It’s been no secret that Shane Black’s upcoming entry into the Iron Man franchise has quite a few villains incorporated into its plot. Ben Kingsley is in the film as a shadowy string puller who may or may not be a version of classic Iron Man villain the Mandarin, Guy Pearce is playing the scientist who invents the dangerous and tech-based Extremis virus, and James Badge Dale has been recruited to play a guy named Eric Savin who, in the comics, gets turned into a cyborg named Coldblood.

That’s quite a few heads for Tony Stark to bust already, so why is SuperHeroHype reporting that yet another Iron Man character, the Iron Patriot, is also going to be featured in the film? Before any theories can be concocted, first it’s necessary to give a rundown on who exactly the Iron Patriot is.

In the comic books, there was recently a storyline where Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn took control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and put together his own dark version of The Avengers, which included Osborn himself wearing a version of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor that was all painted up like the American flag to give people warm and fuzzy Captain America feelings. It was a nefarious plot that might make for a good superhero movie, if not for the fact that Norman Osborn is a Spider-Man character, the rights of which are still in the clutches of Sony…aren’t they?

The Superficial has posted some set photos that offer up a possible explanation. No, Marvel Studios doesn’t have the rights to put the character of Norman Osborn in a movie, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t use the Iron Patriot armor anyway. These new set photos not only confirm the use of the star-spangled armor, but they also give us a glimpse of the actor who’s inside. It turns out Coldblood himself, James Badge Dale, will be wearing the suit in Iron Man 3.

This kind of clears up the confusion that surfaced when Coldblood was announced as being a villain in the first place. He’s a pretty obscure, lame bad guy who seemingly doesn’t have much to offer other than a cyborg eye and a little gun that goes pew-pew, so it was curious why Black and his crew would go to the trouble of including him in a movie. It appears that the combination of the Eric Savin character and the Iron Patriot armor, in addition to the confusion as to whether or not Kingsley’s character is going to be playing the Mandarin, points to the possibility that several aspects of various Iron Man villains are going to be mashed up to make sort-of new characters for this third Iron Man movie. A precedent for this was already set in Iron Man 2, when Mickey Rourke played a character that combined elements of Iron Man villains Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash.

This is, perhaps, a necessary evil when you’re making movies about a superhero who’s really great on his own, but who has a sub-par stable of nemeses that’s headlined by a racist caricature who wears magic rings and a dragon. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when a comic book property gives you a bunch of D-level bad guys, smoosh all of their coolest aspects together to make a sweet but deadly concoction of villainous delight.


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