Is Ben Kingsley The Mandarin, or isn’t he? That’s the central question swirling around Shane Black’s ‘Iron Man 3,’ currently filming in Wilmington, N.C. And now we have may the answer...

Here’s what we know: Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark and his metallic altar ego, Iron Man. The storyline, scripted by Black and Drew Pearce, follows the Extremis plot, with high-tech scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) unleashing a techno-virus that infiltrates the bloodstream … taking Stark’s bond with his metallic suit to a new level.

Here’s where things get dicey. We know that Sir Ben Kingsley has been added to the cast, but we don’t know for sure in what role. But Latino Review is claiming that they can confirm that Kingsley is playing Iron Man’s chief nemesis, The Mandarin, but that the character will be pulling Killian’s strings in a limited role in ‘Iron Man 3.’ Here’s what they have to say:

He’s more a veiled threat, as a silent partner to Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian. Killian is the man inventing Extremis and putting it into his “Extremis army” of multiple super-powered individuals....

Despite denials, prepare to see Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin in ‘Iron Man 3.’ He may not be in it as much as we’re expecting, because The Mandarin might survive ‘Iron Man 3′ to feed into something like ‘Avengers 2.’

So it looks like Guy Pearce is actually the real villain of the movie, despite Ben Kingsley starring as Mandarin. Bold statements. The movie is under extremely tight security in N.C., and some of this is stemming from a report that a security guard leaked to the media that Mandarin was the villain and that he’ll have “twins” who perform his evil deeds. None of that has been confirmed, and most of it can be chalked up to speculation at this point. We’ll see what happens.

Several clues point to the introduction of The Mandarin. Marvel has said it will film scenes in China as part of the ‘Iron Man 3’ production. And Mandarin is Stark’s main foe, so he’ll have to be brought in to the franchise at SOME point.  There are still so many questions left to answer. The bottom line is this: It’s a great time to be a Marvel Comics fan.

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