No Iron Man film is safe from one or two armor upgrades during its running time. Iron Man 1 and its sequel both featured Tony Stark wearing three different armors each and even in The Avengers, Robert Downey Jr. managed to showcase something cool and new for him to wear against Loki and the alien invaders.

For Iron Man 3, we’ve long known that Shane Black and Drew Pearce’s screenplay is drawing ideas and inspiration from Warren Ellis’ 2005-06 “Extremis” mini-series where the character gets a new origin of sorts via nanotechnology, allowing him to change into the armor at will. It was hinted at in The Avengers and in Iron Man 3, it’ll offering a chance for Stark to once again to suit up in something new. But he’s not the only one getting new duds.

Early on in principal photography, photos from the set of Iron Man 3 revealed a new armor design, or at least, one that was painted differently to look like the Iron Patriot armor from the comics. As we learned later, it’s actually a new color scheme for James “Rhodey” Rhodes’ War Machine (Don Cheadle), clearly inspired by the return of Captain America to the modern era in The Avengers.

As for the star of the show, Iron Man 3 concept art released for Comic-Con teased the Extremis armor and we learned that Marvel Studios would have a surprise for fans at their booth. They actually brought the new and drastically different armor to the show floor the day of the Iron Man 3 panel presentation and it was on that day that Extremis was revealed.

The few minutes of footage played during the Marvel Studios presentation showcased Tony Stark trying out the Extremis armor for the first time, calling pieces of it to his body one-by-one at will. We don’t know yet if there will be another armor suit or upgrade Stark wears but rumor has it that there will definitely be more armor suits in the film.

With the Iron Patriot and Extremis variants debuting in Iron Man 3, the color spectrum on armor designs is certainly widening, as emphasized in this piece of promo art that found its way online yesterday evening:

The drastic changes to armor color (not necessarily, design) for the next installment scream of an attempt to take advantage of merchandising opportunities from the first post-Avengers film. The image hints of another battle involving Iron Man and War Machine working together, and show that War Machine is getting a weapons upgrade.

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: The Daily BLAM!