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UPDATE: Variety has updated their first report and has added that Kingsley's character will be responsible for the spread of a virus through nanobots. This somewhat confirms previous rumors that Iron Man 3 will be based on the six-issue comic arc "Extremis," from which both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 borrowed parts.
We were technically promised that The Mandarin, the arch-nemesis of Iron Man, would be in Iron Man 3. On May 10, 2010 it was reported that Jon Favreau said the big bad would be the villain in the third installment of the franchise. But here's the catch: Jon Favreau isn't directing Iron Man 3 anymore. Instead, that role is now being played by Shane Black, who worked with star Robert Downey Jr. on the amazing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and apparently The Mandarin is not part of his plans. But he does have someone lined up to play the antagonist.
Variety is saying that Ben Kingsley is now in talks to play the villain in Iron Man 3. But in revealing the potential casting, insiders confirmed to the trade that the villain will not be The Mandarin and did not reveal who it would be instead. The script for the film was written by Shane Black and Drew Pierce and production is scheduled to get underway next month, exactly one year away from the release date set on May 3, 2013.
So if Ben Kingsley isn't going to be playing The Mandarin, who do you think that he will be playing? Given the age differential between Kingsley and Downey Jr. I get the sense that the two of them won't be doing much hand-to-hand combat, or at least not without wearing big metal suits. Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.