'Iron Man' Villain Faran Tahir Ponders 'Iron Man 3’ Return... As The Mandarin?

Faran TahirWe can't be talking about "Iron Man 3" already, can we? Shooting has barely started on the first "Iron Man" sequel, and we're already discussing a third? Well, the rumor mill's a-churnin', thanks to a certain villain from the first film.

SCI FI Wire spoke with Faran Tahir, who played the villainous Raza in "Iron Man." While Tahir has no plans to appear in "Iron Man 2," the actor mentioned that he might have a large role to play in a third installment -- as an associate of Tony Stark's number one nemesis, the Mandarin.

"Iron Man's biggest nemesis is Mandarin, and my character is the only reference to Mandarin," Tahir said. "So we're still trying to figure out how it's going to fit. The things to consider, I think, are that if it is a bigger story, how much of it is exposed [and] when."

Tahir even posited that his character might not just be linked to the Mandarin, but could be the Mandarin.

"Is he the conduit to Mandarin?" Tahir asked. "Does he become Mandarin? Is it just another leader of the Ten Rings, you know, thing? All the allusions [in] my first speech was all about Genghis Khan and all that, which is Mandarin's thing, you know? So I think they have created the character and the storyline very wisely. To leave it as open as possible so whatever they need to, you know, pull from, they will."

Back in September, Jon Favreau confirmed the Mandarin's presence in the "Iron Man" franchise, indicating that the villain's on-screen appearance might wait for a third film. Given Tahir's recent comments, could the stars -- or rings -- be aligning for the Mandarin's debut?

Perhaps Mickey Rourke isn't playing Crimson Dynamo or Whiplash -- maybe he's the Mandarin! Hear us out -- Favreau previously told fans that he had an "interesting take" on Mandarin that would "incorporate the whole pantheon of villains." Perhaps Mandarin isn't a man -- he's an organization!

For now, any rumors about "Iron Man 3" are likely just that -- rumors. But that doesn't make the guessing game any less fun!

How do you want to see The Mandarin represented in the "Iron Man" films? Would you want Faran Tahir as the character, or a less traditional approach along the lines of a villainous syndicate? Let us know in the comments!