According to a report issued by Hollywood Reporter, Don Cheadle will replace Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes in the sequel to Iron Man.
Details seem to be rather sketchy, but here's the reasoning according to the article:
Marvel had no comment, but sources close to the deal said negotiations with Howard fell through over financial differences, among other reasons. Marvel, which had wanted to work with Cheadle, then decided to take the role in another direction and approached the actor...
So, first off, I've got to say, I don't really care. While Terrence Howard is a good actor, and was good in the role, Cheadle is just as good an actor and won't be bad either. I was reading on a number of other websites some comments that this will in some way mess with continuity or ruin the chemistry or other nonsense. Sorry, Howard's role ain't that important, and he wasn't that good. If Robert Downey Jr. refused to come back, then they're screwed. Replacing a good actor in a minor role with another good actor? Not such a big deal.
Having said all that, you have to wonder what exactly went down here. I mean, you would think Marvel locked down the main cast to a multi-pic deal, right? Well, as Iron Man was the first film made by the studio, it's possible that they just locked down Downey and that's it. So, they had renegotiate for sequels, and either Marvel went super-cheap and Howard walked, or Howard went nutty with the demands and they both walked.
So, who's the loser here? Well, Marvel probably would have liked to keep the original cast intact, as they seemed to work so well this time, but Rhodes, even with the whole War Machine thing, is not the star of the film. At the end of the day, this was and is Downey's show. Howard is an Oscar nominated actor, yes, but his career hasn't exactly taken off. Until Iron Man, anyway. My feeling is that he asked for too much money, too much focus in the script, or too much profit participation, and Marvel turned him down. I mean, they're not Paramount, they're a brand new studio with one big hit behind them, and they can't afford to give away the store. Which makes Howard the loser, because he needed this high-profile gig more than they needed him.
Too bad, too, because I liked him as Rhodey. But Cheadle? Man, he could be kick-ass.