IRON MAN 3 Trailer Breakdown: An In-Depth Look at the New Trailer for IRON MAN 3

     October 24, 2012


By now you’ve surely seen the first trailer for director Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Sir Ben Kingsley.  You might have even glanced at the collection of images we pulled from said trailer to get a closer look at the images hidden within.  Now, we’re going to take those images and speculate as to what they might mean for the plot.  What’s up with War Machine’s paint job? Why is Iron Man all up in people’s faces and being a sleep creep?  Why does an over-sized bunny appear to have an arc-reactor?  What’s the deal with the Mandarin’s rings? Marvel’s Kevin Feige has some insight to share on that last question.  Hit the jump to see the answers.

Iron Man 3, also starring Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall, opens in 3D on May 3rd, 2013.

For a refresher, here’s another look at the trailer for Iron Man 3, followed by some stills with a bit of discussion on each:

As has been noted all over the interwebs, this trailer has a much darker tone than previous iterations of Iron Man.  From Stark’s opening monologue in which he states that he has a lot to apologize for after New York, we’re led to believe that Iron Man 3 is going to pick up right where The Avengers left off.  That brings us to the following image:


There has been some speculation that perhaps this memorial is from a bombed out building as a result of Stark Industries’ weapons getting into the wrong hands.  I’m going to go the other direction and say that this scene is the result of the Chitauri invading New York and vaporizing people in the streets.  The scene occurs in the trailer when Stark is talking about not being able to sleep and having nightmares.  Perhaps his ability to finally make the “sacrifice play” has opened him up to guilt and remorse that his previously over-confident self couldn’t be bothered with. (God, I hope he starts drinking in this one.)


While Stark is busy tinkering with his new armor, his armor is apparently busy doing other things.  We previously reported that Iron Man 3 is based on the Warren Ellis comic arc, “Extremis,” in which nanotechnology allows Stark to bond with the armor (the strongest version yet) and become Iron Man whenever he chooses.  This technology is great in the fact that Stark no longer has to carry around a briefcase suit of armor or dive out of a building in the hopes that his rocketing armor suit will catch up to his homing bracelets in time.  But it’s crappy in the fact that villains like Aldrich Killian (Pearce) can use it to infect the other suits and turn them into weaponized drones. Why else would Iron Man be attacking planes or sleep creeping on Pepper Potts (Paltrow) or mounting Stark in the dominant position?




Little attention has been paid to Paul Bettany, who voices Stark’s computerized assistant, Jarvis.  I’m curious as to whether or not Jarvis will become corrupted in the film or act as an “inside man” to help Stark right the Extremis infection.  A silent suit would certainly be creepy, but perhaps Bettany will have to voice some dialogue in scenes with the AWOL robo-suits.

Speaking of those suits, Stark apparently solved the “icing problem” back in the original film and we saw him SCUBA-suiting in The Avengers, but it looks as if his new Mark XLVII armor is getting the full climate test in this one.  Not only will he be practically blown up in the third movie, but he’ll be dragged underwater (shouldn’t be a problem, right?) and somehow end up surrounded by ice and snow.  Hope Stark purchased the all-weather option.





Meanwhile, Stark’s armor isn’t the only thing getting upgraded as the trailer shows a quick glimpse at Tony going under the knife, possibly for an upgrade to his arc reactor, but probably for the nano-technology treatment.  But, hey, at least when Stark gets home, he’ll have a nice giant bunny stuffed animal to cheer him up…until his house gets blown up.




Wait, is that the Starship Enterprise crash-landing? No, it’s Stark’s Malibu beachfront home being obliterated by, one can only assume, the Mandarin (Kingsley).  While this scene of devastation comes courtesy of a few rockets fired from strafing helicopters, many fans are wondering whether or not the Mandarin will use his infamous rings of power.  Marvel’s Kevin Feige recently spoke to EW on just such a topic, saying not to expect beams of ice or fire like in the comics.  So, no magic, even though magic has already been introduced through Marvel’s films and the comics’ version of the Mandarin has ten rings of unfathomable power:

“But this version of The Mandarin will not follow that same backstory, said Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios.”


What Feige didn’t explain was that creepy tattoo on the back of the Mandarin’s neck.  Bullseye? Captain America shield with an Avengers symbol on it?  Is the Mandarin nothing more than a devout fan who was shunned at one too many comic conventions? Or is the ringless person sporting the tattoo someone else entirely? How very strange…


So we’ve seen Iron Man’s enemies, including Killian, the Mandarin and an army of his own suits turned against him; what’s up with his allies?  First up is Colonel James Rhodes (Cheadle), aka War Machine.  When the first images of his new suit came out, we speculated that it was the Iron Patriot.  Turns out that ol’ War just needed a new paint job.  What’s still up in the air, so to speak, is just who War Machine happens to be body-slamming into that table.




Even without Rhoadsie, Stark still has Pepper…right? Oh, unless Killian puts his creepy moves on her.  Though he’s not alone in this game of hearts as it looks like someone else is seducing Stark.  And what the hell does Dr. Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) have to do with this story?  Oh right, she helped develop Extremis and is an integral part in Stark’s life in more ways than one.




What what about good old stand-by, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau)?  Happy ain’t so lucky this time around, as the trailer showed in a quick glimpse.  Speculation is all we’ve got on the director’s cameo so far but perhaps a bit of fan investment into his character’s fate will make the tale of Iron Man 3 that much more palpable.


For more of our  Iron Man 3 coverage:


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  • harry hartounian

    Dynamite write-up Dave!

  • Nathan

    One section of the trailer I found most interesting and perhaps crucial is the image of the suit being pulled underwater by the destruction of Stark manor. We presumably see Stark and Pepper thrown by the explosions of the rockets fired on the house. Because we know the suit is corrupted in some way I think its fair to speculate that Stark isn’t in the suit that is being pulled under considering the entire structure falls onto it at the bottom of the ocean. The introduction of the nano technology that allows Stark to instantly suit up may contradict this analysis but I think it’s at least interesting.

    • Nerdgasm

      Another thing that could disprove or prove this notion is Pepper finding the mask with the slice in it adn the seemingly blood. So either Tony Does battle during the destruction of the house with a suit that goes under. or he’s in the suit and his armor is recovered but HE isnt….

      • Ash Talon

        I also think the IM suit confronting Pepper is just being sub-consciously controlled by Stark. Also, I think the shot of the IM armor hovering over Stark happens when the mansion is being attacked. The suit comes to Start to protect him. He dons the armor, and eventually gets trapped under the mansion’s debris. Maybe he has to remove some of the armor to escape.

        At this point, I don’t think Stark has the Extremis yet. I think he’ll be forced to subject himself to the Extremis process after the attack. Maybe after realizing how vulnerable he is, he takes steps to making himself more protected with Extremis.

        I’m not really a fan of the whole Extremis angle. I usually hate nano-tech as a plot device. It’s often used as a magical cure for all kinds of conflicts and dangers. I am curious to see how Shane Black handle it, though. And to see how it will affect Downey’s portrayal of Stark.

      • Nerdgasm

        But at the same time the Extremis Virus is what gives him the ability to summon his suites and control them without being in them.. That little headset that he wears most of the other times is suppose to dampen his thoughts when he’s not in the suit itself… so while i think you’re right in the sense that im sure the house scene is probably gunna be our first action scene of the film…the movie will probably open up with Killian announcing that TOny Stark will be their first patient cause maybe Tony wants to figure out to live longer so he can protect the ones he loves.

  • Paul

    For the first image, one would assume it is in America given the crosses and the American flag/windsock thing so I doubt it is back ‘bad guys using stark tech’ thing as that storyline was focused on the middle east. Could be something that is used here but I’d wager it is part of the tie-in from the Avengers battle.

  • Cpt. Hindsight

    Am I the only one that thinks the suit attacking Pepper isn’t being controlled by Mandarin but Tony asleep next to her having a nightmare? The suit booted up cause he still has control over it in his sleep leading him to put in a neural inhibitor for sleep. Also sorry but all I see in the Mandarin tat is a sweet puppy dog tattoo. It looks like a Beagle.

    • Bob

      That’s what i thought to. I think the suit is supposed to come to him when Stark is in trouble. So he was having a nightmare and pepper was trying to wake him up and since shes touching him the suit thinks pepper is the one hurting him and pulls her away. That’s what i think that scene is at least.

  • Grayden

    Mandarin’s a bigger fan of the Capt’s than Agent Coulson! He went straight for the tat.

    • el diablo

      its not captains shield tattoo but the symbol of 10 rings which mandarin wears.

  • Frederico Silva

    Lol, watched the trailer a few times. Thought I’ve seen everything. I was so wrong.

    Thanks for the write-up Dave, it was very helpful!

  • Mike Johnson

    I am thinking the picture of Patriot War Machine slamming a man through the table might also be on Air Force 1

  • Jason

    I suggest everyone watch the IronMan Extremis motion comic. The extremis virus are nano bots that improve the human condition and give Stark access to satellites and control over the suit and provides an exoskeleton secreted through his skin, essentially making him IronMan both in and out of the suit. That being said my theory is the ash marks on the wall are from an extremis infected human or army, as there’s be speculation of it.

  • Nerdgasm

    Anyone gunna speculate on why it looks like Happy has a reactor on his chest as well?

    • Hunter

      tony did say he is having nightmares maybe its a flash from that, who knows

    • Chad

      He doesn’t look like he has a reactor. That’s something form the shirt or the jacket.

    • el diablo

      tony saves happy hogans life with reactor on his chest……

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  • Spanky

    The dude with the tattoo is not the Mandarin.. take a look at the hair cut of both

    When they showed Kingsley/Mandarin he did not have the side of his head trimmed up so close

    • Dave Trumbore

      No rings either. Wonder who this is supposed to be?

    • Chad

      The bun on top of his head is the same… It’s Mandarin. No two characters would have the same hairstyle, especially with a bun.

    • el diablo

      it is mandarin…………one pic without rings and in another shot after he wear all ten…….we can see in trailer that he is adjusting his rings…..just after he wore them.

  • techteen123

    JUST NOTICED THIS!!!!! IN the scene where the war machine (I think??? I’m not an expert on this) is walking on the red carpet in between the soldiers, his eyes are red. When he bodyslams the guy into the table, his eyes are blue. I don’t know if this is him changing from war mode to peace mode (or viceverses since he is bodyslamming in blue), or from control to corruption????

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  • el diablo

    don’t knw why no one is talking about happy hogan…..i think iron man 3 tells story of happy hogan also… Tales of Suspense #74…happy hogan get very ill and stark save his life by Stark’s experimental “Enervator” device. but that make hogan go crazy and steal iron man suit….which tony gets back by fighting it with another suit…..we can see injured hogan in trailer and a mysterious man in iron suit… can be hogan….

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