At the beginning of Comic-Con 2012, a few days before the stage of San Diego Convention Center’s largest hall would host the Iron Man 3 presentation, I learned that Marvel Studios had something special planned for the expo floor on that same day. They would be shipping in the new and yet-to-be-unveiled armor design from Iron Man 3 and showcasing it along with the Hall of Armor that has traditionally represented the centerpiece of the Marvel booth each year they promote an Iron Man film.

That armor (the Mark VIII) represents a drastic departure from the designs and color schemes featured in Iron Man 2 and the Mark VII from the final act of The Avengers. The traditional red primary color takes a backseat to a military beige-tan color and gone is the yellow gold that audiences are familiar with. Appearances aside, the functionality of the armor itself is also radically different thanks to Extremis technology. But there’s even more tricks up Tony Stark’s iron sleeve than we first thought.

As we learned back in March, before Iron Man 3 begin principal photography, the story of Iron Man 3 draws inspiration from Warren Ellis’ 2005-06 “Extremis” mini-series. In that take on the character, Tony Stark is given a new contemporary origin of sorts where he’s injected with what’s essentially a bio-tech super-soldier serum that not only enhances his physical body and mental processes, but allows Stark to interface and control his armor and other machinery.

The few minutes of Iron Man 3 footage played for those in attendance for the Iron Man 3 Comic-Con panel demonstrated this new tech in action as Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark playfully called his new Mark VIII armor to him piece by piece by just thinking about it. Our Marvel scooping friends at Latino Review are reporting that the new Mark VIII armor does more than just attach itself to Stark upon command (as depicted in the Iron Man 3 Comic-Con character poster). Spoilers ahead.

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SPOILER WARNING

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In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark’s competitor Justin Hammer commissions Mickey Rourke’s Ivan Vanko character to build what ends up being a fleet of remotely controlled Iron Man-esque drones. Vanko uses them to battle Stark and pal James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes’ War Machine armor but loses out to the good guys in the end. According to the report, it seems Stark was inspired by that idea and when overwhelmed by the Extremis-enhanced minions of the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), he will use a drone army of his own.

In chatting with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in one scene, Stark name drops the Mark XLVII (that’s 47) as the designation number of his current suit. Seeing as by the end of The Avengers, he’s only at the Mark VII, that’s an awfully large amount of armored suit upgrades, and Potts inquires about exactly that. The reason is that the 40 models in between are drones that Stark can control remotely from his Mark VIII suit.

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Tying in with the Extremis technology that new characters Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) will help develop, another character who may play a role in improving Iron Man’s chances against the Mandarin may be played by Chinese actor Xueqi Wang as we learned yesterday. That character – who Andy Lau was initially meant to play – is reportedly going to be a variant of Chen Lu/Radioactive Man from the comics and could have an interesting character arc as someone from the comics who once worked for Mandarin as a bodyguard.

Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black based off of his and Drew Pearce’s screenplay, and stars Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall, Cobie Smulders, William Sadler, James Badge Dale and the voice of Paul Bettany.

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014 and The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Latino Review