Who's Who in IRON MAN 3: New Names, Familiar Faces

UPDATE: Here's the trailer!


Iron Man 3 is still more than six months away, but the promotional machine is already in motion. A (very) short video and USA Today article have both surfaced, each meant to signal the impending arrival of a proper teaser trailer, debuting Tuesday.

Said by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to kick off "Phase 2" of the incredibly successful feature film line, Iron Man 3 brings many new characters to the mythos. But you don't want to wait until May 3, 2013 to be properly informed, do you? Here's a handy guide to the movie's additions, so you can feel suitably equipped to answer when your friends or family ask you, "Who's that dude? Is he from the comics?"


Mandarin: Iron Man's archenemy in comic book lore, Mandarin has been foreshadowed since the first — though comments by Iron Man 3 director Shane Black (quoted as calling the character, a Chinese supervillain, a "racist caricature") at one point made an appearance seem unlikely. But he definitely is appearing in the film, and played by Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley.

In the comics, he's best known for wielding 10 rings that each grant considerable power (including a "matter rearranger"), which corresponds to the name of the terrorist group ("Ten Rings") in the 2008 film.

Aldrich Killian: Guy Pearce joins the Marvel Studios franchise as the co-creator of "Extremis" (much more on that here), but Aldrich Killian is not a character with a ton of history in the Marvel Universe. In fact, he died in the same story he was introduced in, the Warren Ellis/Adi Granov "Extremis" arc that serves as partial inspiration to the Iron Man 3 plot.

Presumably, this means one of two possibilities: The character will depart a good deal from the source material, or Pearce has a pretty small (though seemingly important) role.


Maya Hansen: Though it wasn't publicly known what part Rebecca Hall would play in Iron Man 3 when her casting was known a few months back, it was widely speculated to be Maya Hansen, Killian's partner in developing Extremis.

Those people were exactly right, and Hansen has the advantage of being a more developed character than Killian — she survived the Ellis/Granov story, and was later manipulated the Mandarin (who had his own Extremis-fueled plot in mind), which could provide clues to her role in the film).

Eric Savin: Word broke back in May that James Badge Dale would be playing a villain named "Eric Savin" in Iron Man 3, confusing for a couple of reasons: in the Marvel Universe, Eric Savin is a heroic character named Coldblood; and he really doesn't have much to do with Iron Man.

Yet the reports were accurate, and Dale himself was quoted in Vulture earlier this month that the character was "loosely based on Coldblood." How he fits into the movie's narrative isn't known at this point, but it's not too difficult to draw a line between a guy that wears armor and needs an arc reactor to stay alive and a cyborg, like Coldblood.


Iron Patriot: One thing that has been made clear about Eric Savin — he is not the character spotted on set a few months back wearing what looked like the Iron Patriot armor, as some had originally concluded. It looks like that was actually Don Cheadle's character James Rhodes/War Machine, though the reasons for the new look haven't been revealed.

Iron Patriot has a recent but storied history in Marvel's comics, first appearing as Norman Osborn's Captain America/Iron Man mash-up during the "Dark Reign" era. Marvel is clearly giving the character a concentrated push —the armor will soon debut in the Ultimate Universe, plus there's a new Iron Patriot in the relaunched Marvel NOW! Secret Avengers and the company has filed several trademarks relating to the character. It's all a bit too much to be a coincidence, and it seems like a good bet that War Machine — or maybe someone else — will at least temporarily adopt the name "Iron Patriot" during Iron Man 3.


Chen Lu: Several international sites including Chinesefilms have reported that Chinese actor Wang Xueqi will play Chen Lu, known in Marvel Comics as the Radioactive Man (a character who predates the Simpsons superhero by a few decades, so don't expect Fallout Boy).

In the comics, though Radioactive Man was one of the original Masters of Evil, he's attempted to reform, and was once a mostly heroic member of the Thunderbolts. It's not yet known if Wang will appear in the film as Radioactive Man, or just his civilian identity (possibly planting seeds for an Iron Man 4).

Firepower: Ashley Hamilton made tabloid news back in 1993 when he was married to Shannen Doherty for three weeks, but now he's got a new claim to fame: Appearing in Iron Man 3 as Jack Taggert, an armored villain named Firepower.

The character dates back to the famous 1988 "Armor Wars" story, and was charged by the government to stop Iron Man. Recently, Firepower appeared during the "Demon" story in Invincible Iron Man, under control of Mandarin — who, logic would state, probably has something to do with this character and how he relates to the plot of Iron Man 3. 

And you remember these guys:


Tony Stark: Fresh from the billion-dollar blowout of Avengers, Iron Man 3 focuses back in on Robert Downey Jr.'s iconic take on Tony Stark. "He basically loses all of his toys and is forced to just use his mind to rebuild and to face his biggest enemy," Feige told USA Today, resulting in what the paper called "the most advanced Iron Man suit yet."

Pepper Potts: Gwyneth Paltrow was also in Avengers, and though not much has been said at this point about Pepper's character arc in Iron Man 3 — and whether it sees her take up the Rescue armor as she has in the comic — Feige said she has a "very big part in this film."

James Rhodes: War Machine was noticeably absent during the course of Avengers, something that looks to be explored in comic book form starting in January, courtesy of the two-part Iron Man 3 Prelude. Beyond that, the question remains: Why the red-white-and-blue suit, especially in light of its villainous history in the comics? 

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