The LA Times hosted a live chat between Iron Man director Jon Favreau and his fans yesterday, during the course of which plenty was said about the process of making the sequel and working within the onscreen Marvel universe.

You can read the whole thing here and take in selected quotes below, but the bottom line is simple: Favreau knows all too well what made the first film great, he knows that he doesn’t have very much time at all to hammer a similarly excellent second film into shape, and he’s got pretty specific ideas about how the developing film version of Marvel’s grand scheme should work.

In the interest of keeping the extraneous crap to a minimum, I’ve simply excerpted Favreau’s comments so you can get the big picture quickly.

On the failure or compromised nature of superhero movies in general:
The reason that superhero films in the past have fallen short is either
because the director was unfamiliar source material or the director
chose to depart from it for personal reasons.Another reason is that the
studios that have had the rights to a particular franchise would never
think twice about compromising the source material if thought it would
enhance the commerical appeal.

On what made Iron Man work:
I focus mostly on story and character. I put a great value on emotion,
humor and natural dialogue. The effects are fun to explore in original
ways, but without a strong story, they mean nothing.

On the interconnectedness of Marvel directors:
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 during”Hulk”
and I think that would have been helpful. I hope to be in contact with
directors in the future.

On the sequel, and what it might entail:
- Mandarin is still an important figure in the Iron Man universe. We have
an interesting take on him that allows us to incorporate the whole
pantheon of villains. The whole 10 Rings thing in IM 1 was a good tease
for it.

- The sequel is shaping up to incorporate Tony’s vision for the future. What happens after he says “I am Iron Man?”
- Shield is imortant to the franchise, and what is Shield without Fury?
- We need War Machine. Agreed. Shoulder cannons and all.

On the possibility of the Demon in a Bottle story being part of the sequel:
Stark has issues with booze. 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.

On the effect of the demanding schedule:
The date is daunting. 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 tha past few months. It has to be great, though. It has to be