"Iron Man" director Jon Favreau had plenty to say about the film future of Marvel's armored hero during a live, online Q&A session with fans, including some hints about the storylines that will drive "Iron Man 2," the characters -- both good and bad -- that could make an appearance, and how he feels about the other big superhero movie that hit theaters this year.
"Mandarin is still an important figure in the Iron Man universe," wrote Favreau during the live chat hosted by the LA Times' Hero Complex blog. "We have an interesting take on him that allows us to incorporate the whole pantheon of villains. The whole 10 Rings thing in ['Iron Man'] was a good tease for it."
Later in the chat, when asked by a fan if there was any thought given to introducing a female villain such as Madame Masque, Favreau seemed to spark what's likely to be the next big "Iron Man" rumor, responding, "Female villain... Now there's an interesting notion."
As for the storyline of the "Iron Man" sequels, Favreau wrote that Tony Stark's decision to reveal his identity at the end of the first film would drive the plot for following films.
"The sequel is shaping up to incorporate Tony's vision for the future," wrote Favreau. "What happens after he says 'I am Iron Man?' ... He announced who he was and we have now officially departed from the standard secret ID superhero. Tony was already famous before the announcement. What would really happen if this went down? Fun to explore."
Favreau seemed to downplay the likelihood that future films would touch on Stark's famous "Demon in a Bottle" battle with alcoholism, writing, "That's part of who he is. I don't think we'll ever do the 'Leaving Las Vegas' version, but it will be dealt with. "
After initially embracing the notion of IMAX for "Iron Man" sequels, Favreau seemed a bit more hesitant to embrace the technology during the chat, telling a fan it was "tough to actually shoot in IMAX when you have a CG hero much of the time. The effects become very expensive and may not look as good in the higher resolution. [It] worked very well for ["'The Dark Knight'], though."
And that wasn't the only mention of "Dark Knight" during the conversation, as fans pressed Favreau for his thoughts on the blockbuster film that knocked "Iron Man" out of the spotlight and asked him to compare the two comics-savvy projects.
"We are very different films," wrote Favreau. "They are similar as far as the underlying material, but are different in personality. I think they reflect the tastes of the filmmakers."
Favreau wrote that the success of "Dark Knight" essentially "took the spotlight off us," adding, "I would be happy to be Pepsi to their Coke for the next ten years. 'The choice of a new generation!'"
Asked whether the May 7, 2010, release date for "Iron Man 2" is feasible, Favreau said the date is "daunting," but "we are making much faster progress than the first time around and have much less to design and fewer casting issues."
"I am confident that 2010 is achievable if we continue working together as we have for the past few months," wrote Favreau. "It has to be great, though. It has to be great."
Fans should expect to see more of Samuel L. Jackson and his portrayal of S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury, too, as Favreau told one participant in the chat, "[S.H.I.E.L.D.] is important to the franchise, and what is S.H.I.E.L.D. without Fury?"
Along with Fury, several participants asked about a potential appearance by another fan-favorite character, War Machine -- to which Favreau responded, "We need War Machine. Agreed. Shoulder cannons and all."
Questioned about who else might have played Tony Stark if not Robert Downey Jr., Favreau name-checked "Choke" star Sam Rockwell as one of the actors he considered for the role. (And just to show you that everything is related, MTV News spoke with Rockwell about almost being The Hulk earlier this month, while "Choke" was adapted and directed by "Iron Man" actor Clark Gregg! And now you know!)
One music fan in the chat asked Favreau about the contributions of Rage Against the Machine band member Tom Morello to the "Iron Man" score, to which the director responded, "I've known Morello for many many years. He has always been a huge [Iron Man] fan. He was nice enough to lay down some guitar for the score."
Asked what comics property he'd like to tackle outside of "Iron Man," Favreau wrote, "The only other comic character I would do is Groo." (You're going to have to fight Rian Johnson for that one, Jon.)
Finally, Favreau had quite a bit to say about collaboration between filmmakers helming the slate of Marvel Studios films for the next few years, writing, "I think its important for all filmmakers working for Marvel to collaborate so there is a consistency in the films, so yes they should keep in touch."
"I had not been in touch really with Louis [Leterrier] during 'Hulk' and I think that would have been helpful," he added. "I hope to be in contact with directors in the future."
"Now that Marvel is making its own movies, every movie has to fit into the Marvel universe. The Avengers incorporates not just Iron Man, but Thor, possibly the Hulk and traditionally Captain America as well," continued Favreau. "As it is, it's scheduled 'Thor' will come out the same summer as 'Iron Man 2’ and 'Captain America' will come out a few months before 'Avengers.' All the films have to come together to create a consistent universe. That's very important to everyone involved."
Wow! that's a lot of "Iron Man" sequel news, eh? What do you think, readers?