Source: Marvel Studios

Jon Favreau will always be known as one of the founding fathers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the director of Iron Man, Favreau kicked things off and set the tone for a massively successful shared universe that has since added 12 more films with several more on the way. Though Favreau has moved on to other directorial projects, he still remains an on-camera fixture of the MCU as Happy Hogan, a character he’s played in all three Iron Man movies and will play again in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

In a recent interview with Yahoo! Movies, Favreau discussed his decision to step away from the MCU as a director while staying connected to the universe for which he helped build the foundation.

“Well, as far as directing goes, I had done two back-to-back, and that required a tremendous amount of concentration on one subject. Fortunately, I didn’t lose connection with it; I just wasn’t directing there. I still was executive-producing Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3, and I appeared in Iron Man 3. So I maintained the relationship as part of the family. And now, in Spider-Man:Homecoming, coming back and reuniting with the characters as an actor — it’s a lot of fun. It allows me to maintain the relationship with the MCU, but also to do other things that are interesting that are outside of that genre and that set of characters.”

For Favreau, playing in the MCU without having to oversee an entire film as the director is quite liberating.

“Yeah. It’s fun to come back as an actor. Especially when the filmmakers are taking care of you, and taking care of the characters and the story. If you’re in good hands, it’s great to come in and play in somebody else’s world. That’s how I started, as an actor. I really enjoy being on other people’s sets, especially if I have cool things to do. It’s all the fun and much less of the responsibility.”

I will watch Jon Favreau play Happy Hogan for as long as there is such a thing as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s great that he still loves playing in that sandbox, though I really hope he one day finds the desire to be a director for Marvel Studios again. If I had my pick, it would be Favreau reuniting with Robert Downey, Jr. for one last ride in a fourth Iron Man movie, but it would also be interesting to see Favreau direct a completely different character within the same universe.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is currently in production and will swing into theaters July 7, 2017.