"Iron Man 3" updates – Iron Patriot arrives

It’s nice to get some post-“Marvel’s The Avengers” news from the Marvel Studios front.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, it was reported that Jon Favreau, who directed the first two installments of the “Iron Man” franchise but wasn’t returning behind the camera for part 3, would still reprise his on-camera role as Tony Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan. I loved Favreau’s take on Iron Man, but was probably most disappointed at the thought of him not being in the third movie so it’s nice to see that Happy won’t have to get recast a la James Rhodes with Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle.

The ante will definitely be upped for “Iron Man 3”  as this will be the debut of Stark’s main adversary – The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. The Mandarin is Asian and Kingsley, of course, is not. Typically, comic movies have to diversify the cast as many of the iconic characters were introduced before diversity was considered a noteworthy endeavor so this is an interesting twist on that front.

And now today, Yahoo’s Spotted on Set caught a few pictures of another of Stark’s foes – Iron Patriot. While the comic-book Avengers were in the midst of a massive falling out after “Civil War,” Spider-Man’s main foe Norman Osborn – The Green Goblin – became the media darling after ending an alien invasion by killing the invasion’s leader. He furthered his new found goodwill by creating his own team of heroes and in a not-so-subtle dig at Tony Stark, takes one of Stark’s Iron Man suits, painted it red, white and blue for that perfect patriot look and dubbed himself “Iron Patriot” as seen in 2009’s “Dark Avengers.”  The Dark Avengers was pretty interesting to read and Osborn made for a perfect villain because you couldn’t wait for him to get his tail handed to him by the end.

Since Osborn is a Spider-Man villain and tied up with Sony Pictures, he couldn’t be used in an Iron Man movie, so Marvel Studios has Eric Savin in the role. Savin first appeared in Marvel Comics Presents #26 (August 1989). Savin was a cyborg named Coldblood-7  and among the regular super-strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, he also can interface with any computer system… like say Iron Man’s armor? James Badge Dale (“The Departed”) is Savin in “Iron Man 3.”

Rebecca Hall (“The Town”) has as of yet an undisclosed role, but it’s no stretch to think she could be one of Stark’s old flames. One particularly interesting one is Madame Masque, a crime lord who blames Stark for her father’s death.

Guy Pearce is playing Aldrich Killian, a scientist introduced in “Extremis,” the 2006 modernized update to the Iron Man story since most younger readers have no clue about Vietnam, the original conflict that forced Stark to don his armor. Killian helps unleash Extremis on the world and it’s up to Stark to stop it from falling into the wrong hands.

Beyond the momentum from “Marvel’s The Avengers,” the Iron Man franchise is a license to print money for Marvel Studios as well and  “Iron Man 3” is pretty much a lock to be one of the best and highest grossing films of 2013. Clearly it’s just a Marvel world and we’re all living in it.