'Iron Man 3' Casting Call Confirms Returning Character Roster

Marvel's big team-up movie The Avengers, the film towards which the studio has been building for several years, hits on May 4. But plans are already underway for a third Iron Man movie, in which Robert Downey, Jr. will return to star under the direction of Shane Black, who directed Downey in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

We don't know a lot about Iron Man 3 other than that it is said to be a more self-contained story than the previous two films. It is rumored to have some relation to the Extremis storyline from Iron Man's comic book continuity, but that is unconfirmed at this point.

But now we do have some casting call info for the third film that seems to confirm a few returning characters. Check out that info below.

Here's some info from the casting sheet:

Two-time Academy Award nominated Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his roles as as Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero, Iron Man. Scarlett Johansson will return from "Iron Man 2? playing Natasha Romanoff aka "The Black Widow", and Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark's closest friend, love interest, and business partner Pepper Potts. Don Cheadle, who replaced Terrence Howard after the first "Iron Man", returns as Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes – Stark's personal pilot, chief aviation engineer for Stark International, and one of Stark's closest friends.

Multi talented actor, screenwriter and film director Shane Black is taking over the directing duties from Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films in the "Iron Man" series. Black also is writing the screenplay for "iron Man 3? with Drew Pierce and Robert Downey Jr's creative input. He recently said not to expect "Iron Man 3? to feature any other heroes from Marvel's universe saying that after "The Avengers" the plan is to go back to self-contained single-character stories. Shane Black has directed Robert Downey Jr. before – in Black's last feature film directing job "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" in 2005.

The real confirmation here is that Scarlett Johansson will appear in the film. Guess that means she survives The Avengers? (Not that we expected any other fate.) The casting call also includes a note that the film will feature over one thousand extras, and the following shoot info:

Shooting will take place in the Wilmington, NC area and other locations in North Carolina from May 21, 2012 through September 7, 2012. The film's main stars are being cast out of Los Angeles, however many supporting and day player acting roles will be cast in North Carolina. All of the extras, photo-doubles and stand-ins for the films stars will be cast in North Carolina. The production will create 550 "high-quality, well-paying jobs" and 1,000 talent opportunities in N.C.

[Daily Film Auditions via The Daily BLAM!]