Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 2

Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures

As we anxiously await for The Avengers to hit theaters May 4 (especially after reading some of the early reviews!), we can't help but get excited whenever there is any news about Iron Man 3.

So imagine our delight when it was announced today that a certain actor is thisclose to signing on for the next sequel.

So who's the lucky thesp?

Guy Pearce

John Shearer/WireImage

It's none other than Guy Pearce!

And what's more, Variety reports that the Lockout actor would be taking on the role of Aldrich Killian, who per comic book lore, is the geneticist that invents the powerful Extremis serum that both Iron Man and terrorists wind up using.

Of course, the likely casting of Pearce isn't the only thing we've learned so far about the highly anticipated production.

1. Gandhi Gets Into the Game: Or, more specifically, Ben Kingsley, who is in negotiations to play a supervillain. However, there's no word yet on which baddie it will be.

2. New Direction: While Jon Favreau helmed the first two flicks, Shane Black will take the director's chair this time around. Favreau opted out so he could focus on lensing Magic Kingdom. "I've had a great run with Marvel and wish them the best," he tweeted.

3. Time to Suit Up: Downey will be slipping into his now-familiar duds next month, when filming begins in and around Wilmington, N.C.

4. How Long Do We Have to Wait for This Thing?! Disney has scheduled for it to arrive in theaters May 3, 2013. While that may seem like a long way off, consider that its original release date was set 10 days later, on May 13, 2013.

5. Will There Be a Fourth Flick? OK, so on this one we really don't know. But given how the first Iron Man earned $585 million worldwide and Iron Man 2 generated $624 million, it's probably safe to say the third one will do boffo business as well...which can only mean yet another go-round, right?

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