Here’s Why Terrence Howard Isn’t In Iron Man 2

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 18th, 2013 at 6:12 pm,

A couple of weeks ago we asked if Terrence Howard had been blindsided by Marvel with his removal from Iron Man 2. According to that post the word that he was left out of the sequel and replaced by Don Cheadle came out of the blue, and he heard about it online like the rest of us. My first reaction was “What the heck is wrong with Marvel?” but I did figure that there were two sides to the story and we should wait until we heard the other side before coming to any conclusions.

Well we now have the other side of the story (albeit unofficially), and it’s quite fascinating and unusual.

According to Entertainment Weekly, while some insiders guessed it had to do with Howard being difficult on the set, the story has much more to it:

“Howard was the first actor signed to the film and, on top of that, was the highest-paid. That’s right: more than Gwyneth Paltrow. More than Jeff Bridges. More than Robert Downey Jr. And once the project fully came together, it was too late to renegotiate his deal.”

Wow. How’s that for an interesting twist? To further complicate matters, the word is that Jon Favreau was not very happy with Howard’s portrayal of Tony Stark’s long time friend Jim Rhodes. Again, there is no confirmation on this as Favreau did not comment on any of this.

I would not find this hard to believe because it seems that Favreau was going for the 1980s version of Iron Man in his selection and direction of Robert Downey Jr in the role. Being a long time reader of Iron Man in the comic books, I never thought (and have mentioned here more than once) that Terrence Howard was a good choice for the role. It should have been someone that could bring more gruffness and intensity to the role, as opposed to Howard’s soft-spoken version.

To delve deeper into this, it seems that Favreau and screenwriter for the next film Justin Theroux were minimizing Rhodey’s role in the second film due to the fact that Favs wasn’t happy with the performance in the first film. So… once Marvel heard that the role would be even smaller, considering how relatively speaking Terrence was overpaid for the first movie, they slashed his pay for the sequel drastically. Once Howard’s agents were informed they were taken aback at the huge pay cut.

It’s unclear who walked away first at this point, but it’s moot anyway. Terrence Howard is out and Don Cheadle is in. For more details on the story head over to the article at Entertainment Weekly.

Source: (and we first heard about this over at

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  1. I was gutted when I found out that they replaced Terrance Howard. He is an amazing actor and I love the on screen connection between Howard and Downey. Howard portrayal of the friendship between the two seems so genuine. And Howard is extremely good looking to boot. I was so unhappy that I didn’t bother to watch Iron Man 2.

    • How bout some Dwayne Johnson **it doesn’t need to be this way***

    • then you missed out on a good movie.

  2. You people need to think harder after reading this. I know its old but what im about to say should be referenced in the future and in all honesty should be standard practice in movies anyway. First why didn’t they make him sign a contract for a sequel deal to begin with? They knew there would be a sequel, what comic book hero movie hasn’t?. 2nd why oh why in this country do we flock to big name actors? There are plenty of no names with as much or maybe more talent than the big names who would of filled the roll just as well and sometimes even better for not near as much and would gladly sign for sequels if asked (its not like this is sports were you TRULY have to have something extra special to get paid more). And you wouldn’t have known the difference, in fact you would having been raving how good “john doe” was as Rhodes. Its not rocket science just common since. Look at Hugh Jackman, i never heard of him til X-Men and look how great he turned out. Now he is a BIG NAME actor. Halle Berry as Storm? Please. She was horrible for the part. Yes Terrence Howard is a marvelous actor there is no doubt. But when you replace an actor in a sequel it knocks 50% of like value right off the top before i even see it for me.

    • You are correct on all counts sir. Its the same way in the music biz. And the latter being the key as to why. Biz, the money end. Big name actors fill seats. Your average John or Jane Doe actor has to work their way to the top by sometimes doing a lot of smaller parts of leading indie films. Same in music. Bands play clubs for years sometimes before they make it. Would you rush to ticket master’s website and buy tickets for a band you never heard of if they were covering songs you DID know for a night? Most ppl prob would not. But maybe some ppl would. In Hollywood that’s called a gamble and they RARELY take those anymore. Just my 2 cents.

      • I’d agree with you up to a point. In music particularly if your a woman, you don’t necessarily have to have talent among that something. What helps is to be as it has been put forth by a model on the TedTalk, the winner of a genetic lottery. It helps to be white, attractive, and willing to be extreme, or bare a lot of skin. It least in the pop genre this is a pretty common trend.

        As for big name actors filling seats, how many big name actors did Star Wars have? Robert Downey Jr. while a known actor had never been in a film that made as much as Iron Man before doing Iron Man, he certainly wasn’t an A-list actor. At best he was a damn good character actor. His star began to rise after Iron Man. As far as prominent Black actors except for Sidney Poitier every major box-office draw as far as male actors had already made their name in another field before lucking into that perfect film. Richard Pryor – Comedy; Eddie Murphy – SNL, Morgan Freeman- television. And being in a hit film in American at least doesn’t guarantee you becoming a box-office name. You can name countless minority actors in hit films that didn’t make another film for years, Downey after Iron Man was booked into the next century. By all evidence the studio didn’t want Howard, and wanted Cheadle all along, he probably made the right choice in not taking 1 million, as studios can make a job miserable when dealing with an actor they don’t particularly like; moreso when that actor can’t demand millions and guarantee box-office.

    • “what comic book hero movie hasn’t [had a sequel]?”


  3. I have both movies and although Cheadle did a great job, the part would have been played easily as well by Howard. The switch, although not a deal breaker, left a little disapointment that detracted from the whole. I find it distracting to the “film” when I have to process the change instead of adding to the character developement that would have been taking place with Howard in the part…

  4. I didn’t watch Iron Man 2 since Howard wasn’t in it. After seeing his seen with the suit, all I could think of was WAR MACHINE!!!!

  5. Regardless of the money situation terrence should been the the 2 movie Iron man 2 was ok with don but had it confusing for 2different actor playing the same role

  6. I love Terrence Howard! He never should have been replaced for any reason. I think he did a kick ass job in iron man. If he was the highest paid actor so what?! That’s what they offered so that’s what he got. How is that his problem? If they think he was too softspoken then why the hell did they cast him in the first place? I hate it when they switch actors from one movie to the next. Makes me not even want to watch the next one.

    • Oh i highly agree with you what they did was wrong!

  7. I love Terrence Howard! He never should have been replaced for any reason. I think he did a kick butt job in iron man. If he was the highest paid actor so what?! That’s what they offered so that’s what he got. How is that his problem? If they think he was too softspoken then why the hell did they cast him in the first place? I hate it when they switch actors from one movie to the next. Makes me not even want to watch the next one.

  8. Now it’s 2012 and Ironman 2 has been out for awhile. The Avengers is out as well. Had I seen this earlier; what in the hell are you talking about with Terrance’s “soft-spoken” role? Have you seen Hustle & Flow? The guy’s got range for DAYS. Not to say he was right for the role in Ironman, just that you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to Terrance Howard I guess. Which makes me question why you would talk about this at all. Regards.

  9. Howard fitted Rhodes the best way possible. He is a bulky large man and really felt like a military personnel. And his chemistry with RDJ was just perfect. They really seemed like best of friends.

    Cheadle was a skinny little guy compared to Howard, who made me ask how did he even get the role. His chemistry with RDJ was almost non-existant and thank God we didn’t had to see his out-of-place face thanks to the War Machine armor.

    And like Soft-Voice was a real excuse. Like Howard couldn’t get his voice harder if he wanted to. This is Marvel’s fault clearly. Cheadle is a good actor. But nowhere close to Howard for the role of Rhodes.

  10. Didn’t like the actor swap.

  11. I totally agree with everyone who stated this. When I read the War Machine comics that came out in the 1990′s, Terrence Howard brought James Rhodes to life. He was James Rhodes. I’m not knocking Don Cheadle, but Terrence Howard is War Machine!

  12. Terrance Howard was excellent in Iron Man, and while Don Cheadle is also a very good actor, I think TH was more suited to the role. It was a mistake to replace him. There was chemistry between TH and RDJ but I sensed nothing between DC and RDJ.

  13. Terrance Howard is the rightful WAR MACHINE. Bring him back!

  14. Too bad; Terrance is so pretty on the eyes!

  15. Denzel would have beat them both out if you want some gruff.
    E But howard was way better than cheadle

  16. I don’t even feel like seeing Iron Man 3 at all without Terrance Howard. I was so sad when he wasn’t in Iron Man 2 but at least there wasn’t that much screen time for Cheadle. I think that man is simply ugly. His face is ugly. He’s slight. He has no gravitas. He’s little. Not powerful. He does well in smaller supporting roles, like the fast talking wise-cracker. He’s rather rodent-like. But Howard, Howard was perfect. Large, like a super hero. He is a wonderful actor with so much depth and range. He really really filled out the role of Rhodie and deserved to go on with War Machine. That Cheadle guy is lame, lame, lame. Just so sad.

    • Go to bed Terrance.

      • Downey had alcohol and substance abuse problems before this film, so no one had taken a chance on him in years. He was unreliable. This was his comeback. If you’d followed his early career, he had been a rising star that plummeted and then came back from the gutter with impressive results.

        I like Don Cheadle. I love Terrence Howard. There is no comparison. Sometimes the supporting cast members, by being good in their supporting role, make or break the film. Once a supporting cast member defines the role, they should not be changed. Look at Agent Phil Coulson. Enough said.

  17. I wish he could’ve been in all of the iron man movies ’cause he was perfect dont get me wrong I like don cheadle but Terrance was a lot better don can still be in it but Terrance should be rhody don cheadle can be somebody else that’s good.

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  28. I also heard it was mostly cause Hoard was an asshole on set. Very rude, and acted like a diva, isolated himself from the other cast. Why would faverau want to work with a guy like that?