Jon Favreau Will Reprise Happy Hogan in Iron Man 3

Iron ManWith Shane Black’s “Iron Man 3″ already shooting this Wednesday in North Carolina, there have been a lot of news regarding the film, from the casting of Ashley Hamilton as another villain for ol Shellhead called Firepower, to rumors that Marvel Studios were so psyched about the success of “The Avengers” that they’ve bumped up the film’s budget from $140 million to $200 million.

Now, official word has Jon Favreau, who directed the last two “Iron Man” movies and guest-starred as Happy Hogan, Iron Man’s chauffeur and all-purpose butler, will indeed return as the character for the third installment. I guess someone has to drive Tony Stark when he’s not flying around in his superhero garb.

This was pretty much a given after Favreau recently let us know that he’s still very much involved in the film’s production, even if he’s not directing anymore.

Robert Downey Jr. will return as Tony Stark/Iron Man, with Gwyneth Paltrow as his lady love/business partner Pepper Potts, and Don Cheadle as his buddy/sidekick Jim Rhodes. They’ll be joined by newcomers Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale and the aforementioned Ashley Hamilton. Kingsley, Dale, and Hamilton will all be villains, while Pearce and Hall will be playing scientists.

“Iron Man 3″ is expected to take whole chunks of plot from the Warren Ellis “Iron Man” comic book story arc “Extremis”, which finds Iron Man facing off against high-tech terrorists led by Kingsley.

The film will also shoot in China.

Jon Favreau in Iron Man 2 (2010) Movie Image