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"Shwarma sales increased 700%" Robert Downey, Jr. said about The Avengers on the Hall H stage at Comic-Con.
Of course, that's not the only thing noteworthy about the film, which has taken in over $600 million domestically and another $850 million overseas. But all eyes are back on Downey after he, for all intents and purposes, stole the show in Marvel's incredible superhero ensemble piece. At Saturday's Iron Man 3 panel, we got our first glimpse of Tony Stark's next adventure, and it looks like a doozy.
Joined on stage by fellow cast member Don Cheadle (Lt. Col. James Rhodes), director Shane Black, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau, and Marvel President Kevin Feige, Downey donned a red Iron Man glove while the first bit of footage played to the buzzing crowd. In it, we see Stark wearing a new Iron Man suit. We also learn the identity of Ben Kingsley's character—The Mandarin.
"Sir Ben is lovely," said Black of Kingsley, "and he's going to be fantastic."
Talk of the film chronicling the comic book's "Demon in a Bottle" storyline, which dealt with Tony Stark's alcoholism, was quickly struck down by both Black and Downey. "What are we going to do, sidebar for 30 days?" Downey said. "He's got to save the world! I think he's got the plug in the jug this time."
Cheadle, however, did confirm that "Rhodey" will have a lot more to do as the War Machine, than in previous editions of Iron Man.
Favreau talked both about exiting the series as a director and remaining on as an actor and producer. "I feel like a proud grandfather," he said, "who doesn't have to change the diapers but gets to play with the baby." Favreau's Happy Hogan, it seems, will have a lot more fun in Iron Man 3. Other cast confirmations include Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen and Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian.
Those concerned about Favreau's exit from the series need not worry. Shane Black's last directorial effort was the 2005 noir comedy Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, which starred Downey and, as we learned tonight, served as an unofficial screen test for the Iron Man role. Favreau and Downey used footage of the film to convince Marvel he was right for the role (it worked!), and Black even offered Favreau advice while the latter was making the first Iron Man in 2007.
The panel ended with Downey being Downey. When a fan asked if we'd see Bruce Banner in Iron Man 3, he responded "Well you remember at the end of Avengers he hopped in the car with Tony ... but he dropped him off at Port Authority. We'll see him in a while."
Iron Man 3 opens on May 3, 2013.