After directing the first two films in the Iron Man franchise, Jon Favreau elected not to helm the third installment, which began production earlier this month. But Favreau’s decision doesn’t mean he won’t be involved in the film – on the contrary, THR reports that Favreau will reprise his supporting role as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s driver and bodyguard. This is a nice bit of continuity, and seems to indicate that Favreau is putting his stamp of approval on writer/director Shane Black, who was given the reins after Favreau stepped down.
In other Iron Man 3 casting news, Variety says that Ashley Hamilton will be joining the production as the villain Firepower, and confirms the rumor that the film will draw influence from the Extremis storyline penned by Warren Ellis. The appearance of Firepower in the film also lends weight to the persistent rumor that the film’s primary villain will be the Mandarin – in the comics, Firepower was given a suit of armor by the Mandarin in order to take down Iron Man.
Iron Man 3 is scheduled for release on May 3, 2013.