Favreau Explains Why He Left Marvel for Disney's Magic Kingdom
Time for an explanation. Yesterday it was not-so-surprisingly announced that Jon Favreau would not be directing Iron Man 3 for Marvel Studios and that he was actually "parting ways" with Marvel. Since that hit, there have been wild allegations regarding the break-up, including a report on ComicBookMovie about Favreau and Robert Downey Jr's friendship falling apart because Iron Man 2 "sucked." But Hero Complex says "other folks report rumors but we have the ONLY interview with Jon Favreau about his departure from the Iron Man franchise and his plans for Magic Kingdom, which will bring Disneyland to life." Read on!
Hero Complex editor Geoff Boucher talked at length with Favreau about the Marvel situation and his future.
"Marvel and I both came of age together," Favreau said. "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 [Feige] 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."
We are looking forward to seeing that as well, but it will be bitter sweet without Favreau. So how did he get there? Well, after directing Iron Man 2, Favreau wanted a change, as all directors do who work on projects for years and years. 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's obviously working on Cowboys & Aliens right now, but also has Magic Kingdom lined up next at Disney, a Night at the Museum-like family adventure where the things in the park come to life that will tap into vintage Disney imagery that "loomed so large in the imagination" of his generation.
“Between the theme parks and the movies, the Disney iconography was probably the first set of archetypes that I was exposed to,” Favreau said of his youth in Flushing, N.Y. "Walt was able to expose me as a child to the full array of emotions, including fear and sorrow. Those movies and attractions haunted my dreams and made a deep impression on me as a child. When I first heard about the ['Magic Kingdom' film] project, I was on my way to visit Disneyland with my family. I took notes and had no problem filling a book with all the ideas that this concept offered, even on first blush. Since then, I was lucky enough to be given a tour of Imagineering by Tony Baxter, who knows just about everything there is to know about Disneyland. He pulled original concept art from the archives for me and exposed me to Walt’s original vision.”
So the problem is, with Iron Man 3, despite being a sequel to The Avengers, is that there's a "storytelling" issue, namely: "Where does a third Iron Man go with no cliffhanger wrapping up the second film?" There's no urgency to get a third one in the works because of the second one's lukewarm response either. Basically, Favreau just sees no motivation to stick around for that, when he can play in Disney's very magical kingdom of fun. At least, this is what Hero Complex is reporting, as you're still welcome to consider CBM's claims that it was the improv and lack of script that ruined Favreau's relationship with Marvel Studios and Downey Jr.
At the moment, Favreau is excited to get to work on Magic Kingdom, which "he has been researching" while in post on Cowboys & Aliens. "It's great to be able to connect parents with children both emotionally and through humor. I look forward to exploring family entertainment once again and examining the specifics of our day-to-day lives against the backdrop of an extraordinary adventure." He sounds happy with his career choices and doesn't really need to be around for Iron Man 3, though we're very curious to see who does end up directing. I think it's best to finish with Favreau's humble and simple tweet from the other day: "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."