How much do you want to know about Iron Man 3 before the film is even finished shooting? We’re in the center of the Venn diagram that features circles of rumor and spoiler, so I’ll keep things after the break.

But the basics are as follows: Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) is in North Carolina shooting Iron Man 3 now, with Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, and Jon Favreau reprising their roles from the past films and The Avengers. Actors new to the series include Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Andy Lau, James Badge Dale, Rebecca Hall, Ashley Hamilton, and likely William Sadler. We know that Kingsley is a villain, and rumors have persisted for months that he plays the Mandarin, which Marvel roundly denies. Now there’s a report that claims to shed some light on how the film’s villainous power structure works.

Update: There’s also new info about the appearance of a specific Iron Man suit, the Iron Patriot. Details on that have been added below.

Latino Review says it can confirm that “The Mandarin is played by Ben Kingsley and [is] a villain in the movie despite Marvel’s continued insistence that he’s not.”

The site also says that Kingsley isn’t the primary, or the most active baddie in the film. That’s Guy Pearce, who we know is playing Aldrich Killian. He’s backed by the Mandarin, but is the real architect of the nanotech ‘Extremis army’ that will likely include Coldblood (Dale) and Firepower (Hamilton).

LR is pretty confident about this info, and the site was among the first to report that Loki was the villain in The Avengers, even as Marvel denied that fact. But just as there were a good many rumors about The Avengers that turned out to be completely false, we’ll still hear some wrong reports about Iron Man 3 in the months to come. I’m hoping this one is on the money, because Guy Pearce playing the prime baddie in a Shane Black film is something I really want to see.

Update: In addition to the above, ComingSoon says the red white and blue ‘Iron Patriot’ armor will be in the film, though we don’t know if it will be worn by Tony Stark, Rhodey, or someone else. The armor appeared in the wake of Marvel’s ‘Secret Invasion’ storyline, and was originally worn by Norman Osborn as a suit meant to reflect both Iron Man and Captain America. Marvel Studios can’t use Osborn (he’s at Sony, with the Spider-Man rights package) so if CS is correct and the armor is in this film, some other character will have to wear it.

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