‘Iron Man 2′ And ‘Avengers’ Are Set To Open Only A Year Apart — So Which Will Jon Favreau Direct?

'There's no way that I could direct both,' filmmaker says on 'Incredible Hulk' green carpet.

A release date has been set, the principal cast will be returning and honchos at Marvel are already talking up potential villains. Just one month after its release, the overwhelming success of “Iron Man” has everyone talking sequel — including director Jon Favreau, the one guy in this whole affair who isn’t even officially committed to the project.

Unlike with actors, it’s unusual for studios to sign directors to more than one film. And yes, Marvel is brand-new to the whole negotiating thing. But could it be that the reason Favreau isn’t signed yet for “Iron Man 2″ is because he really wants to do … something else?

Favreau himself teased as much at the green carpet for “The Incredible Hulk,” insisting that, despite the overwhelming success of “Iron Man,” he’d still like to be considered for “The Avengers.”

“I’d love to [direct 'The Avengers']. But they announced that it’s coming out in 2011, and ‘Iron Man 2′ is coming out in 2010, so there’s no way that I could direct both. They’ll either change the date, or maybe I’ll just do ‘Avengers’ and not ‘Iron Man 2,’ or maybe just ‘Iron Man 2′ and not ‘Avengers.’ I would have preferred for those two movies to be at least two years apart so I could be involved with both of them.”

Given a choice between the two, Favreau seems to prefer “The Avengers,” the superhero tag-team event that will showcase Captain America, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, among others. Why? Because it will feature Captain America, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, among others.

” ‘Avengers’ seems to be the more fun one,” Favreau said. “You get to use all the heroes for that one.”

Favreau insisted that he hasn’t had any official meetings with Marvel about either.

If Favreau does wind up working on “Iron Man 2,” it may be on a different story line than perhaps he originally intended. As early as last July, when MTV News visited the set of “Iron Man,” Favreau was hinting that the sequel would follow the famed “Demon in a Bottle” arc, wherein Tony Stark battles alcoholism. (For goodness’ sake, the first shot of Stark in the current “Iron Man” is of him holding a drink!)

There’s no doubt that it was set up, but now it might not pay off, Favreau implied.

“I always said it was interesting. I still think that. [But I'd] like to see if the public is ready to see Tony Stark fall apart yet. They might want to see him grow as a superhero before then,” Favreau said. “It’s just one of the story lines that I find compelling and would lend itself well to being in the movie.

“You want to stand out,” Favreau continued. “There are so many superhero films out. I mean, ‘Hancock’ seems like it deals with similar themes. I want to see how they handle it and how the public receives that.”

But regardless of what develops in closed-door meetings between Favreau, Marvel, the screenwriters and Robert Downey Jr., there is one thing that Favreau is happy to divulge about the sequel, independent of whether he’ll be directing.

“Happy Hogan will have more to do next time,” he said of the character he played in the first film. Hogan had a much more developed presence in the comics and eventually scores a romance with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). “I had my hands full this time.”

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