Legendary actor Ben Kingsley is in talks to play the villain in the upcoming third installment of the Iron Man franchise, according to Variety. Though Marvel has declined to comment on the deal, insiders have confirmed Kingsley’s involvement.
Despite rumors, insiders said Kingsley will not be playing the role of “The Mandarin,” a Chinese scientist, martial arts expert and archenemy of Tony Stark indirectly responsible for the creation of the Iron Man suit. Instead, Kingsley could play a villain responsible for the spread of destructive nanobots, a story based upon Warren Ellis’ six-issue Extremis story arc, originally published in 2005, which was also used as the basis for the origin story in the first Iron Man film.
In addition to Kingsley, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Scarlett Johansson are all set to reprise their roles from the previous films. The director spot has been handed over from Jon Favreau, who helmed the first two films, to Shane Black, known for writing two of the Lethal Weapon films in addition to directing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, in which Downey Jr. also starred.