Rounding out an exciting day in Hall H at the San Diego Comic-Con was Marvel’s Iron Man 3 presentation featuring Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Producer Kevin Feige, and Director Shane Black. The panel started off with a recap of past Marvel panels and then as only Robert Downey Jr. could, he came dancing through the 6,500 rabid fans, wearing an Iron Man glove as Luther Vandross blasted over the loud speakers. Once on the stage he asked the crowd “Why aren’t we watching any footage yet?” at which point the lights went out and an extended Iron Man 3 trailer began.
It opened with a scene where Tony Stark is in his lab, with a sign saying “Stark R&D Department.” He’s being filmed by his camera bot. And he’s talking to the wall of old Iron Man suits. “Good afternoon ladies,” he says to them. “Welcome to the birthing suite.” He’s about to welcome the arrival of their “bouncing badass baby brother.” He asks Jarvis for seasonal music, and Jarvis puts the needle down on a record of hip hop Christmas music.
Standing around his many armors, Stark commands his JARVIS computer to being the test. Stark strikes a kung fu pose — nothing. He taps his forearm, trying to get something inside to work, before striking the pose again. Suddenly, from across the room, the Iron Man glove comes flying on to his arm. This is the Extremis in its beginnings, a type of armor ripped straight from the comics that allows Stark to control his Iron Man suit…with his mind. After the glove flies on to his arm, he tells Jarvis to let it rip. Pieces of armor start flying on to his body, but it’s all starts happening too quickly. Now the metal braces are zipping every which way, breaking Stark’s lab and forcing him to dodge like he’s got Spidey sense. Eventually, all the pieces assemble on his body, save for the face mask. Turned upside and soaring straight at him, Tony does a flip in the air, rips his glove jets and clips the final piece of armor on upside in the air. Tony Stark: always a showboat.
Then there’s a funny scene where Tony is talking to Happy Hogan, his “former” head of security. Happy says he’s quit, because people laugh at him when he says he’s Iron Man’s bodyguard. Plus Iron Man is busy off joining the Superfriends. Plus Happy Hogan’s grandmother saw a big robot snake come out of the sky in Manhattan and jumped out the window. Tony says it’s been taken care of.
The final big set piece was when a bunch of helicopters with rocket launchers come and destroy Tony’s giant house, causing it to tumble into the sea. Tony gets into the Iron Man armor in time, but Pepper Potts is also caught in the disaster. And Tony watches all his spare Iron Man suits blowing up one by one. Tony is flung out into the water and carried down by the undertow. Over this, the voice of the Mandarin says, “Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes. There is no such thing. As you cry out for mercy, you will be silenced.”
In true Marvel fashion, the trailer had an end teaser of its own. Who is Ben Kingsley? He’s none other than notorious Marvel villain The Mandarin. The leader of the Ten Rings terrorist group. He’s got a crazy hairdo — shaved in the back with a single ponytail. He’s decked out in flowing robes and a ton of bling. Ten rings is right! Kingsley looks evil as hell, and he sits awaiting Stark’s next move in a throne fit for Iron Man’s ultimate villain.
Following the footage a Q&A was held, here are some of the highlights:
• “We’re actually shooting another end scene for Avengers,” revealed Robert Downey Jr; although it’s not quite clear whether he was joking. I think every movie I do is going to be one of the three biggest films of all time, so it’s finally happened.”
• Don Cheadle: “It’s great. We’re getting to the end part of the film, the climactic scene, and I’ve got a lot more to do with Tony. The Tony-Rhodey relationship really opens up.”
• Kevin Feige expressed interest in bringing Rescue (the armoured persona of Pepper Potts, created by Matt Fraction) to the big screen, stating that, “Everyone at this table thinks it would be the coolest thing in the world to see Pepper in a suit.”
• Jon Favreau: “We’ve got an interesting dynamic going on. I never got a chance to have fun with the role before. Now I get to play with Robert which I never really got to do. As far as executive producing as far as directing, I feel like a proud grandfather who doesn’t have to change the diapers but gets to play with the baby.”
• “We’ve got this wonderful actor, Rebecca Hall, she’s brilliant. We’ve got Guy Pearce, James Badge Dale, Ashley Hamilton, Stephanie Showstack… it’s a great cast man,” says Shane Black. “We’ve got all these pieces, all these interlocking parts, it’s not like Spider-Man 3 where they’re all separate.”
• For now, it appears as if Robert Downey Jr.’s future as Tony Stark/Iron Man is far from set in stone. “Don’s and mine’s deal runs out after Iron Man 3, then we’re going to figure out what we want to continue. The future is uncertain, I’m super happy. This has just been an amazing journey.”
• How has Tony Stark changed in Iron Man 3? Robert Downey Jr. says, “The idea this time is, what is the need for this third picture? How does it tie it together? There’s been a wishlist of scenes we’ve wanted to see.” Shane Black adds, “To make it seem like it is the culmination of the trilogy, that was the task. How do you dig in, reach back and touch what was there before? We’re actually going back to the roots of this thing, try to dig out the myth of it.”
• Shane Black was asked whether the film will delve into Tony’s alcoholism, to which he replied, “Robert doesn’t fall off the wagon in this movie.” Downey Jr. added: “We always liked it.. you like the idea of him struggling with this, but there isn’t enough plot. I think he’s got the plug in the jug this time.”
• “Well if you remember at the end of The Avengers, he jumped in the car with Tony,” Kevin Feige said when asked about whether we’ll see Tony Stark’s new best buddie Bruce Banner turn up in Iron Man 3. “And Tony dropped him off at the Port Authority and we’ll see him again some day.”
The Iron Man Extremis Armor was also on display on the show floor:
Iron Man 3 hits theaters May 3, 2013