The release of The Avengers is now less than a month away, but Marvel is gearing up to start production on their first post-Avengers pic, Iron Man 3. Though little is known regarding the plot, Marvel and director Shane Black have apparently settled on their villain. Variety reports that Sir Ben Kingsley is now in final negotiations to take on the antagonist role in the third Iron Man pic. Though Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau had been setting up the Mandarin as the villain for Iron Man 3, insiders apparently denied that Kingsley would be playing the brilliant and wealthy Chinese scientist. So who exactly will he be playing? Hit the jump for more.
Fans of the comic series have been hoping to see the Mandarin portrayed on the big screen, as the character is a classic villain from the source material who used ten alien-forged rings of power as weapons against his foes. Alas, it appears fans will have to wait a bit longer for the Mandarin to get his day in the sun. We recently learned that the plot of Iron Man 3 would involve nanobot technology that Tony Stark incorporates into his suit, with the conflict coming in the form of a nanobot virus.
Per Variety, Kingsley would play a role that revolves around the spreading of said virus. The storyline is loosely based on Warren Ellis’ Extremis series that focused on nanotechnology. Kingsley’s a swell actor and is definitely in line with the caliber of talent that Favreau brought to the first Iron Man with Jeff Bridges, so I think he’s a nice addition to the cast. It’s hard to say whether he’s right for the role, as we don’t really know what the role is. Production on the film is set to get underway in May in North Carolina, with Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Scarlett Johansson all reprising their roles from the previous films. Kingsley is currently filming the adaptation of Ender’s Game.
Hopefully we’ll hear more about Kingsley’s character soon, but in the meantime I’ll leave it to those more versed in Iron Man lore than me to speculate away in the comments. Iron Man 3 opens on May 3rd, 2013.