When Doctor Strange opens in just about a month, it will be the 14th entry into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The MCU has grown into something sprawling and huge, but it all began with a gamble on 2008’s Iron Man. The film, which is still considered one of Marvel Studios’ best efforts, was directed by Jon Favreau (who also appeared as Tony Stark’s driver Happy Hogan). Favreau came back to direct Iron Man 2, but stepped away from the franchise despite still appearing as Hogan and acting as an executive producer on the Avengers films, maintaining a positive working relationship with Marvel. Now, Favreau is stepping back into the role of Hogan for next summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and he spoke briefly about his path with Yahoo!
Favreau has been spending more time behind the cameras than in front in recent years, having helmed Jungle Book and Chef, two well-received films. His decision to step back from the Iron Man franchise was certainly steeped in his desire to broaden his directorial filmography:
Well, as far as directing goes, I had done two back-to-back, and that required a tremendous amount of concentration on one subject. Fortunately, I didn’t lose connection with it; I just wasn’t directing there. I still was executive-producing Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3, and I appeared in Iron Man 3. So I maintained the relationship as part of the family. And now, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, coming back and reuniting with the characters as an actor — it’s a lot of fun. It allows me to maintain the relationship with the MCU, but also to do other things that are interesting that are outside of that genre and that set of characters.
Now that he’s headed back to the MCU alongside Tony Stark, Favreau seems pleased with the idea of being able to step in and not have all the responsibilities that come with directing as well as acting:
Yeah. It’s fun to come back as an actor. Especially when the filmmakers are taking care of you, and taking care of the characters and the story. If you’re in good hands, it’s great to come in and play in somebody else’s world. That’s how I started, as an actor. I really enjoy being on other people’s sets, especially if I have cool things to do. It’s all the fun and much less of the responsibility.
It’s great to see some of the very strong relationships Kevin Feige has built with directors like Favreau, the Russo brothers and Ant-Man’s Peyton Reed. Often times these directors talk about the family feel at Marvel Studios and how interactive and collaborative the environment has become. As a fan, it’s encouraging to know their creative fires are being stoked by others with the proper nerd cred.