After pimp-walking into Hall H to the sound of Luther Vandros’ “Never Too Much,” Robert Downey Jr. had the thousands of fans in the palm of his hand — which happened to be encased in an Iron Man glove.
Iron Man 3 is currently half-way through principal photography in North Carolina, and Saturday’s panel (expertly moderated by Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times) brought in Downey, Don Cheadle (as his Air Force ally War Machine,) Jon Favreau (the director of the last two Iron Man films, who now executive produces and co-stars as driver/bodyguard Happy) and director and co-writer Shane Black.
“I have three questions,” Downey said from the stage. “How much do I love you?”
“Question #2: How much do you love me?”
“Question #3: Why aren’t we watching any footage yet?”
The first scene in the series of clips confirms longstanding rumors that this movie would take some storypoints from the Extremis comic book series, in which Tony Stark is implanted with nanobot technology that allows him to draw his armor to his body remotely. (In other words, his mechanical assistant, JARVIS, no longer needs to dress him like George Jetson.)
“Good afternoon, ladies,” Stark says to his Hall of Armor, which now includes seven Iron Man suits. “Welcome to the birthing suite! I’m pleased to announce the imminent arrival of your bouncing, bad-ass baby brother.”
Something’s not working, however. Stark taps his bare forearm (A-ha! The mechanism is driven by something inside his body now, instead of the bracelets we saw in The Avengers.)
The armor won’t fly, then begins slamming onto him, clamping to his arm and leg. A big piece hits him in the crotch, knocking him backward, and another section blasts through one of the glass walls in his armor display case. “Slow it down,” he commands JARVIS, as bits and pieces attach.
Finally, most of the suit is intact, but his faceplate floats into the air — seeming to stare at him — and then Stark beckons it like a bullfighter. “Come on … I ain’t scared of you.”
As it rockets toward his face, the mask hits the corner of a shelf and flips. So Tony has to do the same, turning upside down and hovering there with one repulsor-arm aimed down as he catches the mask with his face.
The next scene is Stark talking with Favreau’s Happy via video chat. We learn Happy has quit his employ. Like any jealous friend, Happy also smack-talks The Avengers gang.
“Now you’re off with your … superfriends,” he says, dismissively. “I don’t know what’s going on with you anymore. My grandmother lives in Manhattan. She jumped out of a second-story window because she saw a giant snake-robot coming out of the sky.”
“Relax – we handled it,” Stark tells him.
Here’s where the fun and games end. The next few shots show Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall, but its only flashes — no dialogue or action. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts is seen kissing Stark in his new armor — weirdly, with the face-plate down.
A voice begins to speak — it’s Ben Kingsley, playing a character who has not yet been revealed.
“Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher,” he says.
“Lesson #1: Heroes – there is no such thing.”
Then we see giant black helicopters hovering outside. It’s unclear if Pepper is still in the house, or if this is a cut to a different scene, but rockets soon reduce Stark’s familiar bachelor pad to rubble. The Hall of Armor collapses into the Pacific Ocean, and Iron Man is shown tangled in cables as he sinks to the bottom.
“As you cry out for mercy … You will be silenced.”
We then see a close up of some massive, mystical-looking rings — and here is where longtime comic book fans began to cheer.
The next shot looks like some kind of anarchist/wizard/hippie — Kingsley in full Mandarin gear, including the alien rings that give him his power. (Here’s an image of him from Marvel’s comic books, but unfortunately no footage of Kingsley’s version was released.)
Although The Avengers all went their separate ways at the end of that movie, Feige was asked about whether we might see mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner (a.k.a. The Hulk) turn up in Iron Man 3, since he and Stark seemed to forge a closer friendship.
“Well, if you remember at the end of Avengers, he jumped into the car with Tony,” Feige said, drawing anticipatory cheers — which he then shot down. “And Tony dropped him off at the Port Authority, and we’ll see him again someday.”
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