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Report: The Mandarin IS in Iron Man 3

— by ADAM POYNTER —

Ever since “The Avengers” arrived, it has been setting box office records domestically and internationally — and it continues to do so.

Even though the world has caught Avengers fever, the minds at Marvel Studios are looking to the future of their many franchises, starting with “Iron Man 3,” which has already begun production and filming. Director Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) has taken over for Jon Favreau in the director’s chair and from what I am hearing, this film will be really different from “Iron Man 2” — while still maintaining the best parts of the original.

Although casting announcements have been rolling out lately and the plot seems to be taking shape, we have heard from the studio even before the film was cast that Tony Stark’s archetypal villain “The Mandarin” would not be in the movie. Even after Ben Kingsley was cast as one of a couple of villains and everyone thought he would make a great Mandarin, we still got denials about the character being a part of the third Iron Man film.

Now, however, the folks over at Latino Review have released some very interesting bits of information about the film from “sources close to the production.”

Here is a breakdown of what they are saying: Ben Kingsley WILL be playing The Mandarin but not as a main villain. He will be more of a mastermind behind Guy Pearce’s character Aldrich Killian. Killian is the man inventing the Extremis nanotechnology and putting it into his “Extremis army” of multiple super-powered individuals. As we reported earlier, the inclusion of side villains Firepower (Ashley Hamilton) and Coldblood-7 (James Badge Dale) will not be portrayed in the movie as they have been in the comics, but rather generic cyborgs to be enhanced with Killian’s Extremis technology.

So what do you think of the news that Iron Man’s archenemy will finally be portrayed onscreen, but not as the main villain? I think it is awesome but at the same time kind of a letdown. I know that in the past the inclusion of 10 magical rings would have been a problem to fit into the universe Marvel created and connected on their road to the Avengers, but ever since “Thor” was released and we saw the inclusion of magic and mystical powers, I don’t think the magical rings would be such a problem to explain anymore. I will say that if “Iron Man 3” is a lead-in for the Mandarin to take over as the main villain in either “Iron Man 4” or to be included in a future Avengers sequel, then I am OK with that as well.

Which addition to the cast are you happiest with or which returning characters do you always want to see more of? Leave a comment and let us know. “Iron Man 3” cast already includes: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, Don Cheadle, James Badge Dale, Ashley Hamilton, William Sadler, Jon Favreau and Andy Lau.

“Iron Man 3” is set to hit theaters May 3, 2013.

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