Ben Kingsley to play the villain in Iron Man 3?

With questions still being asked as to the identity of the villains in The Avengers , another Marvel project has moved closer to confirming its bad guy, with Ben Kingsley in talks to play the antagonist in Iron Man 3 .

Variety
reports that Kingsley is in place to square off with Robert Downey Jr, although studio insiders have suggested that he won't be playing the Mandarin, one of the classic comic-book villains yet to be covered by the franchise.

Instead the plot will likely revolve around Tony Stark's experiments with nanobot technology, with Kingsley's character threatening Iron Man with a virus that could neutralise his famous suit.

The story is loosely based on Warren Ellis' Extremis series, with production set to begin on the film in May. As well as Downey, Kingsley will be joined by Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson, all of whom have agreed to reprise their existing roles.

Directed by Shane Black, Iron Man 3 will open in the UK on 3 May 2013. More than a year of speculation to come, then! Let the hypothesising start here…