Being that Marvel Comics — which is now owned by Disney — has created an ongoing connected universe of franchises with its Avengers movies, it’s become clear now that once you sign up to play a Marvel character your character will potentially pop up in other films. For example, Robert Downey, Jr. does not only star as Tony Stark in the three Iron Man movies, but he also has appeared as Stark in The Avengers and The Incredible Hulk. And it’s well-known that if the film has anything to do with the Avengers, it’s pretty much guaranteed that Samuel L. Jackson‘s Nick Fury will be showing his face.
However, one actor in particular seemed to have escaped the Avengers franchise — Terrence Howard, who played Stark’s friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Iron Man, was replaced by Don Cheadle for Iron Man 2 and 3 (which allowed Cheadle to step into the armor of Rhodey’s superhero alter ego, War Machine). There were many rumors about why Howard didn’t reprise the role in Iron Man 2, including ones that claimed Howard was the highest-paid actor in Iron Man and that he caused problems on the set.
Naturally, that’s not how Howard sees it. During a recent appearance on the radio show Sway in the Morning, Howard opened up on the issue and revealed, “[I was paid] about $4.5m [for the first film]. The second time, [the studio] said ‘We think the movie will be successful with or without you. So, instead of the $8m that we said we were gonna pay you, we’re going to let you come back for a million dollars.’ We did a three-picture deal already, [but] I forgot, I didn’t know it wasn’t a mutually binding contract; it was only beneficial for them and they could bring me back or not. They can honor it or not.”
He later joked about leave the franchise, and hinted that exiting the series led to attempts by Marvel to ruin his career. He said, “(The) worst thing I witnessed was Iron Man killing my career. Or trying to. They tried to.”