Jon Favreau Explains ‘Iron Man 3′ Departure

Director says he's looking forward to returning to family fare with 'Magic Kingdom.'

Wherever Tony Stark goes from here, he will be traveling without the assistance of Jon Favreau. The two-time “Iron Man” director walked away from the franchise on Tuesday, choosing instead to direct a family-oriented Disney film and emphasizing that his relationship with Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment and its studio chief Kevin Feige remains strong.

“Marvel and I both came of age together,” Favreau said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “The years that we shared were a pivotal experience. Kevin has a firm grasp on the many franchises and how they all interweave and I am happy that I had the opportunity to establish the world that these characters can now play in.”

Favreau is leaving behind the “Iron Man” franchise, which grossed $1.2 billion worldwide under his guidance, to direct “Magic Kingdom,” a film about a family that gets trapped in Disneyland and has all manner of magical encounters with the park’s attractions. Ditching Tony Stark and embracing Mickey Mouse, Favreau said, gives him the opportunity to “find something that lights a fire” within him and can “blow people away, which is easier to do with a project that isn’t loaded with built-in expectations.”

The move marks a return of sorts for Favreau, who directed family-oriented fare like “Elf” and “Zathura” before being recruited, somewhat surprisingly, to direct Marvel’s 2008 “Iron Man” effort. Recapturing those early experiences is an attractive prospect for Favreau.

“I can’t begin to tell you how fulfilling the perennial nature of ‘Elf’ on television has been for me,” he said. “It’s great to be able to connect parents with children both emotionally and through humor. I look forward to exploring family entertainment once again and examining the specifics of our day-to-day lives against the backdrop of an extraordinary adventure.”

Favreau will remain a producer on Marvel’s 2012 adaptation of “The Avengers,” the all-star comics series in which Iron Man stars. ” ‘Iron Man’ has given me tremendous opportunities and Kevin and I are enjoying a lot of momentum in our careers thanks to the ‘Iron Man’ films,” he said.” I look forward to seeing what others can do playing in the same world.”

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