengers will really hurt the quailty of super hero movies, and set the number of comic book movies produced.

      They will drive the non comic lovers (like myself) who enjoy the amazing movie TDK, IM and even the Norton Hulk away from the movies.

      The semi realism, controled universes and great stories is what allowed us to enjoy the movies with you. The closers these movies move toward avengers, and JL the will lose more and more people looking forward to the next installment of the franchises just has Iron man 2, and spiderman 3 did.

      • I am a huge comic book fan, but I also agree with you. The Avengers will be the death of comic book movies.

  29. They Spider-Man-3′d it. They rushed it and tossed it together to make way for something bigger…which is kinda good, as it was given to us quicker, but they kinda screwed up, making it an advertisement for the Avengers. You gotta take the good with the bad, though; Favreau tried to make it as good as he could, and I think it could have been a lot worse. We still got that post-credit scene, which, when I went to go see it in theaters, had every fanboy creaming his jeans. I heard that Marvel wanted it in the actual movie.