Fans who were expecting to see Terrence Howard wear the War Machine armor in Iron Man 2 were no doubt deeply surprised and shocked when it was announced that Howard would be replaced by Don Cheadle in the sequel. Curiosity has run rampant about what led to the substitution, and now Entertainment Weekly has put some information together from insiders to form a hypothesis about the cause behind Howard's departure.
The two most often suggested theories stem from either money being paid to Howard, or reported difficulties on the set. And it turns out that it's possible that the explanation is a bit of both. According to the reports, Howard was the first actor signed on for the first Iron Man, and was the highest paid as well, above the film's other three headliners, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Patlrow. Additionally, Favreau and his producers seemed unhappy with Howard's performance, spending a great deal of time recutting and reshooting his scenes.
Due to these factors, Favreau and screenwriter planned for Howard to have a much smaller role in the second film. When Marvel caught wind of this, they went to Howard with a new and significantly reduced salary offer.
What happened then remains unclear, including the question of whether Marvel or Howard's people walked away first. In either case, once negotiations broke down, Marvel quickly locked Cheadle in to the role, and the story was then leaked on October 14, 2008.