As impossible as it sounds to believe now, Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t the highest-paid cast member on Iron Man after pocketing an upfront salary of just $500,000. Instead, that honor fell to Terrence Howard, who subsequently found himself booted out of the franchise in short order after reportedly butting heads with the studio over his salary for the sequel.
Don Cheadle was drafted in as his replacement, where he’s gone on to spend the next decade as one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s marquee supporting players, as well as a key member of the Avengers. You have to wonder if Howard rues the day he was given his marching orders looking at the unprecedented success that followed in Iron Man‘s wake, but at least his co-star hasn’t forgotten his contributions.
In new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe via ScreenRant, RDJ makes sure to thank Howard when reminiscing on his involvement with the superhero series and praising a long list of colleagues and collaborators.
“While I have your car, I’ll reach way back to day one, and express gratitude to Howard (our original Rhodey), who was integral to my being cast.”
Of course, nobody could have predicted at the time that Iron Man would turn out to be one of the most important blockbuster movies ever made looking at where the MCU finds itself now, but Howard surely finds himself stricken with the odd pang of regret every now and then.