UPDATE: A week or so ago we brought you the story below, based on some pap shots that seemed to suggest the star-spangled Iron Patriot armour (or possibly Detroit Steel) would be showing up in Iron Man 3. Not quite the case, according to some more digging by Latino Review: it's apparently a snazzily updated version of Don Cheadle's War Machine armour. This is what happens when the US Government (and Hammer Industries?) gets hold of a Stark suit...
With Shane Black's Iron Man 3 currently shooting in North Carolina, more details other than basic casting are starting to leak from the set. Latino Review believe they've confirmed that Ben Kingsley, as previously much suspected, is indeed playing Tony Stark's stalwart antagonist The Mandarin. But perhaps more surprising is SuperHeroHype's reveal that Iron Patriot might be about to make an appearance.
If you'd rather avoid knowing any further details, you'd best bail out now.
Still here? Right, Mandarin first. Jon Favreau (director of the first two films, and still playing Happy Hogan in the third) said ages ago that the not-so-politically-correct evil genius and Ten Rings honcho would be likely to make an appearance in the future. The word on the street here though, is that he's only a secondary villain in this instance, likely providing shadowy back-up for Guy Pearce's Aldrich Killian. With Extremis the premise this time around, it's possible that The Mandarin is being moved into position for more mischief even further down the line.
Iron Patriot, meanwhile, is the star-spangled armour worn by Spider-Man villain Norman Osborne in the comics, during all the Dark Avengers / Secret Invasion business in 2009. It's basically a mash-up of an Iron Man suit and the Captain America costume (Cap having been temporarily deceased at the time).
Since Norman Osborne currently belongs to Sony, however, the Patriot armour, as apparently revealed in some pap shots, is being worn in Iron Man 3 by... someone else (possibly James Badge Dale, who's playing Eric Savin; Savin in the Marvel canon is the super-soldier-cyborg Coldblood).
So how does all this fit together? Where's Black going with all this? Are the Patriot shots an elaborate hoax? Or, as again suggested by LR, is this not Iron Patriot at all, but rather Detroit Steel, the super-pumped and equally starry-and-stripey armour from more recent Iron Man comics? Are Hammer Industries on the warpath? Give us your musings in the comments below.
Iron Man 3, of course, stars Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Ashley Hamilton, as well as the aformentioned Kingsley, Pearce, Dale and Favreau. It's out in the UK on May 3 next year.