Once THE AVENGERS wraps later this year, Robert Downey Jr will barely have time to get out of costume before donning ol' Shell Head's iron tights once more for IRON MAN 3 - with Marvel now set to shoot in February 2012.
Well that's what co-star Don Cheadle - aka Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes aka War Machine - reckons anyway. The actor, who famously replaced Terrence Howard in last year's sequel, also believes the a WAR MACHINE spin-off is currently being mulled, saying "which I guess, unless I get recast, I would probably do."
'Probably' do? We're sensing a little downplaying there. Speaking of which - "I have a contract to be in The Avengers but I’m glad they haven’t exercised that option yet. I need some down time.” Yeah, bet he was thrilled to not get that telephone call.
While Cheadle is a phenomenal actor, it's hard to see the studio going forward with a WAR MACHINE franchise-starter with him in the role. Sad as it is, there's merch and Happy Meal's to shift, so they'll need somebody younger, someone sexier, someone like... Terrence Howard? Unless that is... they go the edgy route with it, summer slot be damned, slash the budget and do a gritty, balls-out tale set in the Marvel Universe. Now that would be cause for celebration!
As we all know, IRON MAN 3 will no longer be directed by Jon Favreau, who was unhappy with studio interference during production of the sequel (in my opinion the results are on screen for all to see.) The job now falls to writer/director Shane Black (LETHAL WEAPON; KISS KISS BANG BANG) to whip the franchise into shape and win back the audience's trust.
IRON MAN 3 is scheduled for summer 2012. We don't advise holding your breath for WAR MACHINE though.
Director Jon Faveau is currently putting the finishing touches to COWBOYS & ALIENS, due July 29th Stateside, 19th of August in the UK.
Can Shane Black rise to the challenge? Will audiences turn out for a War Machine spin-off, Cheadle or no Cheadle? Let us know with your comments below!