Nikki Finke is reporting that Marvel and Jon Favreau have reached a deal, and that the director will be back for the sequel to this summer’s truly surprising smash, Iron Man. Nothing’s been announced yet, but Finke thinks that her sources are 100% correct (and since I think she’s a mouthpiece for Marvel, I believe it), and they’re also telling her that Iron Man 2 is on track for a 2010 release.

Ruh roh! While Favreau is likely getting a nice bump in his salary, the 2010 date – which he was publicly complaining about earlier this summer – doesn’t bode well. It can take a while to whip a script into shape, and since an FX heavy film will need more than a year lead time, Favreau and whatever writers get hired will only have six or so months to come up with something. I sense that this is a movie where everybody will be getting new pages daily, which rarely makes for a compelling film.

Let’s hope I’m wrong and that Favs and his writing team have something so crackerjack that they’ll be able to turn in a tight, well-done draft at the end of the year. Otherwise the next film will really be coasting on Robert Downey Jr’s charisma, something people wrongly accused the first one of doing.