Recent rumors narrowed down a potential plot for Iron Man 3 drawing from the 'Extremis' storyline in Warren Ellis' comic book arc, hinting at a key villainous character finally having a proper introduction. With Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) taking over directorial duties for the third installment, and co-writing the screenplay with Drew Pierce, we now at least have details confirming other key characters returning.
The character information revealed on the Iron Man 3 casting call listed below can be considered minor spoilers for the film and The Avengers.
The first Iron Man paved the way for what became the shared Marvel cinematic universe, with the defining crucial moment coming at the end of the credits when Samuel L. Jackson made a cameo appearance as Nick Fury, name-dropping The Avengers initiative. In Iron Man 2, Fury was given a more prominent role as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency began getting involved, for better or worse, with all of the succeeding films. It is here where SHIELD agent Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was also introduced, with her partner Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) later making his first appearance in Thor.
All of these characters will reunite for The Avengers this summer when SHIELD gathers these heroes together, placing Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor alongside SHIELD members Black Widow, Hawkeye and Nick Fury. The following summer, we will at least see one the key SHIELD player again in Iron Man 3.
Here are the key bits from the casting call (complete sheet can be seen on page 2).
Two-time Academy Award nominated Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his roles as as Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero, Iron Man. Scarlett Johansson will return from "Iron Man 2" playing Natasha Romanoff aka "The Black Widow", and Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark's closest friend, love interest, and business partner Pepper Potts. Don Cheadle, who replaced Terrence Howard after the first "Iron Man", returns as Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes - Stark's personal pilot, chief aviation engineer for Stark International, and one of Stark's closest friends.
Multi talented actor, screenwriter and film director Shane Black is taking over the directing duties from Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films in the "Iron Man" series. Black also is writing the screenplay for "iron Man 3" with Drew Pierce and Robert Downey Jr's creative input. He recently said not to expect "Iron Man 3" to feature any other heroes from Marvel's universe saying that after "The Avengers" the plan is to go back to self-contained single-character stories. Shane Black has directed Robert Downey Jr. before - in Black's last feature film directing job "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" in 2005.
Back in December, Johansson revealed she was unsure of whether or not she'd reprise her role in Shane Black's Iron Man 3, and now we can confirm that she will. Better that than a Black Widow solo film which would take the resources away from other projects.
Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and his War Machine armor won't appear in The Avengers but he'll be back along with Pepper Potts for the third Iron Man alongside Black Widow which comes as a bit of a surprise since her role in Iron Man 2 was part of a recruitment effort leading to The Avengers. Perhaps Shane Black, Drew Pierce and Robert Downey Jr. want to push the love triangle drama?
Another key piece of information reiterated in the casting call is that Iron Man 3 won't be relying or sucked into the story of The Avengers, meaning that unlike Iron Man 2 - which was held back by Marvel forcing in a pile of The Avengers pre-work - Iron Man 3 will be able to focus on characters again much like Jon Favreau's first film in the series. Then again, if Black Widow is there, so is SHIELD. And as we know, Samuel L. Jackson has a 9-picture deal with Marvel Studios so he could make a small appearance as well.
Iron Man 3 begins principal photography in May and is scheduled to hit theaters on May 3, 2013.
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Source Daily Film Auditions (via The Daily BLAM!)