Everything is looking on the up and up for Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 and today we have a round-up of news items which feature two of the actors hyping up the film even more and a brand new image for the movie.

Don Cheadle, the new man behind Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the Iron Man franchise spoke with MTV about working with Jon Favreau on set and what their goals were this time around.

“You know, [topping the last film] wasn’t really ever the discussion… We never said, ‘How do we beat it?’ in my opinion. We just said, ‘How do we take what happened in the first film and pay it off now in the second film and really explore what it means now for a character to be going around as an actual super hero that everybody knows.'”

“The mask is off… [Iron Man] is like, ‘It’s me,’ and now what does that really mean?”

In other Iron Man news, the French website, Fantasy.fr has a brand new photo of Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2 as Tony Stark’s rival, Justin Hammer. It’s nothing special, but here it is:

Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2

In the footage we were treated to at the San Diego Comic-Con IM2 panel, Hammer works with Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes character to supply with him weapons for the War Machine suit.

As for the new villain of the franchise, Mickey Rourke, who’s playing Whiplash in Iron Man 2, spoke with reporters yesterday at the Sarajevo Film Festival and talked about how grateful he is for where is career and life is now, taking full blame for ruining it years earlier. He then touched on Iron Man 2 and talked about his age affecting him to the point where he’d not do a sequel to The Wrestler, a movie that he said was by far his most difficult due to the physicality of it.

“I’m not 20 years old any more and when they throw your ass down, something is gonna hurt… My back would go out, my knee would go out. I had three MRIs in the first two months. If they would say they want to make Part 2, I would say, ‘No, thank you.'”

And on Iron Man 2, he promises it will “be better than Iron Man 1, that I can guarantee you.”

If you missed it, take a look at what Rourke may look like in Whiplash armor and check out Scarlett Johansson talking about the future of her character, Black Widow.

With an amazing cast, a great director and the best studio for the job, I’m excited for this movie and I can’t wait till next summer for it.

What are you feelings on Iron Man 2 and its new cast members?

Iron Man 2 opens May 7, 2010.

Sources: News9, Fantasy.fr, MTV