Those of you who read this site religiously may remember a piece where we reported on the casting of actor James Badge Dale in the upcoming Marvel Studios joint Iron Man 3. Given that his character shared a name with one of the Marvel universe’s C-list cyborg vilains, it was widely assumed that he would be playing the role of Coldblood-7. Then, this morning, blurry paparazzi images appeared showing Badge Dale wearing the Iron Patriot suit (have a look at the bottom of this post).
Comic book geeks should already be in an uproar over this, but we’ll attempt to break it down for those of you who have no idea what a longbox might be.
Obviously there’s the confusing bit about Badge Dale’s character’s name. By naming the character “Savin,” instead of something generic, the film makers (presumably) deliberately indicated that he would be playing that character who, based on the Internet’s cumulative comic book knowledge, is a half-man/half-machine mercenary who, honestly, really isn’t that important in the grand scheme of Marvel continuity.
However, the Iron Patriot is a pretty crucial character, insomuch as he was the alter-ego adopted by Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn during the relatively recent Civil War event. See, Captain American and Iron Man were having an ideological battle that split the world’s superheroes into ”those who disagree with the idea of superhero registration” (like Cap) and “those who think the word ‘fascist’ is a compliment” (like Iron Man). In the midst of this fracas, Osborn swiped the most notable aesthetic features of the two Avengers, and combined them into one robotic suit with the idea that the public would be too supportive of his hyper-patriotic song and dance to notice all the evil he was getting into.
In short, it was a years-long metaphor for the war in the Middle East.
Anyway, point being: Savin is completely unrelated to the Iron Patriot in the comics, and has seemingly been slotted into the role because Marvel Studios doesn’t exactly own the rights to use Norman Osborn on film. As I mentioned above, Osborn (aka the Green Goblin) is a Spider-Man villain, and until such a time as movies based on Peter Parker become unprofitable, Sony Pictures will continue to own the rights to any and all Spidey-based movie-making.
Oh, and it should probably go without saying, but the Iron Patriot has absolutely nothing to do with Warren Ellis’ Extremis storyline (which Iron Man 3 is reportedly based on), nor whatever villain Ben Kingsley is supposed to be playing in this flick. Thanks to this morning’s pictures, we now know even less than the nothing we knew before.
Iron Man 3 hits theaters on May 3, 2013.