Cinemablend picked up some scuttlebutt from a reliable Marvel source on the strained working relationship between Marvel and Jon Favreau, and it’s worth repeating, if only because it falls in line with what some may have presumed. Basically, Marvel, who has always been about finding the best cheap talent they can get, balked at giving Favreau a raise for Iron Man 2 and only acquiesced after Favreau essentially got the fans on his side.
Nevertheless, Marvel interfered heavily with the production on Iron Man 2 and not only rushed it into production, before the script was entirely ready, but much of the unnecessary The Avengers segues were not something Favreau was entirely pleased with. In fact, so says Cinemablend’s source, Iron Man 2 was not the film that Favreau wanted to make.
Even more disconcerting, from Favreau’s perspective, was that he wanted to direct The Avengers movie, but Marvel never even really considered him, despite the fact that Favreau — along with RDJ — basically created this Marvel revolution in Hollywood (and as I recall, they did it without much a script in the first Iron Man). But Marvel instead went with Whedon because Whedon — like Favreau four years ago — is a talented director, but he also works cheap (at least until The Avengers film makes Whedon a more expensive commodity, at which point maybe Marvel dumps him, too).
How does this affect the future of Marvel? Their source basically suggests that RDJ wasn’t particularly happy with the way that Iron Man 2 went down, either. And, for both RDJ and Favreau, it looks like Iron Man 3 will be the end of the line, at which point they’ll both jump the Marvel ship. Though, by that time, my guess is that the Marvel universe will be running on fumes, anyway. The Avengers is going to have to be one hell of a great movie to make up for the Marvel fatigue that will probably have set in by the time that we’ve run through Captain America and Thor.
If all this is true, in addition to the Mark Ruffalo for Ed Norton and Don Cheadle for Terrence Howard swapouts over the last few years, it really does look like Marvel is all about the bottom line, even at the cost of alienating its biggest draws. You really don’t want to alienate Robert Downey, Jr., because while Marvel may be bigger than any individual actor, a few sour words from RDJ could cost them at the box-office.
One interesting sidenote to all of this, however, is how Marvel’s strained relationships with its higher paid talent jibes with rumblings I’ve heard from the Hollywood Cog that Louis Leterrier is also being considered for Iron Fist, which is being produced by Marvel under the Disney banner. Leterrier — who directed Norton’s Incredible Hulk — is not a huge name, so maybe he comes cheaper. Or maybe he just toes the company line better. It’s still a rumor — and there’s not even a script yet — but it’s an interesting one to take note of in light of all this.