We know what you’re thinking, but no, Kingsley won’t be playing The Mandarin in Shane Black’s latest installment in the Iron Man franchise.

We know, we know, Kingsley seems like a good choice for Tony Stark’s ultimate nemesis, The Mandarin, but Shane Black confirmed months ago that he would never attempt to approach the “racist caricature” villain in his Iron Man movie. If that’s the case, who will Kingsley be playing?

Thanks to Showblitz (via CBM) for the tip!

Ben Kingsley is in final talks to play the villain in IRON MAN 3, but fans of the comicbook character will be disappointed to learn he won’t take on original Tony Stark archenemy the Mandarin. Though insiders acknowledged Kingsley’s involvement to Variety, Marvel declined to comment on the deal, and insiders denied that the character would be the Mandarin, a wealthy Chinese scientist and martial arts expert who, by backing the warlord who imprisoned Stark, was indirectly responsible for the creation of Iron Man.

Instead, Kingsley’s character is involved in the spread of a virus through nanobots, given that IRON MAN 3 is loosely based on Warren Ellis’ six-issue “Extremis” comicbook series first published in 2005. That arc — which also heavily influenced the first Iron Man pic — introduced a new origin story and focused heavily on nanotechnology

Many of you might remember our unconfirmed report from last month that stated Iron Man 3 would focus on nanobot technology, so these reports line up nicely, but it seems that Kingsley doesn’t quite fit the bill for Mallen, the main antagonist of the “Extremis” story arc.

Will Kingsley take on a role written by screenwriter Shane Black? Will he be playing another villain from the comics in association with the Extremis storyline? Could he be playing an altered version of Dr. Aldrich Killian, the scientist responsible for unleashing the virus?

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