Jon Favreau To Direct Robert Downey Jr. In 'Cowboys And Aliens' – But What About 'The Avengers'?

Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.As if this week's bombshell announcement about Disney acquiring Marvel Entertainment wasn't big enough, here comes yet another doozy for the comic book company–except this time, it might not necessarily be to Marvel's betterment.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Iron Man" collaborators Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau will team up as director and star once again for "Cowboys and Aliens," an adaptation of the Platinum Studios comic book by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley. The screenplay was written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof.

Downey Jr. has been attached to star in the film for quite a while now, even if his commitment was wavering at times. Favreau, however, is an entirely new element.

If you're wondering how this new project involves Marvel Studios in any way beyond Favreau and Downey Jr.'s past history on "Iron Man," it breaks down like this:

Favreau is currently working post-production on "Iron Man 2" for a 2010 theater release date. The superhero sequel is the first in a long line of films leading up to the release of "The Avengers" in 2012. If Favreau's next directorial gig is "Cowboys and Aliens" (like the report suggests), then his chances of living up to fans' hopes by directing "The Avengers" might be rather slim considering the proximity of the projects.

More important than Favreau, however, is Robert Downey Jr. himself. The actor has his hands full with multiple franchises including "Iron Man," "Sherlock Holmes," a potential revival of Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles" and now "Cowboys and Aliens." Although Favreau's work is paramount to "Iron Man" success, Downey Jr.'s role as Tony Stark is an essential ingredient for the on-screen success of "The Avengers."

So, while the prospect of Favreau and RDJ teaming up on another comic book property is nothing short of exciting, it might mean that Marvel's careful build-up towards "The Avengers" could be in for an bumpy ride.

What do you think of Favreau and Downey Jr. collaborating yet again for "Cowboys & Aliens"? Does it forecast bad things for the Marvel movie universe or are you more excited about the prospect of further work between the filmmaker and the actor? Sound off in the comments section!