Yesterday, we reported about Iron Man director Jon Favreau’s interest in possibly shooting Iron Man 2 in IMAX or a 3D format, now it’s time to discuss what the long-term plans are for Tony Stark.
Neil Miller, the Lord Sauron of the rejects, had the latest news about a press conference featuring Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and Jon Favreau, the mastermind behind Iron Man. Some very exciting possibilities for Iron Man 2 were brought up, like the prospect of War Machine appearing the the second chapter. Favreau said he wants to follow in the footsteps of Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight and film certain scenes for IMAX. While I, like Neil, wasn’t too hip to the idea of Iron Man going 3D it is great to know that Favreau is open to new ideas and in touch with concepts that work, unlike other directors who jumped the shark. Cough, Sam Raimi.
Today, thanks to the always appealing Ed Douglas over at Coming Soon, we get a buffet of news about the upcoming Iron Man films straight from Favreau’s mouth.
Favreau confirmed that Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Terrance Howard ( James “Rhodey” Rhodes) are all back and excited to continue the story. Favreau also is set to direct and may get more screen time in the sequel as Happy Hogan.
Downey Jr. has been particularly involved in creating the second installment. “Part of my gig is to not just ask him to stand on his mark, but learn to bring enough of his reality into it so that it seems interesting and has more dimension,” he said. “So he’s been very involved and his star has only risen and his leverage is only greater, and now he’s not the guy who’s like, ‘Please let me screen test.’ Now he’s the guy who’s being offered every movie in town.”
The story-line for Iron Man 2 will follow the original’s themes of “integrating social and political themes into the adventure and fantasy”, and Favreau said that a current situation globally may offer some of the story’s inspiration. CS is guessing this might be a way to bring in Iron Man’s Russian nemesis, Crimson Dynamo. He also said the greatest Tony Stark stories, such as “Demon in the Bottle”, will likely be in the sequel. “Demon” showed Stark as an alcoholic and “Rhodey” taking over as Iron Man while Stark recovered from his addiction. Rhodes was supposed to have a larger presence in the original, so this is a way to make amends for that. Fans of Stark’s friend will also be pleased to know that designs are being developed for “War Machine.” Iron Man will most likely have a tricked out new suit as well.
Favreau was a bit stunned by the success comic book films had this summer, saying “I was surprised that the reviews were so strong. Then I was surprised that it made so much money and then I was surprised that Dark Knight had better reviews and that it made so much more money.” That’s a whole lot of surprise, huh?
There will be villains aplenty popping up, but Favreau is being very careful in how he lets their roles play out. The Mandarin, Iron Man’s classic Asian crime-lord adversary, will most likely show up in part two. The challenge lies in introducing The Mandarin’s mystical origins into an already established high-tech universe. “The Mandarin is such a tricky character for us because everywhere you turn it’s a minefield,” he said.
Favreau also said that he may hold out on introducing him as the “Big Bad” until Iron Man 3, ensuring that the enemy doesn’t get overexposed. “I think it’s something where I feel a little bit goes a long way. To further explain, a good analogy was made between the Mandarin and Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars saga. “The Emperor was this figure that you just saw obliquely, it was like ‘Shit, Darth Vader is bowing to someone? That guy must be really cool!’ But then as he talked more it was like ‘Alright, enough.’
The most interesting and timely portion of the interview came when Favreau was asked about why the current period has been so good for superhero movies. “I think 9/11. I think that, interestingly enough today we’re meeting, but I think that was a game changer,” Favreau said. “I think people were looking for emotional simplicity, escapism, and if you look at it, there were superhero movies before Spiderman, but I think Spiderman was hitting right, I think, in May of 2002 when it was the first way that we could get to those emotions because you couldn’t say anything about politics. You couldn’t say anything about war. People just didn’t want to deal with it, but you put people in a costume and say ‘This is the good guy, this is the bad guy,” and you either set in a fantasy world like ‘Lord of the Rings’ or in the Marvel Universe, you all of a sudden allow people like kids and adults to experience those emotions in a way where they’re dealing with very real emotions in a very real way.”
FSR superhero Cole Abaius wrote a great article discussing the superhero film phenomenon following 9/11 and the Iraq War. You can check it out here.
Both Favreau and Nolan have changed the way moviegoers approach a comic film. It seems as if Iron Man set the bar and The Dark Knight raised it. Will Iron Man 2 be able to raise the bar? It may be a lot to ask. All we can ask realistically is for Favreau to be true to the character of Tony Stark, a demand he seems more than capable of continuing to handle.
You can check out more of the Jon Favreau interview over at ComingSoon.net.
What do you think of Jon Favreau’s vision for Iron Man 2 and 3?