The film has yet to open to audiences but already Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr. and the rest of the Iron Man cast are on a global press trip to talk to as many journalists as possible and spread the gospel according to Tony Stark. Sitting down with Rotten Tomatoes in London, Favreau took us through a few of the buried surprises hidden in the movie in more detail and let us in on his plans for a further two movies within the Iron Man universe. Spoilers, naturally, follow.
For us, the biggest hint at what to expect from a potential Iron Man 2 comes from Terrence Howard‘s Jim Rhodes who, at one point during the movie, glances at Tony Stark’s Mark II Iron Man outfit and says to himself, “Next time baby,” no-doubt a reference to War Machine, Rhodes’ superhero alter-ego, and perhaps a nod to what we may see from the next film.
“There are actually a few of those,” Favreau told RT, “and the way we introduce S.H.I.E.L.D. is another thing where you don’t see it coming and then it’s there. There are all sorts of images and references to The Mandarin, and in the end credits in the animations there’s a little tip of the hat to War Machine. There are little things in the details that I know the fans of the books are going to see.”
The Mandarin, of course, with ten alien rings each with their own special ability, was to be the supervillian of Iron Man before the script shifted towards Jeff Bridges’ Iron Monger. At least one of the references that still remain is the name of the Middle Eastern terrorist group who hijack Tony Stark’s Humvee – as seen in the trailer for the film – who call themselves Ten Rings.
One reference we didn’t spot during the film, though, was a tip of the hat to Nick Fury, rumoured to have appeared in the cameo form of Samuel L. Jackson. Favreau says that may have been a red herring thrown in to maintain an element of surprise. “What happens is as you find yourself coming closer and closer to the release date,” he told us,”and people are smart – especially the fans of Marvel comics – and they’re able to piece together what’s going on. What you don’t want to have happen is have everyone figure out what’s in the movie before it comes out.
“I’m online, I’m constantly getting a sense of what people are talking about and what they’re expecting and sometimes you have to acknowledge the anticipations and sometimes you have to go against them. You never want the audience to be ahead of you, because you always want some surprises up your sleeve.”
So do these references give us an idea of what to expect from a potential sequel? Favreau told us he’d definitely be on board if Marvel came knocking. “I’ve got another two movies in my head; I’m ready to go and I know the cast feels the same way,” he said. “Now it’s out of the hands of us, of the filmmakers, and it’s even out the hands of your readers. I know all the people who have been following this for two years are going to go and see the movie, and maybe they’ll see it twice and I’m very grateful for that. If everybody comes out to see the movie and it’s successful, then I’m sure Marvel’s going to want to do another.”
Iron Man is the first Marvel adaptation financed by Marvel themselves, and that at least will ensure more continuity between the Marvelverse films to come, including, as previously reported, a cameo by Downey as Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk. This could bode well for surprises to come from Iron Man sequels. “Marvel has tremendous control over these characters now,” Favreau told us. “They’re not sharing control with a studio like Sony or Fox which is the arrangement they’d had in the past. As certain characters revert back to them they’re self-financing these projects which gives them the ability to combine characters if you want to.”
Iron Man is released next week.