After doing double duty as an actor and director with the first two Iron Man films, Jon Favreau is coming back for Iron Man 3. He’ll just remain in front of the camera this time. Favreau will return as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s trusty driver who, in the comic books, eventually gets mutated into the Freak. That’s not likely to happen in this film, but his return shows a vote of confidence in new writer/director Shane Black and leaves the possiblity open in the future. There’s more after the jump.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of Favreau’s return which, actually, was a no brainer. Favreau willingly left the franchise, was a producer on The Avengers and has been a vocal supporter of all things Marvel. Other than Kevin Feige, Favreau’s success with the first two Iron Man films, both financially and with his cast including Robert Downey Jr., has probably been the most important piece of this whole Marvel equation. Plus, if he wasn’t in the movie, everyone would be like, “Did Tony fire Happy?”

Favreau also tweeted this:

Here’s the rundown on Iron Man 3.

Iron Man 3 is rumored to be centered on the Extremis story line. It just started filming this week in North Carolina aimed at a May 3, 2013 release date. The budget was just increased by $40 million and along with returning stars Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, the film features new characters played by Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley and James Badge Dale. For more on the movie, check out our backlog of articles on all of this here.

Are you surprised that Favreau is coming back? Do you think Happy Hogan will figure more into this movie, is it just for continuity or does it set up his character for future sequels?

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