“I want to headline season 2”: Iron Man Director Jon Favreau Had One Condition For His MCU Return in What If Season 2

Jon Favreau agreed to headline the third episode under the condition of being The Freak.

"I want to headline season 2": Iron Man Director Jon Favreau Had One Condition For His MCU Return in What If Season 2


  • What If...? Season 2 marked the end of a bumpy year for Marvel, which witnessed Happy Hogan finally taking the centerstage.
  • For his reprisal of Happy Hogan in the third episode, Jon Favreau had one condition that the creators agreed to.
  • Reflecting on the influence for the Christmas themed episode, head writer A.C. Bradley revealed why the Bruce Willis-led action classic was chosen as the inspiration.
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What If…? Season 2 marked the end of a bumpy year for the MCU, which witnessed more lows than highs for the industry giant. And even though the second season of the animated show doesn’t surpass the one that came before, it had its charms, with one of the biggest positives being Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan, who ends up saving Christmas.

Released on Christmas Eve, the 3rd episode, What If… Happy Hogan Saved Christmas? witnessed Favreau headlining the episode, and as the title suggests, he does end up saving Christmas. But the actor mightn’t have returned for the second season if the creators didn’t let him play The Freak.


Also read: “I wasn’t really welcomed”: Elton John Despised Iron Man Director Jon Favreau’s Classic Disney Remake For Killing The Original Magic

Jon Favreau
Jon Favreau

The Freak Was the Key to Jon Favreau’s Return in the Second Season

While Jon Favreau was happy to star in both seasons, the director put a condition for the second one, which involved The Freak. This demand shaped up the third episode of the show, in which Hogan gets injected with Hulk blood that ends up turning him into The Freak. Head writer Bradley recalled,


“He read the two episodes that he would be appearing in Season 1 and he called up and said, ‘I’ll do the show. But here’s the deal. I want to headline Season 2, and I want to be The Freak.’ And we’re like, ‘Okay! Let’s figure this out,'”

Initially, A.C. Bradley wasn’t familiar with the character beforehand but they figured it out eventually and pitched it as Die Hard, imploring Marvel to let them “do this as a Christmas episode”.

Also read What If…? Season 2 Voice Cast: Every Original MCU Actor Who Has Returned for Marvel’s Best Project of 2023

The Freak | Marvel
The Freak | Marvel

The Reason Why This Episode Took the Die Hard Route

Before they resorted to the Die Hard route for the Jon Favreau-led episode, they initially looked into another holiday classic, Elf, which also starred Favreau alongside Will Ferrell. But as the story goes, they dropped the idea of the Christmas classic and shifted to Bruce Willis’ Die Hard, particularly because Bradley was a huge fan of the iconic action flick, which was her favorite movie growing up.


She said (via /Film),

“And we started looking at his amazing movies. And we even had a little mention of ‘The Chef Show’ in there […] and we were looking at ‘Elf,’ and were like, ‘No, we can’t do ‘Elf.’ Let’s do ‘Die Hard.” Which is my favorite movie from childhood. Absolutely. I memorized it, I think, by the time I hit 10 years old.”

Also read: Jon Favreau Had to Turn to Primal Creator Genndy Tartakovsky to Save His ‘Messy’ Iron Man 2 Starring Robert Downey Jr. After Failing to Find the Right Climax

Die Hard is now considered a Christmas classic
Die Hard

This isn’t the only time an MCU release has paid homage to Die Hard, as prior to the Jon Favreau-led episode, it was Hawkeye, which was too inspired by the Burce Willis-led action.


What If…? is available to stream on Disney Plus.

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Written by Santanu Roy

Articles Published: 1612

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel, and The Platters. Having expertise in everything related to Batman, Santanu spends most of his time watching and learning films, with Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook being his personal favorites. Apart from pursuing a degree in animation, he also possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a writer at Fandomwire with over 1500 articles.