On Tuesday, Vulture reported that Jon Favreau would not direct Iron Man 3 -- a claim that Favreau himself confirmed in a tweet that read, "It's true, I'm directing Magic Kingdom, not Iron Man 3. I've had a great run with Marvel and wish them the best." While Internet speculation over the director's choice ranged anywhere from money issues to creative differences, Favreau later in the day spoke with The Los Angeles Times to explain his departure from Marvel -- which he characterized as more of a graduation than a divorce.
Favreau earlier this month told MTV: "In theory, 'Iron Man 3' is going to be a sequel or continuation of 'Thor,' 'Hulk,' 'Captain America' and 'Avengers…This whole world...I have no idea what it is. I don't think they do either, from conversations I've had with those guys."
Seeming to confirm Favreau's previous comments, Vulture reported that one informed source said the director was frustrated with Marvel's urge to stuff more of their in-house heroes into the next film in the wake of The Avengers.
Other industry insiders pointed out Favreau's growing price tag and speculated that he was getting too expensive for the frugal Marvel and cost-conscious parent Disney, said Vulture.
Still, Favreau told the LAT he was off to direct Disney's Magic Kingdom, (he also noted that David Fincher will direct the studio's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.) and made it clear that his departure from Marvel was neither a snap decision nor the result of fractured relations.
Per the LAT:
The main impulse was to "find something that lights a fire" inside of him as a filmmaker and gives him a chance to "blow people away, which is easier to do with a project that isn't loaded with built-in expectations." He also said he has been researching the film for many weeks even as he worked on the post-production phase of Cowboys & Aliens, the genre mash-up (starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig) that hits theaters next summer.
Favreau further noted that he remains close to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and that he will stay on as a producer on The Avengers.
"Marvel and I both came of age together," Favreau told the LAT. "The years that we shared were a pivotal experience. Kevin has a firm grasp on the many franchises and how they all interweave and I am happy that I had the opportunity to establish the world that these characters can now play in.... Iron Man has given me tremendous opportunities and Kevin and I are enjoying a lot of momentum in our careers thanks to the Iron Man films. I look forward to seeing what others can do playing in the same world."
In its report, Vulture said it had heard that Marvel quietly began the process of finding a director to replace Favreau on Monday night. Robert Downey Jr. has contractually negotiated director approval.
About moving forward, the LAT chimes in with, "The truth is that as large a property as Iron Man is, it's not at all clear that the franchise can or needs to go on anytime soon."