Throughout most of the casting developments this past week, it seemed like the four that were the most locked in place forIron Man 3 happened to be Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Scarlett Johansson. Johansson’s Black Widow first appeared in 2010′s Iron Man 2, effectively setting her up as a S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy that will gain even more prominence in next week’s The Avengers. Now, with more press junkets going on for the superhero team-up, it seems one of the recurring four won’t be coming back after all.
Prior to a video interview with ScreenRant (via CBM), Johansson confirmed that she in fact won’t be a part of Iron Man 3. No word as to why exactly, but director Shane Black has previously said that he wanted to make the third film very Tony-centric, as opposed to the second film which seemingly focused more on S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers Initiative. With Johansson’s departure, there’s a good chance now that Samuel L. Jackson will also likely sit out of Iron Man 3, though it wouldn’t be too surprising if he briefly returned.
However, Johansson did pitch within the video interview the possibility of a standalone Black Widow feature. She believes the character’s story is there after her back story is seemingly touched upon in The Avengers and only slightly alluded to inIron Man 2. Johansson has said that she’s spoken to Marvel and President of Production Kevin Feige about the possibility, which definitely puts another possible project out there into the rumor mill. Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie, and The Runaways are all projects that have previously been mentioned as possibly coming to reality in Marvel’s movie future post-Avengers. Marvel still has yet to announce which film will premiere in the prevoiusly announced release date of May 16th, 2014.
Iron Man 3 is set to co-star Ben Kingsley and Paul Bettany, while Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, and Andy Lau have all been reported as in talks this past week. Production will begin next week in North Carolina, with production to also include China as well. The sequel is based off of the Extremis arc of comics by Warren Ellis, with nanotechnology to be a primary focus that is set up in the final act of The Avengers.
Iron Man 3 is set for a May 3rd, 2013 release.