Though the film’s been shooting all summer, it looks like there’s still one more character for Tony Stark to meet in his latest return to the screen, as Wang Xueqi has been confirmed to join the cast of Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3.
66-year-old Xueqi will play Chen Lu, a former scientist who eventually becomes the villain Radioactive Man in the comics. His comicbook counterpart was often called on for aid by The Mandarin (played in the film by Ben Kingsley). Hong Kong singer/actor Andy Lau was originally in talks for Xueqi’s role before dropping out due to the birth of his child.
I’m still not sure about having too many villainous characters in the film, as former director Jon Favreau‘s biggest failure with IM2 was a surplus of baddies. Ashley Hamilton and James Badge Dale‘s characters in the triquel were also villains in the comics, making me worry about how many characters could end up in the rogues gallery this time around. However, given Guy Pearce‘s comments about his role in the film being pretty much a cameo, perhaps I’m overcomplicating things and the film won’t be as overstuffed as I think.
Also, Chen Lu was originally described as an ally of Tony Stark, which makes me wonder if there’s a double cross up ahead. Considering that Kingsley’s Mandarin is supposed to be more of a behind-the-scenes villain, perhaps Chen Lu could even serve as The Mandarin’s eyes and ears in the film. The character is also said to be featured in IM3′s post-credit scenes as part of the set-up for Edgar Wright‘s upcoming Ant-Man adaptation. Either way, it looks like Xueqi’s got an interesting time ahead of him in this roller-coaster of a film.
Xueqi will join an all-star cast lead by returners Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow,Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany and Favreau. New cast members include Kingsley, Pierce, Hamilton, Dale, William Sadler and Rebecca Hall. Black will direct from a script by Drew Pearce and “multiple writers on set [...] to keep the flick headed in a unified direction.” Principal photography is still underway in North Carolina and China with a release date set for May 3, 2013. [Comic Book]
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