Couple o' bits of Iron Man news for ya. Some you'll find elsewhere, some you'll only find right here at Screen Rant. :-)
First the news you'll see elsewhere... Jon Favreau has made an entry over at his MySpace page stating why he's been so tight-lipped about the movie:
I'm exhausted. I could never have imagined how overwhelming of an experience a movie like this is. I could not be happier with the way the movie is turning out or the reactions we are getting to both the official and unofficial images that are floating out there in cyberspace.
I have been relatively quiet for two main reasons. First, I feel like the General of a huge military campaign. I have no life other than Iron Man. Between the script, sets, effects, shooting and editing, I am completely monopolized.
The second reason is, you Iron Man fans are like criminal profilers. You take a few official statements and images, a couple of off the cuff remarks from press junkets and red carpets, and some deftly gathered surveillence footage and are able to take some very uncanny stabs at what the movie will be. The movie is a year away. If I don't keep a few tricks up my sleeve, I can't knock you on your ass in 2008. At the rate you're going, you'll have everything figured out by then. I don't mean to be evasive, but it's my job. I've got to lay low.
(At least until Comicon.)
LOL, yeah I actually think that hard core Iron Man fans are a pretty bright bunch overall. After all, Tony Stark is all about technology and that's a big attractor for the type of fan (techie/computer guys/etc) that's got a logical thought process. :-)
Anyway, on the "Will 'The Mandarin' be in the movie or not?" department, I have it on very good authority that if the character does appear in the movie, it will amount to little more than a cameo as one of the people involved in Tony Stark's initial capture in the Middle East. If the film is succesful (as I expect it to be) they may save Mandarin for the second film. When the movie was first announced it was stated that the Mandarin would be the villain in the film, but it seems that things have changed.
And in regards to the Stane character, here is some background in inviso-text (highlight the following section to read it if you don't mind reading a pretty significant spoiler):........
Stane will have supplied the organization that kidnapped Tony Stark with Stark Industries-built weapons. This same group will be responsible for much havoc in the Middle East. This group then turns around and gives Stane the technology and material that allows him to create the Iron Monger armor.
In related Iron Man news, a long-running fan site has a countdown timer running with a June 5th target date: Advanced Iron - The Ultimate Iron Man Site
That's your friendly Iron Man update!