In 2008, Marvel Studios introduced Iron Man to a global audience. At the time, the project was seen as a gamble given that the character had a relatively small fan base even in the comic book world and was not well known to people outside of that. But then stars Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard brought a fresh take on Tony Stark’s origin story, which resonated with the general public and in turn launched the lucrative Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For Robert Downey Jr., the film marked a memorable return to cinema after years of battling drug addiction. Little did he know it would propel him to superstar status and spearhead Disney’s formula of throwing big-name stars like Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson into the upcoming mega-franchise. After 10 years of collaborating on the biggest movie release to date, Downey and the rest of the MCU have grown into a bigger media family than famed hip hop ensemble Wu-Tang.
But not all family members were happy with their treatment at Marvel Studios. Just ask Terrence Howard, who played James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Iron Man, an Air Force colonel and Tony Stark’s best friend. Howard, fresh out of the 2005 hit Agitation and flow, was a benchmark for the role, as his natural acting chops and strong resemblance to Rhodey’s character from the comics were hard to deny. Naturally, he was expected to return for the sequel to the film.
But when Iron man 2 came out two years later, it was Don Cheadle as Rhodey, not Howard. In fact, Howard has never been seen in the MCU again. Thanks to Cheadle’s stellar performance, fans haven’t made much noise about Howard’s replacement. After all, it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened in the MCU. The Incredible Hulk, for example, came out the same year as Iron Man with Edward Norton in the lead role. Norton was also due to return in a potential sequel as well as The Avengers, but due to internal disputes over the writing and producer credits, Norton and Marvel Studios went their separate ways before he had a chance to return. He was then replaced by the current Hulk we all know and love, Mark Ruffalo.
That’s why it wasn’t so shocking when Howard didn’t come back for Iron man 2. Fans walked casually without asking too many questions; However, years later, many of them have taken a step back and assessed the MCU’s journey over the past decade. This made them wonder what happened to Howard. Why did he quit what could have been a major career boost for him?
According to Screen Rant, it turns out that he actually had a pretty good reason for leaving, which he discussed during his appearance on Bravo’s late night chat show. Watch what is happening live in November 2013. During the segment, Howard answered a call-in question from a member of the audience at home about the recast of the role he created. Although the star remained enigmatic in her explanation, the message was clear: it was ultimately about money. In his response to the appeal question, Howard explained what went wrong during contract negotiations:
“Turns out the person I helped become Iron Manâ¦ when it was time to get back in shape for the second one, (he) took the money that was supposed to be coming back to me and pushed me out. . ”
Apparently the unnamed “he” was none other than Robert Downey Jr., who ironically received ridiculous amounts of money for playing Tony Stark in ten MCU movies. Naturally, anyone in their right mind immediately understood what Howard was trying to deduce, but Watch what is happening live host Andy Cohen wasn’t about to let the actor off this easy.
âThe word was you wanted the same money as Downey,â Cohen commented during his segment with Howard. But Howard had a different account of what really happened, which he detailed shortly after.
âWe made a deal on three photos, which means you made the deal in advance. It was going to be a certain amount for the first, a certain amount for the second, a certain amount for the third. They came to me with the second and said, ‘Look, we’ll pay you one-eighth of what we contractually had for you, because we think the second will be successful with or without you. And I called my friend – whom I helped get the first job – and he didn’t call me back for three months.
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Shortly after the segment on Bravo, Showbizcafe’s Tony Rico appeared on NBC’s Today and provided the actual monetary numbers Howard was trying not to disclose. According to Tony Rico, Howard’s initial contract consisted of an $ 8 million salary for Iron man 2, but was reduced to a paltry $ 1 million in order to accommodate Downey Jr.
It looks like Howard really got the small end of the stick once Downey Jr. catapulted himself to stardom after Iron man Success. Howard is by no means a small actor, so offering him just a million bucks for the second installment of a budding franchise was definitely a slap in the face. Howard was clearly unhappy with the offer and understandably decided to step down from the role altogether, leaving the door open for Don Cheadle to replace him as Rhodes.
Since then, Cheadle has taken over the character and appeared in seven MCU films. He was also recently reprinted for his role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and should play a leading role in Armor wars on Disney Plus. As of yet, there has been no solid report on how much Cheadle was paid for his portrayal of Rhodey, so it’s unclear whether Marvel Studios is still paying little for the role or whether they’ve learned from them. errors.
Many fans still find it a shame they never saw Howard come back as Rhodey and become a War Machine. It’s unclear what the MCU would have looked like had Howard’s portrayal of the character become more popular and he was able to interact with other MCU actors like Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, and Paul Rudd. And although Howard was able to move on and become a television staple with his work as Lucious Lyon in the Fox Channel musical drama. Empire, it’s unclear what his career might have been like had he stayed as Rhodey.
Maybe being an MCU star just wasn’t in the cards for Howard. At least you can always watch the first one Iron Man and remember his brief stint in the franchise as you daydream about what the MCU would have been like had he stayed. Just like the original Disney Plus, it is always interesting to ask the question … what if?