Update: AintItCoolNews has a great, in-depth two-part interview (part one here, part two here) with Iron Man director Jon Favreau in which he discusses his thoughts about developing the storyline for Iron Man 2 and the potential artistic difficulties in integrating the various Marvel superhero films into the Avengers teamup film. He also briefly discusses Marvel Studio’s Manhattan Beach studio complex where all of their films – Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and Avengers – will be primarily produced.
It’s amazing how much you have to figure it out so that it makes sense it takes a lot of effort to weave all this stuff together. Just making a movie is difficult, let alone trying to service a whole set of films that has to coexist. I think a really good step in that direction is them getting this facility down at Manhattan Beach so that all the films will be working out of the same studio and shooting on the same stages and they’ll be prepping and posting and we’ll all be in that one area so we can bounce back and forth and hopefully they’ll be a generosity of creative input between all of the filmmakers and writers and producers so that we could come up with something that’s much more synergistic than anything that has been seen before. But it’s a tall order.
To me, that kind of creative community has a strong echo of the old Marvel Bullpen from back in the 1960s, when many of Marvel’s writers and artists all worked in the same office, allowing for more creative feedback from their colleagues and making it easier to make the burgeoning Marvel Universe seem cohesive.
Original Post: Marvel Studios has announced that Robert Downey Jr. will appear as Tony Stak/Iron Man in 2011’s superhero team-up The Avengers as part of the actor’s four picture deal with the studio. Additionally, Don Cheadle, who is replacing Terrance Howard as Stark’s best friend Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes for 2010’s Iron Man 2, has also been signed for The Avengers. Iron Man director Jon Favreau has been picked to executive produce the film.
While Marvel has long been touting their plans to have their individual comic book films ultimately crossover into an Avengers film, this announcement is the first concrete production news on the project. So far, no writer or director has been officially picked for The Avengers. It also lets slip that they’re planning on having the character of Rhodey be a part of the film as well.
As for Downy’s four-picture deal with Marvel, I’m guessing that Marvel Studios is looking at a possible Iron Man trilogy plus the Avengers film. I don’t think they are going to count Downey’s cameo at the end of The Incredible Hulk as one of the four pictures.
While I haven’t been too excited with the path that Marvel has taken their comic book universe over the last several years, their plans for their cinematic universe are about the most exciting franchise news going.
Marvel’s complete press release is after the jump.
MARVEL STUDIOS PRODUCTION UPDATE
ROBERT DOWNEY JR. AND JON FAVREAU SUIT UP FOR MARVEL STUDIOS’ THE AVENGERS AND IRON MAN 2
As part of his four picture deal with Marvel Studios, Robert Downey Jr. is appearing as Tony Stark in THE AVENGERS motion picture, as well as reprising his starring role as the larger-than-life leading character in IRON MAN 2. Jon Favreau will return to direct the sequel to the blockbuster IRON MAN, which to date has grossed over $578 million worldwide, as well as executive produce THE AVENGERS.
Academy Award® nominee Downey was most recently seen in the summer comedy blockbuster TROPIC THUNDER starring opposite Ben Stiller and Jack Black. Before Iron Man, he was best known for his film roles in KISS KISS BANG BANG, WONDER BOYS and CHAPLIN, the film for which he was nominated for an Oscar®.
In addition to directing the first IRON MAN, Favreau has previously directed ELF, ZATHURA: A SPACE ADVENTURE and MADE. He is also well known for writing and starring in SWINGERS. He will next be seen acting in FOUR CHRISTMASES, I LOVE YOU MAN and COUPLES RETREAT.
DON CHEADLE WILL STAR AS RHODEY IN IRON MAN 2
Marvel Studios is pleased today to confirm that an agreement has been finalized with award-winning actor Don Cheadle to take on the role of Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Marvel’s IRON MAN 2 due in theaters on May 7, 2010. In casting Cheadle, Marvel replaces Terrence Howard who appeared in the role of Rhodey in IRON MAN.
Cheadle is also signed on to perform the same role in THE AVENGERS and subsequent installments of the IRON MAN franchise.
“We are very excited about working with the extraordinarily talented Don Cheadle as we expand the role of Rhodey in Iron Man 2. It has already become apparent as we prep the movie for production, that the dynamic between Robert and Don will take Iron Man 2 to new heights,” said Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios.
Cheadle is best known for his Oscar® nominated lead performance in HOTEL RWANDA as well as his role as Basher Tarr in the OCEAN’S franchise, CRASH and SWORDFISH.
Based on Marvel’s iconic Super Hero, IRON MAN 2 continues the story of this summer’s box office blockbuster IRON MAN, the first feature film produced independently by Marvel Studios. IRON MAN 2 will be produced by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, and executive produced by Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau, Stan Lee, David Maisel and Denis Stewart.
In a movie event, THE AVENGERS will bring together the super hero team of Marvel Comics characters for the first time ever, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and more, as they are forced to band together to battle the biggest foe they’ve ever faced.
The highly anticipated sequel to IRON MAN will be released in theatres on May 7, 2010 and THE AVENGERS will be released July 15, 2011. Both films will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Cheadle is represented by UTA. Downey and Favreau are represented by CAA.