The foundational legacy of Iron Man was melded into the very core of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by its fledgling cast comprising Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jon Favreau, Jeff Bridges, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Most of them stuck till the end of the MCU’s Infinity Saga, some even stepped beyond and into the intermediary nameless Phase 4. But one major shift that was made effective immediately after Marvel’s takeoff (and its immediate Disney acquisition) was the recasting of Colonel James Rhodes.
With time, wounds were not healed, and the bitter aftertaste expressed itself when Terrence Howard opened up in an interview 4 years after the incident to give his two cents.
Terrence Howard Talks Retirement and Iron Man Controversy
2022 will close out the aptly named final chapters of The Best Man that had begun in 1999 and along with it Terrence Howard‘s own acting career. Speaking of retirement, the Hustle & Flow actor says,
“This is the end for me. I don’t know if it’s the end for the rest of them. I retired two years ago, for the most part. I was done… I asked Sidney Poitier 10 years ago does he want to do any more work, and he said, ‘Why would I spend my last 10 years doing an impersonation of myself?’ And that’s what I’ve gotten to. I’ve gotten to the point where now I’ve given the very best that I have as an actor.”
In a 2013 interview on Watch What Happens Live, Terrence Howard openly talked about the misconception about Robert Downey Jr.‘s magnanimity.
“This is gonna get me in a lot of trouble, but who gives a f**k. 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.”
He recently also recalled his time on the Iron Man set, the residual grudge and resentment he holds against his character’s recasting, and Disney’s stringent policies that ultimately led to the actor walking out of the set
“Iron Man was a big dance. It was great until Disney took it over. Once Disney took it over, they started looking after money. You know, the very first thing they did was come in and shook everyone down and shook Gwyneth Paltrow down, try to shake my character down and my agent said F-U and hung up.
It used to be about creativity, but when we first stepped on that set, Robert had so much to prove, and I had a lot to prove. Gwyneth had a lot to prove, and I think we did it. We made our statements. And now it’s like, ‘Let’s see where the universe goes to.'”
Whether his statements against RDJ and Marvel’s creative evolution hold water in the recent landscape remains a subject of further debate but as far as Howard’s allegations against Disney are concerned, it doesn’t sound too far-fetched considering how rumors about his salary disputes against the company have existed for over a decade now.
Iron Man Legacy Tainted By Amputation of Terrence Howard
At the time, it wasn’t a major cause of sensationalism or controversy for Terrence Howard to be replaced by Don Cheadle. As such, the debate didn’t have any cause to pool over to the faction of the internet that had begun catching up on Disney’s alleged tactics of whitewashing its marketing across international waters. In fact, the debate was about something so commonplace that it flew under the radar for the majority of the fandom. The actor who played Col. Rhodes aka War Machine stood up to the new management aka Disney and its policies of profitability and shakedowns.
Disney’s 2009 acquisition of Marvel Studios came with a few terms and conditions in the fine print. The parent company sought to focus on the financial aspects over creativity and to make Marvel a successful franchise, in the long run, a mishap like the one that took place behind the scenes of Iron Man could not be repeated ever again. But their experimental days of improv acting and on-the-spot script rearrangements that RDJ and Jeff Bridges recall with such shock and delight could easily be labeled as beginner’s luck.
Consequently, when Disney began to streamline their efforts and shake down the cast of the 2008 Iron Man, Terrence Howard’s agent said no to the salary cut, and the actor was replaced by someone who seemed more cooperative to Disney’s new offer on the table. Howard was labeled by news outlets at the time as either “wronged” or “completely delusional”.
Iron Man is available for streaming on Disney+. Terrence Howard’s latest project, The Best Man: The Final Chapters premieres on Peacock on 22 December 2022.
Source: Entertainment Tonight