Iron Man 2?
“It was scary coming in. That’s the problem,” says Favs. “Remember that Bugs Bunny where Daffy Duck drinks the gasoline, lights himself on fire and it blows up and everybody claps?
“It’s like what do you do for an encore? Last time around, we put it all out there because we had a lot to prove...”
He's talking at Comic Con 2010, where he's about to unveil five minutes of footage for Iron Man 2. But before we get to that, let's rewind a bit. In fact, let's rewind to about two years previously...
So you’ve got a hit under your belt, and the franchise police (not to mention millions of suddenly-converted Iron Man aficionados) are demanding a follow-up. What next?
Well, initially, nowhere. In the wake of Iron Man’s $585m haul at the world’s united box office, distributor Paramount were keen to get the ball rolling on a sequel as soon as possible.
Mere days after the flick’s May 2008 release, the studio set an official release date for the follow-up: 30 April, 2010. Yep, they wanted to create and distribute the sequel in the space of two years.
Okay, doable (ish). The question that remained was: where was Jon Favreau?
With Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow all signed in for a three picture deal, where did their director stand on a sequel that was set to leap into pre-production faster than a speeding bullet?
“We’ve been speaking informally about it,” Favreau told EW a few days after Iron Man’s release and initial haul weekend of $100m.
“In concept we would all love to work together again. There’s no formal arrangement yet, but in theory we would all love to see it happen…. There’s definitely a lot of ideas that we all have now.
“This type of movie is based on serialized materials, so it lends itself very easily to [many different sequel possibilities]. There’s definitely a level of enthusiasm from myself and the cast to tell more stories.”
But that release date was bothering him.
“I am concerned about the announced release date of April 2010,” the director revealed. “Neither Robert nor I were consulted about this and we are both concerned about how realistic the date is in light of the fact that we have no script, story or even writers hired yet.
“This genre of movie is best when it is done thoughtfully and with plenty of preparation. I also think we owe it to the fans to have a great version of IM2 and, at this point, we would have less time to make it than the first one.”
Meanwhile, rumours stirred that the next film might take the Demon In A Bottle storyline from the comics as a launching pad – which saw hero Tony Stark having to confront his alcohol addiction.
“Demon In A Bottle is one of the very strongest story lines of the of the series, and Iron Man is not a comic book character who is known for having wonderful storylines,” said Favs.
“Politically, much of it doesn’t hold up well. And the Mandarin is incredibly challenging in that respect. So we have challenges ahead of us. Demon In A Bottle tends to be one that, from a storytelling perspective, is compelling to all of us.”
The director also acknowledged that “it’s very difficult to keep these franchises from running out of gas after two movies”, citing the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises and their stellar second outings. Those were invariably followed by stodgy third rounds.
Adding confusion to who would be involved in the second Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr told Entertainment Weekly that all might not be quite as rosy as we’d imagined.
“I really don’t know,” he said. “What I’m on board for right now is the ride home. I don’t want to start talking out of my league, because that would have certainly been my inclination in the past. I kind of know how to keep my teeth together a little better than I used to.”
Next: Demon In A Bottle?