Looks like there’s a pretty big casting change on the way for Iron Man 2, although it remains to be seen how much of a difference it will make in the grand scheme of things. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Don Cheadle has been hired to replace Terrence Howard as Tony Stark’s best friend Jim Rhodes, who in the comics goes on to don his own armoured suit as War Machine. The decision is believed to have been primarily a financial one.
Although Marvel has not made an official statement, sources say that Terrence Howard was asking for a big raise for his part in the sequel (which may have been justified since the role is expected to be a larger one). Since Marvel had already wanted to work with Cheadle anyway, they decided to offer the role to him instead. I’m not a big fan of studios changing characters part way through a franchise, although sometimes it’s unavoidable (ie. when Richard Harris died, Michael Gambon was brought in to play Dumbledore). In this case, I find it hard to believe that Don Cheadle was asking less than Howard, and we all know Iron Man made a boatload of cash to begin with. Obviously Cheadle is an amazing actor, I just feel like Howard is getting screwed here. In the end, we’ve got yet another Academy Award-nominated actor being drawn into the world of comic book movies, which more than anything, seems to be a sign of the times. Do you agree with Marvel’s decision?