The Mandarin Out and Iron Monger In as Iron Man Villain?

MTV thinks they know who the villain in the upcoming Jon Favreau “Iron Man” movie is — and it’s not the Mandarin. This, despite evidence to the contrary, namely Favreau telling a Comic Con audience in 2006 that the villain for the movie would, indeed, be the Mandarin. So what is MTV’s basis for believing that the Mandarin isn’t the villain, but instead it’s Iron Monger? (Before I continue, I should say that I don’t know who Iron Monger is. I was never that big a fan of the Iron Man comics, and the character’s rogues gallery is a mystery to me.) In any case, MTV has some pretty good reasons for believing Iron Monger is the villain, and there are even details about an “Iron Man 2” already in the planning stages.

Here’s MTV’s reasoning:

– Terrence Howard told MTV some months ago that the scene he was most excited about showing the world was “Iron Man [battling] Collossus, the original suit that he made.” The official villain, Mandarin, never wears Tony Stark’s armor in the comics, though. In fact, the whole point of the character “” as I understand him “” is that he’s one of the few people capable of defeating Iron Man without mechanical enhancements.

– Despite the fact that the film is currently shooting, no Mandarin casting has been announced.

– There is a villain who builds an enhanced version of Tony Stark’s original armor, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), a one-time mentor who coincidentally happens to be in the movie. In the comics, he becomes Iron Monger.

– Stane’s use of the Iron Monger armor leads Tony Stark to two things, alcoholism and the abandonment of his superhero identity. Director Jon Favreau has said the alcoholic storyline will play out in the second film. Howard told MTV that his character Jim Rhodes will build a suit of his own in the sequel, otherwise known as War Machine. “Yes, War Machine will be in the second one,” he revealed. In the comics, Rhodes builds the armor after wearing the Iron Man suit for awhile…which happens only after Stark abandons it.

– When asked if he would become Iron Monger this past weekend Jeff Bridges looked surprised, saying to MTV, “Uh, I might, I might,” before catching himself and adding “but, on the other hand, I probably don’t.” We’ll give him credit for the quick reversal, but it’s his initial answer that gives us pause.

– Then there’s this unidentified, unauthorized, unsourced photo making the Internet rounds, presumably taken on the “Iron Man” set.

You know, those are some pretty good reasons!

But as I said, I never got into the Iron Man comics, so I’m not really concern who the villain turns out to be. I just want to see a guy in a high-tech suit of armor whuppin’ ass on the big screen. Is that so wrong? And anyways, the Mandarin was already used in the Iron Man animated movie, “The Invincible Iron Man”, so why not use another villain for the live-action version?

Here’s what Iron Monger looks like in the comics, in case you were wondering: