It seems that a casting rumor (albeit one that no one's talking about) concerning the upcoming Iron Man 2 has been shot down.
What do we know about Iron Man 2?: Robert Downey back in full gear, Scarlett Johansson looking all hot as a redhead in a tight-black suit, and Mickey Rouke in a weird "He-Man" outfit with plumbing snakes attached to his arms. However, one source of early speculation pointed to the question of whether or not Iron Man's primary nemesis in the comics, The Mandarin would make an an appearance. While we may not have gotten a definitive answer on the character's status, we have learned that Faran Tahir will not portray the villain.
Why is that significant? WHO is Faran Tahir? Both valid questions.
Tahir (Captain Robau from Star Trek) portrayed the character Raza in the first Iron Man film. He was the leader of the terrorist group who wounded and kidnapped Tony Stark. Of course, Stark would smoothly deceive them, building the Iron Man Mark I suit, instead of the Jericho missile they tried to force him to make under duress. You know the rest of the story -- Stark breaks out and just mops the floor (as much of a floor a cave can contain, anyway) with the baddies. No Guantanamo for these guys. However, the terrorist group was referred to as the "Ten Rings," which was a clear reference to the 10 rings which serve as the source of the evil Mandarin's powers. It was speculated that Tahir's "Raza" character (whose fate remained up in the air) would return as a reinvented version of The Mandarin himself. (Sounds good, right?) This assertion, however, has now been shot down. In an interview with MovieWeb, Tahir states unequivocally: "No, no I'm not in the film."
There you have it. I feel kind of like a sadist who tells a kid a long, beautiful, and magical story about Santa Claus, only to immediately reveal that HE'S NOT F*****G REAL! (Mwha ha ha haaaaa!!!)
Iron Man 2 will probably be an extremely crowded film. Besides having to pull the duties of carrying its own story, it will have to dish out Avengers cameos, while setting up the general storyline for the other Avengers-related films. That's going to be tough, and the film could fall victim to losing its focus. Will they have room to at least establish Iron Man's biggest enemy? (Not referring to Fin Fang Foom.) At the end of the day, they will likely want to proceed with a third Iron Man solo film at some point. Certainly Mandarin would be a shoo-in.