The first two Iron Man films were directed by Jon Favreau, who also played Happy Hogan in various films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he didn’t come back to direct Iron Man 3 – why? The MCU as viewers now know it began in 2008 with Iron Man, followed by its sequel, Iron Man 2, two years later, which further established the MCU.
Jon Favreau can brag about directing the very first MCU film, being part of it as actor as well, and being the first director to return for a sequel. But like the other completed trilogies in the Marvel universe, not all films had the same director, and in some cases the differences between all films are very evident. The first two Iron Man films were very well received by critics and audiences (even with all the criticism Iron Man 2 got), so why didn’t Favreau return for the third film?
As mentioned above, Favreau was also part of the MCU’s extensive cast thanks to his role as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s bodyguard and chauffeur, so it wasn’t like he had some behind-the-scenes trouble with the studio, as he reprised his role three more times (four, counting his cut scene from Avengers: Infinity War). In fact, the reason for him not directing Iron Man 3 is pretty simple.
Jon Favreau Chose Magic Kingdom Over Iron Man 3
After Iron Man 2 was released, Paramount Pictures and Disney had conflict as Paramount had distribution rights to some Marvel properties. This put Iron Man 3 on hold for a while, though both parts reached an agreement not long after. However, Favreau decided not to return to direct the film, instead opting to direct Magic Kingdom. Favreau said that he wanted a new challenge that would light "a fire" within him, and as a huge Disney fan it was the right fit at the right time. The project is exactly what the title says: a film about Disney’s theme park Magic Kingdom, which has been described as “Night at the Museum at Disneyland”. In 2012, Favreau was reportedly working on the film, but by 2014 he started working on The Jungle Book, and Magic Kingdom was left behind.
Whatever happened with Magic Kingdom didn’t stop Favreau at all, as between Iron Man 2 and The Jungle Book he directed two films: Cowboys & Aliens and Chef. He also lent his voice to Jerome the Beat in Zookeeper, Thark Bookie in John Carter, and had roles in People Like Us, Identity Thief, Chef, a cameo in The Wolf of Wall Street, and played himself in Entourage. Although he didn’t direct Iron Man 3, he did reprise his role as Happy Hogan and served as executive producer (as well as on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame). It’s hard to say if having him behind the camera would have improved Iron Man 3 or not, which was criticized for its plot twist, but at least Favreau didn’t separate himself from the MCU, unlike other directors.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022