The huge box office and critical success of the original Iron Man came as a bit of a surprise to everyone. Iron Man, while having a long publishing history, has never been one of those mainstream, iconic super heroes like a Batman or a Spider-Man. Despite that, director Jon Favreau and star Robert Downey Jr. absolutely nailed the character so perfectly that everyone fell in love with the film. And now that ol’ shellhead has had a feature film that was such a mainstream success, perhaps the argument could start to be made that he is a character on par with the Batmans and Spider-Mans of the world. So, a lot of people were understandably upset when it was announced that Favreau, a guy who did so much for the character, wouldn’t be returning to the director’s chair of Iron Man 3.
The guy they got to replace him, however, has a pretty great pedigree, and it turns out that he’s already helped out on this series before. In a Q&A at the Hero Complex Film Festival, Downey tells a story about how he and Favreau went to the new director, Shane Black, when they had reached a stumbling point on one of the past Iron Man films: “I said, ‘We should talk to Shane.’ And I was like, ‘Shane, we can’t really pay.’ And he was like, ‘Bring me some salmon and some blueberries.’ And we went to Yoda’s house in Miracle Mile and it wound up coming in handy, particularly for a couple scenes. So what I can say about this kind of circle of life thing is Shane, as he’s getting into the process [to direct Iron Man 3] and getting his sea legs and stuff, he goes, ‘When can we talk to Jon?’ So there’s going to be this kind of conglomerate of efforts.”
If Downey is to be believed, not only has Shane Black already had his hand in the Iron Man universe that we’ve been presented with so far, but Favreau also hasn’t completely stepped away from the project yet, and will be around to give advice. You never want to see a successful franchise change directors, but it sounds like this one is making the transition as smoothly as possible. Also at the film fest, Favreau had some things to say about the challenges of a third Iron Man film as he sees them, saying, “I love the franchise and I’m a big fan of Shane’s as well so hopefully I can be helpful because I want to see this thing grow and transform. And actually, when it finally landed on Shane, it was like, ‘All right, that’s gonna be something interesting.’ Especially because it’s gonna be so difficult for whoever does that one because although it’s Iron Man 3, the whole Avengers thing…I guess in comics you can say that it’s an individual storyline and you can break it off into a group. But in movies, it’s hard not to take into consideration what just happened.” There has yet to be any word if Black is also getting advice from Avengers director Joss Whedon, or if all four new best friends are going to spend the evening together drinking in a hot tub and talking about how awesome Iron Man 3 is, but I’m sure Robert Downey Jr. will keep us updated as to any new developments. [/Film]