I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Jon Favreau's contribution to the modern superhero boom goes vastly understated.
With 2008's Iron Man, Favreau delivered a movie that would serve as the perfect foundation for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. When Doctor Strange comes out on November 4th, it'll be the fourteenth film set in the world that Favreau helped launch.
He may get a lot of flack for what many consider to be one of the Marvel saga's weak points, Iron Man 2, but we must remember that a big part of the reason for that film's issues were the number of cooks in the kitchen. In fact, one could argue that the meddling by Marvel executives- forcing him to lay too much groundwork for The Avengers- was why Favreau stepped away and made a little gem called Chef, about a cook finding his groove again. Considering the sense of burnout Favreau must have felt, it may have been surprising for some when he returned- as an actor- in 2013 for Iron Man 3, to reprise his role as Happy Hogan.
Some may be even more surprised that he'll also appear as Hap again in 2017 in Marvel/Sony's co-venture Spider-Man: Homecoming. But, according to Favreau, this really should come as no shock. The director says that despite his decision to step away from the MCU as a director, he still maintains a very strong relationship with Marvel and considers himself part of the family.
Here's what Favreau told Yahoo how he views returning as Hap, a tease for his appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and about his ties to Marvel, :
"[Appearing as Hap in Spider-Man: Homecoming is] a lot of fun. It allows me to maintain the relationship with the MCU, but also to do other things that are interesting, that are outside of that genre and that set of characters...Especially when the filmmakers are taking care of you, and taking care of the characters and the story. If you’re in good hands, it’s great to come in and play in somebody else’s world. That’s how I started, as an actor. I really enjoy being on other people’s sets, especially if I have cool things to do. It’s all the fun and much less of the responsibility."
On being a part of the Marvel family:
"Well, as far as directing goes, I had done two back-to-back, and that required a tremendous amount of concentration on one subject. Fortunately, I didn’t lose connection with it; I just wasn’t directing there. I still was executive-producing Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3, and I appeared in Iron Man 3. So I maintained the relationship as part of the family."
So it sounds like Favreau is still pretty locked in when it comes to all things Marvel. He's connected to the behind-the-scenes braintrust, he's an executive producer on a couple of their major series, and he's all too happy to reprise the role of Hap- especially when he has "cool things to do," which he seems to be implying he will in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
One has to wonder if the director, who had a global smash hit with The Jungle Book earlier this year, would ever return to the director's chair for Marvel. Perhaps if they ever made another Iron Man film? Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing him tackle either an Avengers movie, or a standalone Spider-Man flick, since he seems to have a great knack for balancing character, spectacle, and fun.