While the first Iron Man had the unenviable task of starting a whole new phase of Marvel movies, Iron Man 3 has it even tougher. Shane Black‘s film is the first to follow the uber-success of The Avengers and kick off the second phase in the Cinematic Universe. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) now functions in a world where he’s been into space, fought aliens and is friends with a god and a Hulk. In all likelihood, those facts have changed him, and they might affect his next movie, too.

In response to that, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says yes and no. Yes, the knowledge of the greater universe beyond his own vision has changed Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, but no, the film won’t feature any members of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers. After the jump, read his quotes on those points, the tone of the film and Ben Kingsley’s turn as the Mandarin.

The below quotes come from interviews both in Empire (via Collider) and the West Australian (via Coming Soon).

First up, Feige reiterates something he’s said in the past, how The Avengers has changed Tony Stark in Iron Man 3:

By the end of Avengers, when a portal is opened up in Manhattan and he’s met Thor and The Hulk and the Chitauri are coming down on him. he realizes that he doesn’t know everything; we think that has had an effect on his psyche, and then his world is blown out from underneath him.

So that would make it sound like Iron Man 3 is going to be some kind of deep seated character study. Nope. Not the case at all:

It’s not a serious movie, but we seriously dig into exploring more of Tony. The trick is just trying to make great movies. We try to make them all great, all different and all fresh. What you’ll see in Iron Man 3 is some very unique directions that were taken.

One of those directions, playing off the non-serious tone, is the relationship between Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Tony Stark, especially with Rhodey wearing the Iron Patriot armor:

The notion in the movie is that a red, white and blue suit is a bold statement, and it’s meant to be. With Rhodey, he’s very much the foil to Tony’s eccentricities, and in this one you get to see this and be reminded of the trust and friendship between them in that great Shane Black buddy-cop fashion.

That’s one team-up the film is going to feature, but what about Stark with his new found buddies, The Avengers? More Feige:

Iron Man 3 doesn’t feature any of the other Avengers, or Nick Fury showing up, or any of those world-blending conceits that the Phase One films had. You have to keep in mind that Iron Man 3 had been in the works for almost a year, year and a half before The Avengers was released. We’re sticking to the vision for these films, and showing once again that these characters are just as interesting alone as they are together.

That obviously can’t rule out some kind of connection to the following films, but, it’s interesting that no one would come to his rescue with a villain as formidable as The Mandarin:

Early – and very late – drafts of Iron Man 1 featured The Mandarin as a villain. The Mandarin is his most famous foe in the comics mainly because he’s been around the longest. If you look, there’s not necessarily a definitive Mandarin storyline in the comics. So it was really about having an idea. In terms of the Fu Manchu stereotyping that was involved, we never had any interest in that. He’s relentless. Assuming that he’s the one responsible for what happens to Tony’s house, no other villain has been able to strike that fast and that hard at one of our heroes. He’s very much about believing that the world needs to learn, and he wants to bend the world to his vision.

In retrospect, it obviously works better to have Stark face his greatest foe now when we’re more familiar with him. Hopefully, that’ll raise the stakes in Iron Man 3 way beyond the first two films.

Iron Man 3, the first film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two, opens May 3. How do you think it sounds?

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