Here’s what we know for sure: James Badge Dale (The Grey, Shame) has been added to the cast of Iron Man 3. According to Deadline, Badge Dale will play a character named “Savin.” Not much to go on, right? Yet this is the Internet, and people ’round these parts thrive on wanton speculation, especially when it comes to the massive universe of Marvel Comics canon.
As soon as word of Badge Dale’s casting hit the ‘net, fans began poring over Marvel history in an effort to figure out exactly who this “Savin” might be. While it’s not 100-percent official and neither producer John Favreau nor director Shane Black have explicitly confirmed or denied this idea, it is now widely believed that Badge Dale’s character is actually Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Savin, aka the cyborg Coldblood-7.
In case you aren’t up on your C-list Marvel villains, Savin was a soldier who stepped on a newly-laid landmine while out on patrol one day. Though he was literally blown to bits, he was resurrected as part of the Ultra-Tech program — think: Universal Soldier in the Marvel universe — and became a half-man/half-machine mercenary. Since his debut in Marvel Comics Presents circa 1989, Savin has generally been utilized as an Iron Man villain, which would explain the character’s possible appearance in Iron Man 3.
However, it also confuses what little information we already thought we knew about the film. Until now it was widely believed that Iron Man 3 would be based on Warren Ellis’ Extremis storyline, yet Coldblood plays no part in that tale. For that matter, neither does The Mandarin, but we’re still lacking official confirmation on which villain Ben Kingsley will eventually end up playing.
While we have immense faith in the director/star combination of Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr. — if you haven’t seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, please rectify that immediately — all these disparate elements make one worry that Iron Man 3 might suffer the same fate as the third Spider-Man film. That is, too many unrelated villains and conflicts thrown into a single story in an effort to appease as many fans as possible. Sadly, unless Iron Man 3 is over three hours long, there’s no real way to integrate all of these characters into the plot in a satisfactory fashion.
Then again, it’s quite possible that Badge Dale’s character is a mere supporting entity who exists in the film purely to excite comic book purists. Given the character’s esoteric existence, that also makes a lot of sense, but does nothing to explain Ben Kingsley’s role or the prominence of the excellent Extremis storyline.
In the end, we just don’t have any idea how this film is going to turn out. It’s a bit of a cop out to say we’ll have to wait until Iron Man 3 hits theaters in May 2013 to see how this all plays out, but unless one of the creators opts to explain everything beforehand we expect to be kept in the dark.