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Editorial: Is This The Face Of "Pop Culture" Royalty?


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When it comes to “Pop Culture” in Hollywood, I think most would agree that a handful of names are considered royalty. Names like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Stan Lee. Even in more recent times names, like J.J Abrams have been tossed around. But perhaps one of the most overlooked names in Hollywood today is Jon Favreau.

In my opinion, Favreau might actually be recorded in history as one of the most impactful players in Hollywood when it comes to modern “Pop Culture”.

In order to share my reasons as to why, let’s take a look at the man’s career. I probably first became aware of him as an actor when he portrayed the character Gutter in the 1994 comedy movie “PCU” which starred Jeremy Piven. It was a fairly small role, but one of the most memorable in the film. I believe Favreau’ first credited role was actually in the 1993 film titled “Rudy”, but I don’t really remember his character from there. Favreau went on to prove his comedic chops in films like the 2000 film “The Replacements” which starred Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman.

I would say Favreau’s first real part in the world of modern “Pop Culture” was role of Foggy Nelson in the 2003 “Daredevil” movie which starred Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. While that movie itself was considered a failure by most, I think Favreau did a solid job with the Nelson character.

However, acting really isn’t were Favreau made his mark in Hollywood. It was when he stepped over to the directing side of things that he really started to make things happen.

In 2003, he directed arguably one of the best modern Christmas movies with Elf which starred Will Ferrell and James Caan.

Then in 2008, Favreau changed Hollywood forever by directing "Iron Man" which kicked off the MCU and became a monumental box office success. At that time, the Iron Man character was by no means a household name like it is today, and the film’s star Robert Downey Jr. had developed a reputation that was less than stellar due to his history with drugs. Favreau, who also had an acting role in the film as Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan, not only helped put Marvel’s name on the map, he also played a significant role in convincing the studio that Downey, despite all his past problems, was the right man to lead the MCU to greatness.

Favreau also directed "Iron Man 2" and has served as an executive producer on many other MCU films including all the "Avengers" movies.

Marvel however isn’t where Favreau’s story ends, because now the man is playing a key role in revitalizing another little “Pop Culture” franchise called Star Wars.

Favreau’s first encounter with a “Galaxy Far Far Away” came back in 2010 when he once again exercised his acting chops by voicing the character known as Pre Vizsla, the leader of the Mandalorian Death Watch, in “The Clone Wars” animated series. There, he developed a relationship with Dave Filoni who played a lead role in developing that animated series as well as creating and developing the animated series “Rebels”. Filoni, in my opinion, is one of the best things to happen to Star Wars since George Lucas first created the franchise, but that is a story for another day.

Favreau along with help from Filoni most recently has gone on to executive produce and write the hit Disney+ series “The Mandalorian”. Only in its second season, that series has seemingly done what the J.J Abrams-helmed movies failed to do, which is return Star Wars to greatness in the eyes of many of its fans.

Favreau was actually in contention to direct “Force Awakens”, but inevitably the job went to Abrams who at the time had just helped successfully relaunch the Star Trek franchise with the Chris Pine Universe. Abrams actually left Star Trek to go work on Star Wars. One has to wonder how things would have turned out if Favreau had been given the big chair for “Force Awakens”. Who knows, maybe both the Star Trek and Star Wars movies would have turned out better if he had.

Anyway, despite what happens in the future, I don’t think there is any denying the impact Favreau has already had on “Pop Culture” and many of our favorite franchises that are part of that. Personally, I think Favreau is just getting started and can’t wait to see what comes next.

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Either he devours the show or ends up spilling it, as he's already the center of attention and, well, with the current status of the entertainment industry it does not surprise me at all.

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Favreau is a talented filmmaker no doubt about it. He is definitely overlooked, he helped Kickstart the MCU, something he doesn't get enough credit for and even with the Mandalorian series a lot of people want to give Filoni most or all of the credit. I think it would be a good idea for Lucasfilm to keep him around and maybe consult with him on future projects. I agree he played a great Foggy Nelson. 

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