Why Jon Favreau is moving away from 'Iron Man' (and how it will affect the franchise)
My colleague Geoff Boucher at Hero Complex catches up with Jon Favreau to get the lowdown on his move away from the "Iron Man" franchise and toward Disney's "Magic Kingdom."
The main impulse, Favreau tells HC in a revealing interview, is to "find something that lights a fire" inside him and "blow[s] people away, which is easier to do with a project that isn't loaded with built-in expectations."
And "Iron Man?" Marvel could well commence a search for a new director (the lack of a developed script at once both helps and hurts this cause), and convince Favreau loyalist Robert Downey Jr. to go along with it. But the truth is that as large a property as "Iron Man" is, it's not at all clear that the franchise can or needs to go on anytime soon.
There is, first, the storytelling aspect -- where does a third "Iron Man" go with no cliffhanger wrapping up the second film? -- but also the issue of the larger Marvel universe. The first two Iron Man films (along with "Thor" and "Captain America") have been about building the mythology for "Avengers." Now that it's done that (the supergroup of superhero movies will shoot in 2011 and hits in 2012), the Marvel movies could really splinter into whatever direction they need to (likely in the direction of the most lucrative characters).
Throw in the fact that third movies often fall off in popularity after the second film (especially a second film with a mixed reception) and there's not only a lack of narrative urgency but an absence of financial urgency as well.
Of course, studios rarely walk away from a money-minting franchise without a fight. Marvel may yet find a way and a reason to continue. And if not, well, there's always a reboot.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: 'Iron Man 2.' Credit: Paramount Pictures.
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