I just came from an epic hour long interview with Jon Favreau (for the Iron Man DVD) where he spent a lot of time talking about his plans for Iron Man 2 and 3. A lot of time. I’ll be updating this article with quotes as the day goes along (hint: don’t use Recorder on the iPhone to record long interviews, as the app doesn’t like wifi syncing files more than like a minute long, so you’ll have to transcribe right off the phone), but here are some paraphrases of what he said:

- He’s been working with screenwriter Justin Theroux and Robert Downey Jr very hard on the script for the next film. He was just at RDJ’s house the day before talking about the movie.

- While it’s still early in the process, Favreau said that he very much wants War Machine in the second film. He said that Rhodey had a smaller than anticipated role in the first movie and that he would like to rectify that.

- Happy Hogan will also be getting more screentime, he said. ‘Or else I walk!’ he threatened.

- The Mandarin is the overarching, behind the scenes villain of Favreau’s planned trilogy, but he’s very aware of how hard it is to keep a character like that cool. He compared it to The Emperor from Star Wars – when you first see him, you’re blown away that Darth Vader is bowing down to someone but by Jedi you just want The Emperor to shut up. And by Clone Wars he’s a sidekick.

- The Mandarin is also ‘surrounded by minefields,’ specifically the racial aspects and the fact that his powers are arcane in nature. Favreau is very aware of keeping his Iron Man films playing by their own rules, and that seems to preclude magic rings, especially ones that Favreau says would upset the very balance of nature in the universe. Don’t expect to see The Mandarin in robes jumping around shooting freeze rays. They were thinking that a traditional Mandarin might work until they saw the trailers for the new Mummy - ‘They had The Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom!’ Favreau said.

- The reality of Iron Man is something he’s very concerned with when it comes to The Avengers. Favreau thinks Hulk and Captain America work to an extent in Iron Man’s universe, but he’s not 100% sure about Thor.

- He was surprised that the fun cameos he put into Iron Man have now become part of the Marvel movie style. He says it’s challenging having to work specific scenes into your movie, but with his improv background it’s a challenge he likes.

- Favreau wants to complicate the personal stories in the sequels, not the plot lines. He sort of pointed at The Dark Knight as a movie that had a very complicated plot, and said he wanted to make his movies the kind of films where you don’t have to study up on what came before. To him it’s about the characters first and the stories should be simple and fun.

- The burgeoning new Cold War interests Favreau. World events have made many of Iron Man’s stories and enemies current again. Could we be seeing Crimson Dynamo?

- Favreau is aware that the end battle of Iron Man wasn’t that spectacular, and he’s looking to really up the ante on the action next time. He said that he learned a lot about shooting action on the first film; the scene where Iron Man shoots the hostage takers in the desert town was the very last bit that Favreau shot for the film after reshoots, and he thinks that he found the way to incorporate humor and character into his action there.

- He’s really excited about Matt Fraction’s run on the Iron Man comic, and he hints that these comics – which he feels also feed off the movie – will inform the next film. He’s looking to meet with Fraction soon.

- Demon In A Bottle is coming. Favreau sees his trilogy as almost one long story, comparing it less to the Spider-Man films, which are modular, and more to The Lord of the Rings or even a season of a TV show.

This is just scratching the surface. I have almost a solid hour of Favreau talking on tape, and it’s jam packed with great, funny, fascinating stuff.