There are rumors and then there are rumors... I would put this one down in the "very likely to be true" column: Jon Favreau may be directing The Avengers.
Now, all together... say it with me: SWEET!
AICN reports that they have a new "source" that has given them accurate information in the past. This source sent them a report explaining the reason for the Marvel schedule release push-back:
"'Avengers' is delayed a year because of financing issues but also because the plan is for Favreau to helm it. Everybody here loves the guy and he wants to do it, but it would have been impossible for him to do before the date change given his 'Iron Man 2' commitments. Also partly the reason why he agreed to do the Stark sequel on such an accelerated schedule was so he could get given first dibs on this. It would still be a punishing schedule for him, so hes not firmly confirmed yet, but he is certainly the presumptive director at this point."
Why am I so convinced this isn't bogus? Because I've had the opportunity to interview Jon Favreau one on one twice, and in both conversations the Avengers movie came up. In those conversations Favreau was very clear in stating that he'd love to direct an Avengers film if given the opportunity - but the major stumbling block to that happening was the scheduling conflict between that film and Iron Man 2.
But then came the news that Marvel was totally revamping its movie release schedule. Iron Man 2 is still being released on May 7, 2010, but the Avengers movie, which was originally scheduled to be released just one year later has now been pushed back a full year to May 4, 2012. Suddenly, that gives Favreau enough time between the two films to be able to work on both (of course this would push back Iron Man 3, which has not yet been scheduled.
If this does come together it is awesome, awesome news - Favreau did a fantastic job with Iron Man, and my only worries about the sequel have been the behind the scenes salary wrangling and the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. He has a passion for the Marvel superhero universe and has already demonstrated his respect for the source material and the fans.
This is really great news for the Avengers movie.
Head over to AICN where their scooper also talks about Marvel being serious about both a Fantastic Four and Daredevil reboots and how they may be better now that Fox exec Tom Rothman has been promoted and will probably not be so "hands on" with film production.