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

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I found this quite interesting. I think most people suspected that it was a money issue, but I doubt many people knew how much money Howard was scheduled to make. What I found most interesting was the talk of Favreau not being too fond of Howard’s portrayal of Rhodey. I never really thought about Howard’s performance as James Rhodes, but now that you mention it, he was relatively soft spoken. I watched the movie again and was shocked that I had failed to notice this. Rhodes is a soldier! He’s supposed to be rough and tough, not mild and meek. Although I will say this, I think if Howard was told to portray him like that, he could’ve pulled it off. But it all really makes sense now. This does make me more excited about IM2, believe it or not, because now I’m thinking they will really show the tough side of Rhodes and maybe even give War Machine some significant amount of screen time. I’m officially done being sad about Howard leaving the film, and I’m totally psyched about Cheadle.

    Jon Favreau really seems to have a vision of who Iron Man is, and how he should be portrayed on screen. This is great news. I believe that Favreau wanted him out because he didnt really match up with his vision of James Rhodes, and the studio used the money as a convenient excuse to can him. Fans of Iron Man should be excited about seeing the sequel now more than ever.

    Im even going to start re-reading my digital copies of the Iron Man comics!

  2. Oh, by the way, I love the picture of War Machine. Did you find that on the web, or did you edit it yourself Vic? It looks really good

  3. Found it online, it’s been floating around so long that I don’t know where it first appeared.


  4. I didn’t think the acting by Howard was very good in Ironman. The change in actor does not bother me one bit.

  5. Personally, I’m glad on the change. Howard was just too soft spoken for a military soldier.

  6. Ash, have you watched the deleted scenes in Iron Man,,, there’s an alternate opening that shows Howard in action, and he’s not whispering…
    The first question I had after reading this is how does Entertainment Weekly have inside casting info? This all sounds like Marvel “Damage Control” ,,,
    Who knows the real story, I will say that if they must recast the role Cheadle, wouldn’t be my first choice…
    Talk about soft spoken ,,, gheessh.
    The sad thing is I bet at one point Marvel prob considered Will Smith for the role,,, 8-)

  7. There is nothing that annoys me more in a series than changing the actor of a key characture, it can be as impactful as changing a writer! Sure his portrayal may not have been as aggressive as what would be desired but I personal didnt mind his performance and more than anything when I think of the word aggressive I dont think of the name Don Cheadle, if you thought Howard was bad prepare yourself for Cheadle! Worst casting choice ever!!! I despise this guy in everything he has done, with the exception of maybe Boogie Nights!

    So now I am wondering, with the change of actor will the Rhodes charature still be getting a smaller part in the sequal? Damn I hope not, We Want WARMACHINE!!!

  8. Im kinda happy that they replaced Howard now that I think about it but I dont think of Don Cheadle when I hear the name Rhodes. He is too little and he is even more soft spoken then Howard. I think Marvel could have at least looked for someone else for the part.

    I think 790 said they were considering Will Smith for the role and if anyone has seen Independence day, I robot, or I am legend, then they would know that Smith would own that role!

  9. anyone else think even before downey jr hit it out of the park with iron man that he was still worth more than howard? Howard was fantastic in crash and hustle in flow but since then his star has faded and he didnt cash in on his success to earn his higher pay check. Downey jr has paid his dues and has had the respect from his peers since the get go. He has alwasy had a career ahead of him and was one of the most respected actors of his generation . imho it was marvels fault for giving howard the higher pay and downey jr gettign top billing. seems like a bad move on their part.

  10. Cheadle will do fine .
    sounds like Marvel and Favreau acted quite reasonably under the circumstances

  11. If director Favreau needed Howard to portray it different, he should have directed him to do so.

  12. Anyone who doubts the quality of acting that Don Cheadle brings to a project, obviously knows very little about Don Cheadle or the respect he has among his acting peers for the quality of his work ethic and how he approaches his craft. If you want to see the kind of Killer Don Cheadle can be check out the performance of MOUSE in Devil In A Blue Dress with Denzil Washington. His performance stole the movie.

  13. I dont have a problem with cheadles acting I just said that he was too softspoken for the part and needed to bulk up. He either needs some work or they need someone else but who knows mabey he will surprise me.

  14. I just hope IM2 becomes successful. That’s all I got.

  15. is it just me or is Cheadle to small to be war machine I remember seing him in oceans 11 and he looked about 5 feet tall now I would have picked a different guy even thou I don’t really care about this actor I think Tyrese Gibson would have been better than kenny Bakers stand-in (Cheadle)

  16. No your correct, he’s too short and soft spoken…

    War Machine, I just don’t see War when I see Cheadle,,,
    I see that Missionary he played in “Hotel Rwanda”.

  17. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t exactly a big man. I’m 5’10″ and when I met him he was shorter than me.


  18. Lol Vic,,,
    Arnold Schwarzenegger is pretty short too.
    And you guys wouldn’t believe how short Al Pacino is… He practically a dwarf… 8-)

  19. cheadle was good in Devil in a Blue Dress and he played a hard core gangsta in Ot of Sight which i thought was good movie all around and showed that he has range and he wasnt very soft spoken in Rosewood either. So while I agree he doesnt physically look the part he is great actor that is CAPABLE of pulling it off lets just hope he does it sucessfully.

  20. I find it odd that Howard would be given more money than RDJ, similar to the scenario in the first Batman movie. But unlike the first Batman movie, Howard does not have the clout like Nicholson. Why did Marvel do that? Also, isn’t it the director who is suppose to direct the actor on how strong or how soft the character is? I see Faveau having some culpability here.

  21. I hate it when they replace there leading actors. But, actors are over paid in my view anyways and if he was banking that much for the acting job he did they did the right thing cause he was being over paid for the role. The only problem I really have is I don’t like the replacement. I just cant see Cheadle doing any better. I still think they could have found someone gruffer to play the part. Cant remember who brought up Will Smith but cant see him as Rhodes. He’s too big of an actor to play the side kick at this point. If they were going to do a spin off with him as the main Character that I could see maybe. I still like the idea of Wesley Snipes myself but thats just me

  22. i hate that they replaced Terrence Howard in Iron man 2. Its stupid he would have been a great war machine. I think the new guy doesn’t even get anywhere close to a good actor to be war machine. They should of just stuck with the same characters from the first one. the actors is what makes the movie great and the characters from the first one made the movie great. i really hope that they really don’t screw them selves over and piss fans off for do that.

  23. I don’t like the change and not because Cheadle is the wrong choice, simply because it is a continuity issue for me. It isn’t like we’re talking about a seldom seen character in the first movie here; he and Downy built a relationship on screen. If you weren’t impressed with his portrayal, it would be easy enough in the second movie to show a different side to the character, a stronger side. You live with it and you keep him in there, if for no other reason then to ensure there is a seamless continuity between movies. Stupid decision in my opinion.

  24. This is terrible news. Don Cheadle is a fantastic actor and a better one than Howard, but Howard was in the first one. This is just like what happened with Dark Knight. Katie Holmes had to be replaced. It’s just weird and it would be better if people didn’t have to deal with these minor problems. It’s just a real shame.

  25. I understand the money and the portrayal aspect of this, but the choice of Don Cheadle baffles me. I could see if they chose a gruffy, intense actor like Samuel Jackson or Keith David, but Cheadle I just don’t get…

  26. For me, Replacing a character’s actor after a prequel is wrong! not that Cheadle can’t play the part, It’s just that Howard was 1st! You can’t change the actor after the 1st one, it confuses people. and Personally, i think it’s kinda irritating. Why couldn’t they just tell Howard to play the part tougher or whatever is it that they want him to be like. just don’t change the actor. I was really looking forward to Howard playing Warmachine after he said “Next time Baby”
    Oh well.. I just hope that Cheadle can play the part.

  27. well they could have asked to play a more aggresive role he could do it i think they should have not had him soft spoken while they filmed it they could have just made him play the role different they set him up in my opinoin it takes time to make a movie so why not experiment with how they want him to act and than look it over than make a decision. set up completely didnt want to pay money for the 2 movie if he nailed the role on the 1

  28. I have seen Iron Man 2, and Cheadle’s role as Rhodes was as soft-spoken as Terrence Howard’s portrayal. Let’s not forget that it is Favreau’s job to direct the actor’s into his vision of the overall work. Honestly, upon watching Iron Man 2, it seems that Cheadle was directed not to portray Jimmy Rhodes, but instead to portray Terrence Howard as Jimmy Rhodes.
    I dislike actor changes between sequels, especially with significant characters, regardless of their acting ability. Once the suspension of disbelief has been established in the first film, seeing an entirely different face and body – yet with the same character name – causes that suspension of disbelief to come crashing down. It effects the story.
    I like Terrence Howard as an actor. I like Don Cheadle as an actor. But once a world has been created, the world needs consistency in its existence. It’s not a matter of which actor was better than the other when comparing sequels.
    And I like Will Smith as an actor, too, but his mug showing up in Iron Man would have cast a huge shadow over the rest of the cast. Hell, and we think Howard would have been paid too much…

  29. I almost boycotted IM2 WHEN I HEARD TERRENCE HOWARD HAD BEEN REPLACED. BAD decision by Marvel and JF. I have since seen it at a second run theater where I paid 3 bucks to get in ( there’s your pay cut JF). I don’t know of a single fan that was impressed with Mr Cheadles performance. He is usually quite good as we all know. Still, I think it was a HUGE MISTAKE! GRRRRR! The relationship between Tony Stark and James Rhodes felt genuine . . . Mr Cheadles performance was “mechanical” and could have been phoned in. Perhaps “Happy” should be replaced both on and off screen.