Did you read the two-part Iron Man 3 prelude comic series by Marvel Comics? It’s primary purpose was to explain the absence of James “Rhodey” Rhodes AKA War Machine (Don Cheadle) during the events of The Avengers, which saw Earth’s Mightiest fend off an alien invasion in the heart of Manhattan. The two issues are considered canon material by Marvel Studios and serve to bridge the story gap for Cheadle’s character in between Iron Man 2 & 3.

It’s conclusion – released two weeks ago – did more than that though, also confirming a major rumor surrounding Tony Stark’s abilities and new suits (yes, plural) that will appear in the first “Phase Two” Marvel Studios production, and it may also be something fans will get a glimpse at in the upcoming second Iron Man 3 trailer.

In September we found out some potential rumors about Tony Stark’s armor in Iron Man 3, stemming from reports that Tony Stark’s main armor in the threequel, the one first unveiled at last summer’s Comic-Con, would carry the designation of Mark XLVII. Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige confirmed that the next armor wouldn’t be the Mark VIII, that it wouldn’t follow the numbered order of introductions of his armors in the series, and images of toy packaging added more credence to the idea that Stark will have many suits of armor under his control in his next adventure. What exactly does that mean?

Be warned, what’s written ahead can be considered spoilers for Iron Man 3

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Marvel’s Iron Man 3 Prelude – part 2 has two ending pages that will excite fans of the films. One’s an epilogue page of sorts teasing the introduction of the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) in the actual Iron Man 3 movie, and the other, features Stark in the R&D level of his mansion with Rhodey beside him as a pile of Mark VII suits emerge from the floor. Stark says:

“Iron Man’s not enough. Not even with a War Machine watching his back.

For what’s coming, we’re gonna need an Iron Legion.”

This partly confirms the rumor that there are dozens of armors (between VII and XLVII) that Stark will control in Iron Man 3, mixing and matching components and weapons systems as some of the toy lines suggest. With the Extremis virus, Stark not only gains the ability to interface with his armor and other tech around him, but of a set of suits he builds. This could explain some of the scenes in the trailer where we see the new golden armor on top of him and at one point scaring Pepper Potts while they’re sleeping.

In two weeks fans may have a chance to see the Iron Legion (army?) in action when the second official Iron Man 3 trailer hits theaters, attached to Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful on March 8th. The new trailer was officially classified PG last week with a run-length of 2:25. According to sources of Bleeding Cool who’ve seen the new trailer, it features the following (summarized in bullet form):

  • U.S. President declares war on The Ten Rings and Mandarin
  • Multiple shots of The Mandarin, threatening Tony Stark
  • Stark upset, tells Mandarin it’s personal and that he’s coming for him
  • Stark and Rhodey flying together into battle, along with the Iron Legion
  • There are “dozens” of Iron Man suits flying with them and Stark refers to them as “his boys”
  • The additional armors all look different (more evidence on those rumors of mixing and matching), many with never-before-seen designs
  • There’s a final shot of a large armor suit bashing through a wall and although unconfirmed, it might be the Hulkbuster or some variation of it

In addition to leaked toy images and concept art fueling the rumors about Tony Stark flying to space and meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy in the post-credits sequence of the film, another piece of recently uncovered art hinted at a new variation of what could be the Hulkbuster armor, or at least some massive, special armor Stark could wear, if it is in fact, art for the film.

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, 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, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015 and Ant-Man on November 6, 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news.

Source: Bleeding Cool