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Preparing For A Sequel
With the worldwide success of "Iron Man” at the box office, director Favreau faced the inevitable challenge following up the beloved film with the second installment of the franchise.

"When we were shooting the first film, we weren't planning a sequel, but we were also aware that if things went well, there would be one; so we thought about what the big picture would be and what we were leading to in terms of story,” Favreau observes. "The challenge in developing ‘Iron Man 2' was how to stay true to what audiences enjoyed about the first film while at the same time raising the bar in every aspect – an interesting but sometimes difficult line to walk. If it gets too complicated, the sequel becomes overwrought and loses its light touch. But if you don't do anything more than you did the first time, it just feels like more of the same—so doing a sequel can be a mixed blessing.”

"The great thing about having Jon Favreau back at the helm is that we have a fantastic rapport because we've been together now for almost four years thinking and talking about the world of Iron Man,” says Feige. "We've developed a shorthand now, so most of the time we know what the other is thinking. Jon did an amazing job on the first film and we really followed his lead in terms of tone, texture and humor. When you see Tony Stark and his interaction as Iron Man, it is not just your hand-on-the-hip super hero. It is somebody who has wit and cynicism on one side and extreme optimism on the other; the character really is what he is because of two people, Jon Favreau and Robert Downey.”

"One of the great things that came from the success of the first film was that we had established a tone that was distinctively fresh and cool, so in preparing for the sequel it became ‘how do we keep that tone going?,'” notes co-producer Jeremy Latcham. "The tone is what really makes audiences feel like they're watching an ‘Iron Man' movie. It's really fun, it's edgy, but it's not brooding, nor is it cartoony or overly political. So one of our big goals in developing the story and characters was making sure everything was in line with the tone we established in the first film.”

"Once you establish the tone and characterizations and people love the character, it gives you a lot of freedom to jump into whatever stories you want to tell next,” mentions Feige. "Often times our favorite stories in the comics are ones that can't be done as an origin story, because they happen 200 or 300 issues into the series. But with a sequel, you can really take the gloves off because you already know what worked really well in the first film and can up the ante in those aspects. Having that kind of opportunity is one of the great joys in filmmaking.”

For Favreau and the filmmakers, developing the story for "Iron Man 2” started long before the first page of the script was written.

"The writing process on ‘Iron Man 2' was unique and began before there was a screenwriter brought on,” explains Favreau. "That tends to be the case with these types of movies because what happens is that Robert Downey, Kevin Feige, Jeremy Latcham and others all sit around and start discussing things like what interests us; where should the characters go; where should the next leg of the journey start; what should Tony's arc be, etc. So you begin to outline a basic story and break it down into scenes and set pieces. Then when you arrive at that point, the actual scriptwriting process can begin.”

For "Iron Man 2” the filmmakers selected Justin Theroux – an avowed life-long fan of the comic book super hero – to write the screenplay. Theroux had recently co-written (with Ben Stiller) the screenplay to the comedy hit "Tropic Thunder,” which had earned Downey an Academy Award® nomination as Best Supporting Actor.


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