Looks like Robert Downey Jr., no, Tony Stark as played by Robert Downey Jr. (it's hard to separate the two these days) will be having a hard time in the third instalment of "Iron Man" as "Marvel's Iron Man 3" will see a whole new slew of villains. The film sees Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau reprising their roles as Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, James Rhodes, and Happy Hogan, respectively. Unfortunately, Samuel L. Jackson will not return as Nick Fury and Jon Favreau as the film's director, but with stars like Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale and Ben Kingsley to round out the film's principal cast, fans need not worry. Let us take a look at what the newcomers bring to the table:
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the man behind and in the Iron Man suit.
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin
What? A British-Gujerati star playing the role of a British-Chinese antagonist? Yes, you heard that right, The Mandarin, leader of the international terrorist organization that will be Tony Stark/Iron Man's main enemy in "Marvel's Iron Man 3" will be played by 1982's Academy Award winner, Sir Ben Kingsley. According to Kingsley, he was informed of his casting as The Mandarin when he was busy with the filming of "Ender's Game" and what the heck, decided to try his hand.
So what is so great about the The Mandarin as opposed to the other Iron Man villains? Well, it is worth noting that The Mandarin was supposed to be the main antagonist in the first "Iron Man", but the producers decided to push the character's appearance till later until they felt that the superhero franchise was strong enough for such as extreme character!
Director Shane Black explained that they made the decision not to cast a Chinese star as The Mandarin in order to avoid the stereotype of a genius antagonist like Fu Manchu.
James Badge Dale as Eric Savin/Coldblood
Star of Martin Scorsese's "The Departed", James Badge Dale explained that his character, Eric Savin a.k.a. Coldblood, helps to complete the villain trinity of "Marvel's Iron Man 3", "Ben Kingsley (The Mandarin) is the voice, Guy Pearce (Aldrich Killian) is the brain and me, Coldblood, is the force."
Dale added that the Coldblood in the movie will not be the same Coldbood in the Marvel comics, although they may look the same. In the comics, Eric Savin is revived as the cyborg Coldblood-7 by Dr. Gina Dyson and the other Project: Ultra-Tech surgeons. This results in Savin having supernatural powers, speed, stamina and endurance, as well as a strengthened nervous system. Coldblood also has the ability to communicate with any virtual computer system.
Wang Xueqi as Dr. Wu
Previously, there have been many speculations that Hong Kong star Andy Lau will appear in "Marvel's Iron Man 3" playing Chen Lu a.k.a. Radioactive Man. However, it also seems that Andy had to refuse because of his daughter's birth. The offer then went to mainland China actor, Wang Xueqi, after the producers were impressed by his acting in "Bodyguards And Assassins".
Now, the latest reports state that Wang will not be playing Radioactive Man, but Dr. Wu, whose role in the film has not been specified. Aside from Wang, two more mainland China actors, Chen Daoming and Wu Xiubo were said to have joined in the cast of "Iron Man 3" for the China version.
Ashley Hamilton as Jack Taggert/Firepower
The son of George Hamilton and Alana Stewart plays the role of Jack Taggert. In the Marvel comics, Taggert is one of the engineers who were tasked with creating an experimental pilotable suit for Project: Firepower, run by Edwin Cord, Tony Stark's business rival. The project was ostensibly designated by the U.S. Armed Forces as part of the country's defence against enemies. However, when Iron Man launched his "Armor Wars", attacking armored villains and even government agents without provocation, the Firepower program was modified with the specific goal of stopping Iron Man.
Before "Marvel's Iron Man 3", Hamilton has appeared as a contestant in the reality dancing show, "Dancing With The Stars"!
Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian
In the Marvel comics, Aldrich Killian is the creator of the Extremis virus together with his scientist partner, Maya Hansen. He was then suspected of stealing a sample of the virus and selling it to domestic terrorists. In the film, Aldrich is given a bigger role as the secondary antagonist.
"Sherlock Holmes" actor, Jude Law, was the first to be considered for the character, but the role soon went to "Prometheus" star Guy Pearce, who accepted because he wanted to experiment with more different roles recently.
The actor also added that another reason for his accepting the role was that his character was not too prominent in the film, so he does not have to be on set for a long time!
Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen
This English actress is no stranger to film, having given great performances in "The Prestige", "Vicky Christina Barcelona" and "The Town". However, this is the first time that the BAFTA winner is appearing in a superhero film, playing Dr. Maya Hansen, one of the creators of the Extremis virus.
Before Hall was chosen, actresses Gemma Arterton, Diane Kruger and Isla Fisher were considered for the role. "Zero Dark Thirty" star, Jessica Chastain, was first casted as Maya Hansen, but dropped out of the cast list as she was too busy.
Hall describes Maya Hansen as a strong female character, and revealed that she decided to take the role because she has never done "the 'hurry up and wait' movie before. Iron Man is refreshing in a way because it's something out of my realm of experiences."
Catch "Marvel's Iron Man 3" in Malaysia on 26 April and Singapore on 25 April 2013!
Cinema Online, 09 April 2013