The production of Iron Man 2 is very much under way. Know how I know that? Well, it doesn’t exactly take any secret inside sources — if you follow John Favreau on Twitter, then you’ve seen the first image of the director and DP Matthew Libatique in what will be Tony Stark’s house. Another thing that leads me to believe that production is gearing up: casting confirmations.

Nikki Finke posted separate stories last night, one confirming Mickey Rourke as a “Russian villain” and another confirming that Scarlett Johansson would be replacing Emily Blunt in the role as Natascha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow. As far as we can tell, though we have no confirmation on this, Rourke’s role is likely Ivan, otherwise known as Whiplash.

And now some reaction for you: the Mickey Rourke thing is simple, he should be good for the movie. The common reaction to the Scarlett Johansson is that she’s going to “ruin” the movie with her half-assed acting. And while I would agree that Scarlett’s never been more than just something fun to look at, but we have to trust Jon Favreau’s vision on this one, do we not? Favreau passed the test of making Iron Man with flying colors and I believe that we owe it to him to not get too upset about Don Cheadle, Scarjo or any other casting decision until we see some footage. That said, I would agree that she wouldn’t be my first choice and I hate the fact that Emily Blunt had scheduling conflicts, because she’s a damn fine actress.

What do you think of Rourke and Scarjo putting their hats officially in the ring for Iron Man 2?

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