Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man, Ironman, Ben Kingsley

Albert L. Ortega/

Tony Stark's latest enemy?  How about Gandhi?

Following in the footsteps of Jeff Bridges and Mickey Rourke, Ben Kingsley is in talks to play the supervillain in Iron Man 3, which Marvel has targeted for a May 3, 2013, release.

So just which baddie will it be?

Alas, the English-born actor will not be taking on the role of Iron Man's greatest arch-foe, Mandarin, a wealthy Chinese scientist and martial-arts expert turned criminal mastermind whose immense power is derived from highly advanced alien technology.

Per comic book lore, Mandarin was also partly responsible for the creation of Iron Man by backing the warlord that imprisoned Stark in the first flick.

But as Variety reports, Marvel insiders have denied that Mandarin is going to be the comic book character's new nemesis.

Original Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau did previously hint that Mandarin might be in the threequel. But Iron Man 3's new director, Shane Black, dismissed the character as a racist caricature at last fall's Long Beach Comic-Con. And given China's increasingly importance to Hollywood's foreign box office, racial sensitivities matter.

Instead, Kingsley (who can play dastardly just fine as anyone who's seen Sexy Beast will tell you), would purportedly essay another rogue who is "involved in the spread of a virus through nanobots." Just who that might be is an open question for now with Black refusing to divulge any clues whatsoever.

Doctor Doom perhaps? 

Shooting on Iron Man 3 is expected to start later this year with Robert Downey Jr. once again suiting up as the Armored Avenger—and who, by the way, also appears in The Avengers, due out May 4.

As for Kingsley, he next returns to the big screen in The Dictator opposite his Hugo costar Sacha Baron Cohen, unspooling a week later.

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