Jon Favreau Won’t Direct ‘Iron Man 3’?

There are countless reasons as to why the “Iron Man” film franchise has been so successful since launching in 2008, with director Jon Favreau being one of the most essential ingredients. Naturally, then, it’s troubling to hear that Favreau won’t return to direct “Iron Man 3.”

Vulture reports that the director of the first two “Iron Man” films won’t be coming back for its forthcoming third installment. According to the report, Favreau informed Marvel Studios of his decision last night.

[UPDATE: Jon Favreau has confirmed his departure from “Iron Man 3″ via Twitter.]

If true, Favreau’s decision isn’t exactly out of the blue. In a recent interview with MTV News, the director admitted that he didn’t have the clearest picture of “Iron Man 3,” largely due to how “The Avengers” will change the landscape of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“In theory, ’Iron Man 3′ is going to be a sequel or continuation of ’Thor,’ ’Hulk,’ ’Captain America’ and ’Avengers,'” he told us. “This whole world … I have no idea what it is. I don’t think they do either, from conversations I’ve had with those guys.”

Speculation surrounding Favreau’s departure ranges from his lack of clarity over “Iron Man 3″ to Marvel and Disney’s hope of securing a director with a lower price tag. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to note that “Iron Man 3″ is still quite a ways off — Vulture notes that shooting won’t begin until 2012 at earliest — and it’s equally possible that this could be part of a larger negotiation strategy on either Favreau or Marvel/Disney’s part.

MTV News has contacted a representative of Favreau for comment and/or confirmation of the report. In the meantime, hang tight — we’ll have an update for you as soon as possible.

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