Jon Favreau will return for "Iron Man 3" - just not in the way fans of his directorial work on the first two installments might have hoped.
Though he previously handed the reins of the superhero franchise to "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" director Shane Black, Favreau is now on board to reprise his role as Tony Stark's bodyguard/sidekick Happy Hogan in the upcoming Marvel sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He first appeared as the character in a cameo appearance in the first "Iron Man," but enjoyed a more substantial role in the second film. There's no word yet on how significant a part Hogan will play in "Iron Man 3," however.
In addition to Favreau, actor Ashley Hamilton ("Dancing with the Stars," "Sunset Beach") is in talks to join the film in the minor role of Firepower - a villainous character from the comic books that consists of a pilot named Jack Taggert flying around in an experimental suit. According to Variety, which broke the news, the thesp is a friend of Robert Downey Jr.'s, as well as being the son of George Hamilton and the stepson of Rod Stewart. Helps to have personal connections, eh?
"Iron Man 3" is slated to begin production next Wednesday in North Carolina. The film will see the return of cast members Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, in addition to several newcomers including Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley and James Badge Dale. It's scheduled to hit theaters on May 3, 2013.
Note: Below you can check out a photo tweeted by Favreau earlier today that serves as visual confirmation of Hogan's return.
Happy that Happy's back, Marvel fans? Sound off in the comments!