Remember about a week ago, when I was all, "OMG, Shane Black might direct 'Iron Man 3'!" and you were all "No way, dude," and I was all "Yuh-huh!" and you were all "He's not gonna get that job." and I was all "Yuh-huh he totally should"?

Well, guess what?  HitFix can now confirm that Shane Black is in final negotiations to direct "Iron Man 3"  Although Marvel Studios will not confirm the negotiations at this time, sources have confirmed to HitFix that the deal is moving forward and should be finished soon.

Exciting, no?

I'm still seeing some indifference or even outright dismissal of Black as a director as I watch reactions stream by this afternoon, but the first thing that you have to keep in mind is that Marvel needed to find a filmmaker who would make Robert Downey Jr. happy for this third film, and if he brings nothing else to the table, Black's got that covered.  "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" was a crucial movie in Downey's filmography, the right film at the right time to prove to studios that he was still able to turn up the charm.  You could argue that everything Downey has today started with "KKBB," and that he owes Black a return of that sort of career boost.

It's weird to think that Black needs any sort of boost these days.  After all, he practically defined '80s action with the films he wrote or re-wrote.  But these days, as a director, he's been attached to a few big films that haven't moved forward, and while I'm desperate for a good "Doc Savage" movie, I think it might be a great move to make "Iron Man 3," where you know he'll be surrounded by great department heads who will support him as he builds set pieces and FX sequences, so that he can get a hit under his belt as well as some hands-on experience with filmmaking of this scale so that if he does make "Death Note" or "Doc Savage" next, he'll be that much better at the job.

The Marvel movies are a bit of an assembly line, but they still need directors who come in with a voice, people who can work well inside that system while also finding a way to give each of these films something special or personal.  Black has been part of the studio system for almost 30 years at this point, and he's the sort of guy who has a strong voice but who can also keep everyone in the process happy and satisfied.  You have to be a politician as well as a storyteller when you make films like this, and Black's got that side of things nailed down.

"Iron Man 3" is set for release on May 3, 2013.  Is it too soon to line up already?