'Iron Man 2': Terrence Howard's out, Don Cheadle's in

Howardcheadleironman_lNot sure what to make of the news, in today’s Hollywood Reporter, that Don Cheadle will be replacing Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2. The article hints that Howard wanted too much money for the sequel, which will see his character, sidekick Jim Rhodes, playing a bigger role, perhaps fulfilling his comic-book destiny as Marvel hero War Machine. But the absence of a deal with Howard also allowed Marvel to "take the role in another direction" by approaching Cheadle, the Reporter says.

What does that mean? Marvel’s not talking about acting talent here; Crash costars Howard and Cheadle are both top-notch, Oscar-nominated actors. But Howard has an intense, leading-man charisma, while Cheadle is a chameleonic actor who seems to vanish into his roles. Some Iron Man viewers found Howard odd and out of place in the film; others cheered him on, especially when he looked at that suit of armor and said, "Next time." What does the fact that "next time" now belongs to Cheadle mean for the Rhodes character and his prominence in the sequel? Will fans prefer Cheadle to Howard, or will they resent any change in the first film’s winning formula? Weigh in below, PopWatchers.

More on Iron Man 2:
Comic-Con 2008: What’s next for the Iron Man franchise
Director Jon Favreau talks about Iron Man‘s success and the sequel plans
PopWatch: How soon do you want another Iron Man movie?
Release dates for Iron Man 2 and other upcoming Marvel movies
Hollywood Insider: Justin Theroux to write Iron Man 2
First Look: Robert Downey Jr. in an extra from the Iron Man DVD

addCredit(“Cheadle: Michael Caulfield/Getty Images”)

Comments (477 total) Add your comment
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  • elena

    Don Cheadle = super intense actor. He doesn’t really strike me as a funny, charismatic Tony Stark friend, especially because Downey is so extremely awesome in the role. Howard brought a little realism and he was definitely a great fit. All I think of when I see Cheadle is how sad Hotel Rwanda was…
    This news kind of sucks, majorly.

    • Miister Sandman

      In reference to “He doesn’t really strike me as a funny, charismatic Tony Stark friend” I beg to differ. He showed his Comedic value, in my opinion, in RUSH HOUR 2. He played a Cantonese Speaking Black Chinese Restaraunt Owner and it was hilarious!

  • BrandonK

    I don’t have anything against either one of them, but I think for this role I slightly prefer Howard.

    • Jimmy

      i fully agree with you (BrandonK) on that!

  • liz

    I think it will be ok. I wasn’t really impressed with Howard in the first place. I thought he was flat in a world of characters that popped. I also think that his role was small enough that it wont matter.

  • Nancy

    Cheadle, always. He’s so fantastic in everything he’s in, and he’s in everything. Why doesn’t he have an Oscar yet?

  • GeeMoney

    I don’t like it when studios change actors in major films, but since I like Don Cheadle, I’m ok with it. I’ll still see the film.

  • GeeMoney

    Not to mention, how much money could Howard have been asking for? It’s not like he was the star of the movie or anything….

    • BEKAH


      • BEKAH

        I read somewhere that as he was the first one cast in Iron Man he actually made MORE money than RDJ and that is ABSURD. Apparently they went to him looking to be more realistic and didn’t feel they needed him as much as originally thought. Seems like a personality conflict somewhere that dudes don’t feel the need to make public.

  • Cara

    Good Lord, this is bad. I cannot STAND Don Cheadle. I don’t know why, he’s really always just ruined everything he’s been in for me. I think he is immensely overrated as an actor, and as a replacement for Terence Howard? No, no, and no. Just give him the money, guys.

    • Michael

      I agree. I don’t like Don Cheadle because I always associate him with sad dramas. His puppy-dog face bums me out. Besides, Don Cheadle doesn’t look anything like Terrence Howard. Don’t they usually try to find someone with a similar appearance? I guess not if Don Cheadle brings in more of a crowd.

    • Miister Sandman

      lol… it’s too late guys, but I bet $10 and a bucket of popcorn you both see it regardless…

      • Jazzy 10

        …. then may i hav my 10dollars and bucket of popcorn pleaz. i will not be attending the veiwing at the theater as i am horribly disappointed with this news!

    • bill

      Seriously, well he handled Iron Super -fan- tastic. Actually cn’t even imagine Howard pulling it off. and Really.. think the repore wiht RDJ and Cheadle was far better..

    • B.G. LaBoo

      I enjoy both actors, however, I always love to see Terrence Howard’s performances.

  • t3hdow

    This is an odd move, but I guess if Maggie Gyllennhal (I know it’s misspelled) can replace Katie Holmes for The Dark Knight, I can deal with this shift as well. I wonder why Terence Howard really opted out, though.

  • Sorella

    Just saw IM on dvd this past weekend. Really, either could play that role, didn’t require much acting chops. Actually, I found Terence Howard a bit flat, he looked bored.

  • Parise

    All I can say is YES! Terrence Howard’s recent comments in the media have been extremely offensive towards women and I was planning to watch this sequel in spite of him being in it, not because he is in it. Don Cheadle is phenomenal and will be much better (and actually charming rather than annoying) in this role.

  • Snarf

    Honestly I don’t think many people will notice the difference (apologies to fans of both actors)

  • dafnap

    What I don’t understand is weren’t all the actors already signed on for two movies at least? That and pretty much everyone, in the press events before the movie, and the interviews after, praised Howard for helping “Iron Man” get on to the big screen because of his attachment to the War Machine character, he was on the project even before Downey or Favreau were signed on.
    That, and Marvel constantly touting the line that people come for the heroes, not the actors, is such *bull.* Marvel differentiated itself from DC by having superheroes who were flawed, distinct personalities, not archetypes, and when you translate those properties to film, the actor plays a huge part in bringing that personality to the screen. They shouldn’t be treated simply as interchangeable faces behind a mask.
    …wow, that was totally an essay. Yikes. Strong feelings, I has them.

    • Jazzy 10

      … wow i had no idea thanks for the info i totally agree , n my opinion i also think that they shud hav put howard in the iron man 2 because cheadle is totally dull

  • Jason

    I can’t believe that Don Cheadle costs any less money than Terrance Howard would want, so I imagine that this is a step in possibly giving Rhodey/War machine a spin-off since Cheadle is more of a top-line star and could probably open a movie better than Howard (especially internationally).

  • fm

    I hadn’t seen anything with Howard prior to Iron Man, so I guess I was expecting more. He had the look, but, to me at least, he came off as too soft.
    Cheadle doesnt have the look (without a bunch of pre-movie bulking up at least), but I’ve very much enjoyed him in everything I’ve seen him in.
    So my vote: Not enthusiastic, but also not dissapointed.

  • Anna

    Sorella, Terrence Howard always looks bored. My guess is that, while money may have part of the issue, the producers may have decided that he’s not really worth the hassle. He has a reputation for being extremely difficult.
    Elena, Cheadle’s not that intense of an actor. He’s actually really good in comedic roles. He was excellent in Talk to Me and Devil in a Blue Dress and in his guest performances on the Bernie Mac show.
    I haven’t seen Ironman yet so I don’t know what the character requires. My initial concern would be that Cheadle’s quite a bit smaller than Howard but that may not matter.

    • Miister Sandman

      lol@a bit smaller. I almost forgot about MOUSE! He was very funny from word go in that flick!

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