Reports that Terrence Howard didn’t know Don Cheadle was slated to replace him in Iron Man 2 has made mainstream news now, at least here in Los Angeles, of course, which means a rebuttal statement about the flexibility in his contract is sure to follow from the studios. Internet rumors aren’t always enough for studios to warrant a statement, but it’s really my fellow fans’ opinions I’ve been thinking about. Was Howard’s role in the film significant enough for fans to issue a backlash?
One of the critical surprises of Iron Man’s success was the actors’ performances, and Howard’s is no exception. His line, “Next time, baby,” was one of the best teasers and fan pleasers in the film! Now, Hollywood has twisted that line and proven him wrong -- “Next time, yes, but not for you, buddy!” Obviously, Colonel Jim Rhodes will play a larger role in Iron Man 2, at least enough to garner an A-lister like Cheadle for the part. Well, for the record, I for one am a little disappointed in the transition. When a studio is so quick to change up its cast in the shadow of success with hopes for something even greater, I wonder what else it would sacrifice from the film’s previous incarnation. Before you know it, Iron Man is fighting a big mechanical spider . . . sigh, with no mention of Alistair Smythe, okay, fellow Marvelites? You know what I mean! Though, speaking of Spider-man, where does the actress that played Betty Brant get off saying that her return in Spider-man 4 would be a favor? In these hard economic times, I’d take any work I can get! Ah, so that’s the real tragedy of Terrence Howard’s situation. He’s been outsourced! Looks like Stark Industries still hasn’t learned its lesson.
The question is, is there a lesson for Hollywood here? Changing actors for a supporting character like The Dark Knight’s Rachel Dawes, destined for death anyway, is inconsequential to the fabric of a comic-to-film’s franchise, but when Howard was cast, fans could already project him as War Machine, a rather important character to the big picture of Marvel’s new tightly inclusive cinematic universe. I mean, who hasn’t predicted a possible end to the highly anticipated Avengers film involving a jealous War Machine setting up shop with a similar set of heroes on the west coast? With everything still in development, these thoughts and questions are mostly rhetorical fanboy drivel. Nevertheless, contrary to what Iron Man would want . . . I’m up in arms.