Jon Favreau Not Directing 'Iron Man 3' [Updated]

Jon Favreau Happy Hogan Iron Man 3

It what may be the most shocking Marvel Studios related news to date, Jon Favreau, the man responsible for bringing the young studio their first worldwide blockbuster and successful franchise, is stepping down from the directorial duties of the third Iron Man film. That's right, Iron Man 3 will not be directed by Jon Favreau.

Why? There's no clear cut answer or official word from Favreau himself just yet, but if you piece together some recent events and take into account Marvel's tight budgeting, you can formulate some viable working theories.

New York Magazine reports that Favreau has informed Marvel Studios of his decision and that the studio began the search for a replacement director last night. This is not something we learned on Friday from Kevin Feige's Marvel Movies update...

Here's what we know: Marvel Studios and Favreau took time to come to a deal for Iron Man 2 due to their cost-sensitive budgetary nature. A similar issue almost resulted in fans not having Samuel L. Jackson play Nick Fury for years to come and many suspect it is the same reason Edward Norton has been replaced by Mark Ruffalo.

We also know that both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 were rather rushed and in the case of the first film, they were shooting before a script was even done. With a release date already set in concrete for Iron Man 3 before they have any idea what story they'll be telling and rumors that Marvel may be forcing in more characters as part of the bigger cinematic universe, I can understand if this played a significant factor on Favreau's decision. As New York Magazine points out, in a recent interview with MTV, Favreau is on record explaining that he's unaware of the studio's plans for the Iron Man 3, as of a few weeks ago:

“In theory, Iron Man 3 is going to be a sequel or continuation of Thor, Hulk, Captain America and Avengers... This whole world … I have no idea what it is. I don’t think they do either, from conversations I’ve had with those guys.”

Combine that with highly-publicized financial concerns (that's why Favreau isn't directing The Avengers), and this could be a reason for Favreau's decision. That, and he has lots of other projects on the go and is a solidified A-List director. Favs is finishing up work on Cowboys & Aliens as we speak, which will undoubtedly be one of the biggest summer hits of 2011, and he's already in line to direct Magic Kingdom for Disney.

From Disney-Marvel's perspective, Disney spent $4 billion on purchasing Marvel last year and more recently, forked over another $115 million to Paramount to buy back the distribution rights to The Avengers and Iron Man 3 so it's understandable, although disappointing, why they feel a need to keep costs down when it comes to talent.

With Robert Downey Jr. having been replaced by Daniel Craig for Cowboys & Aliens and now Favreau not doing Iron Man 3, it begs the question, will RDJ and Favs ever work together again? We all hope so. Favreau brought the exact tone and feel we all wanted in Iron Man and he knows how to give fans a good time.

[Update: Jon Favreau explains why he left Iron Man 3]

Stay tuned for more details on Favreau's future involvement with Marvel Studios and who may be brought in to helm Iron Man 3.

The Avengers hits theaters May 4, 2012 and Iron Man 3 is currently scheduled for release May 3rd, 2013.

Share your thoughts in the comments and with us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

Source: New York Magazine

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