“I love what he’s done, but f–k ’em”: Terrence Howard Was Frustrated With Robert Downey Jr. For Not Standing Up Against Marvel After Being Replaced By Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2

"I love what he's done, but f--k 'em": Terrence Howard Was Frustrated With Robert Downey Jr. For Not Standing Up Against Marvel After Being Replaced By Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2
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For Terrence Howard, the War Machine would remain a dream for the “next time” always. After his reluctant and longing goodbye as Col. James Rhodes in Iron Man, the reasons for his exit remained quite ambiguous among the fandom. While some were expectant about the actor’s future role embodying War Machine in Marvel, others showed up for the mainstay aka Robert Downey Jr.’s genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist.

Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard in Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard in Iron Man (2008)

In the overshadowing presence of Iron Man himself, the recasting of Terrence Howard’s Rhodey wasn’t much cause for outcries. The early stages of the studio also contributed to the lack of fans calling for his return. However, with enough time gone, the crowd looks back at some of the reasons behind the actor’s exit and his incessant criticisms surrounding the franchise before his eventual reconciliation in 2016.

Also read: “You’ve got an hour”: Terrence Howard’s Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man Feud Rattled Marvel So Bad They Gave Don Cheadle 1 Hour To Decide If He Wants To Replace Him as War Machine


Terrence Howard Calls Out Marvel For Recasting Him

The Iron Man actor could have been so much more than just Rhodey. Terrence Howard‘s legacy, i.e. War Machine which began alongside Robert Downey Jr.‘s Iron Man outlived that of the latter’s character arc and is expected to play a more central role in MCU’s events to come. However, the actor who first put a face to the name did not stay to witness the evolution of his Marvel alter ego. In a scathing criticism, Howard addresses his recasting in a live interview with Andy Cohen:

“You know what’s so funny? Even though I love Don Cheadle so much and I love what he’s done, I still hear a lot of fans asking, ‘Am I going to come back and be War Machine? Am I going to come back and be War Machine?’ I think they could have a huge franchise off of it, but f**k ’em.”

Terrence Howard as Colonel James Rhodes in Iron Man 1
Terrence Howard as Col. James Rhodes

Also read: “Called him at least 17 times that day and 21 the next”: Iron Man Star Terrence Howard Claimed Robert Downey Jr. Owes Him $100M, Said He Let It Go Because “It’s his nature”

The actor also spoke about having a 3-movie deal with Marvel but that he “didn’t know it wasn’t a mutually binding contract.” As for the studio, they could pull back their contract with the actor whenever they wanted to, so when the disagreement with Howard spilled over, Marvel chose to replace him with Don Cheadle.


There were also reports about how Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009 had led to pay cuts. Howard, who was supposed to receive $8 million for Iron Man 2, refused to be shaken down by the new management (who were negotiating for $1 million) and as such, was pushed out of Marvel and the Iron Man franchise.

Terrence Howard’s Animosity Toward Robert Downey Jr.

When news of his recasting started gaining steam, Terrence Howard turned to the one person he stood by since the genesis. However, scores of calls to Robert Downey Jr. went unanswered in the aftermath of the Disney acquisition. In 2013, Howard claimed:

“It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one, took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”

Terrence Howard says RDJ is to blame for his exit
Terrence Howard blames RDJ for not preventing his exit

Also read: Iron Man Star Terrence Howard Wanted to Retire Ever Since Robert Downey Jr. Took Away His $100 Million and Replaced Him With Don Cheadle


In a 2015 article with Rolling Stone, the actor spoke elaborated on his earlier comments against Robert Downey Jr. and how much the latter’s shunning had affected him in the long run, saying:

“Guess who got the million I was supposed to get? He got the whole franchise, so I’ve actually given him $100 million, which ends up being a $100 million loss for me from me trying to look after somebody.”

In 2016, the Iron Man actors met at an event following which Howard posted an image of the pair together on social media declaring the renewal of their friendship, hinting reconciliation was on the horizon.

Iron Man is available for streaming on Disney+.


Source: Watch What Happens Live!


Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1608

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has over 1600 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for music, Monet, and Van Gogh.