Does Iron Man 3's new shooting location give us villain clues?

Though we got a very interesting piece of Iron Man 3 baddie casting news last week, we still don't actually know who the villain will be. Director Shane Black still isn't saying, but a new international production deal for the flick just stirred up one very, very persistent rumor.

Marvel and Disney announced on Monday that they've entered into an unprecedented deal with Chinese company DMG entertainment "to co-produce Iron Man 3 in China," with DMG agreeing to invest in the film, distribute it in China and handle the Chinese co-production with Disney's Chinese branch and Marvel Studios.

"We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring Iron Man to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way," Rob Steffens, general manager of operations and finance for Marvel Studios, said in a press release. "We are confident that Marvel's stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China's fast-growing film marketplace."

Of course, no plot details were divulged in the announcement, but when you say "Iron Man" and "China" in the same sentence everyone immediately starts thinking (again) of the Mandarin, the billionaire Chinese supergenius that's been doing battle with Tony Stark since 1964.

Jon Favreau was dropping hints about including Mandarin back when he had the franchise, but Black has since dismissed the character as a "racist caricature," and insiders told Variety last week that Mandarin wasn't in the cards for the third flick.

That all seemed to add up to a pretty definitive NO, but then something like this comes along. This is a huge deal Marvel and Disney just made, and they made it for an Iron Man movie rather than for one of the plethora of other blockbuster projects they're working on these days. With something this huge looming large over the Iron Man 3 production, it seems we won't be able to put those Mandarin rumors to rest until we finally see the flick.

(Via Comic Book Movie)

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