Geez, when is a guy supposed to sleep? I hit the sack last night after watching Heroes, and wake up to the earth-shattering news that Terrence Howard will not be reprising his role as Jim Rhodes in Iron Man 2! He’s been replaced by…

Don Cheadle?

Apparently the swap is due to dollar signs. No specifics have leaked out, but Howard probably wanted more than Marvel was offering him to play the role in the sequel to the highly successful first film. It’s well known that Marvel tried to lowball director Jon Favreau for his return to the big chair for Iron Man 2. I’m sure that everyone will be getting bigger paychecks but I guess things didn’t work out with Terrence.

What’s ironic about this is that he’s been fired up since day one about expanding his role and getting to play another armored character very big in the world of Iron Man: War Machine. Even back during the 2007 Comic-Con during the roundtable interview I attended, he had a spark in his eye when the possibility of donning the silver armor was mentioned. Also, no doubt he would have had a much larger role in the sequel than he did in Iron Man.

This is a real head-scratcher and the first bit of bad news surrounding the budding franchise.

Now I was never a big fan of Terrence Howard in the role of James Rhodes – being a longtime reader of the comic book, I thought he was too soft-spoken for the role. So who do I think would have been a great “Rhodey?”

Wesley Snipes.

Yeah, yeah – he doesn’t have the acting chops of Howard, but he’s a much better match for the hard-edged, feet-on-the-ground military man that was Rhodey in the comics. He’s even the right age to match up with Robert Downey Jr.

So what about Don Cheadle? He’s a fine actor and I enjoy him in his films, but again, he doesn’t strike me as Jim Rhodes. And I just cannot picture him donning the War Machine armor.

Maybe I need to go watch his latest film Traitor to get a feel for him an a more action-adventure type of role, but right now I can’t get the character he played in Ocean’s 11, 12 & 13 out of my head.

I know that a lot of people are big fans of Terrence Howard as Tony Stark’s best friend and I think (my personal preferences notwithstanding) that switching actors is not a good thing. It’ll be jarring (at least initially) to buy into Cheadle playing Rhodes when every other character in the film wil be played by the same actors that appeared in the first one.

I mean if this becomes a trilogy, it has the possibility of hitting $1.5 BILLION worldwide in the end in box office alone, and if War Machine/Rhodes will be a pivotal character in the next film you’d think the studio could toss a few more bucks at Howard. Of course I have no idea what he’s asking for, so who knows whether it’s unreasonable or not.

Source: Hollywood Reporter