'Iron Man 2' Roundup: What We Know About The Heroes, Villains, Story And... More Sequels!

Iron Man 2Sure, we know about the debuts of War Machine and Whiplash, but there are lots of things we don't know about "Iron Man 2" at this point, too. For example, will Whiplash get an armor upgrade courtesy of Justin Hammer? And how much of Sam Jackson's "Avengers Initiative" will be revealed this time around?

The "Iron Man 2" footage at Comic-Con seemed to pose as many questions as it answered, so here's a quick recap of everything we do know about one of the most-anticipated films for comic book movie fans:

THE HEROES: While star Robert Downey Jr. has insisted that the "Demon in a Bottle" story won't factor into the "Iron Man 2" plot, he did hint at some inner demons for Tony Stark. Back in April, he described the film as a story about "how a dysfunctional family saves life on Earth"—something that certainly doesn't bode well for the Stark Industries crew.

Actor Don Cheadle (who replaced Terrence Howard as James "Rhodey" Rhodes) described War Machine's role as "significant," but we're still not sure where Scarlett Johansson's loyalties lie in her role as Russian superspy Black Widow. However, Downey previously hinted that a love triangle between Stark, Black Widow and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) isn't out of the question.

THE VILLAINS: Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke make their debuts as Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko (a.k.a. Whiplash), respectively, in "Iron Man 2," and Rockwell hinted during Comic-Con at a team-up between the two characters.

Meanwhile, Cheadle alluded to the possibility of a brawl between Iron Man and War Machine during a recent interview—and I'm pretty sure that's something everyone wants to see at some point.

Iron Man 2THE STORY: During our visit to the set of "Iron Man 2," Downey hinted that one of the big themes of the sequel will involve Stark's hunt for an alternative energy source for his armor, and how that quest might connect to the Stark expo held each decade.

We can also piece together from Comic-Con footage and various photos released over the last year that Whiplash will attack Stark during a race at the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique—and from the look of things, the film's hero won't be in much shape to defend himself. Is this their first encounter? That's where the questions start...

THE FILMING: Along with stating that he'd like to see "Iron Man 2" go the IMAX route in much the same way as "The Dark Knight," Favreau also hinted that he's looking to Peter Jackson's use of miniatures and digital effects in films like "King Kong" for inspiration when he blends live-action and effects in "Iron Man 2." Of course, this begs the question of what types of massive creatures could factor into "Iron Man 2," necessitating all the work with miniatures. (Please let it be Fin Fang Foom! Please let it be Fin Fang Foom! Please let it be Fin Fang Foom!)

THE SEQUEL TO THE SEQUEL? While Favreau declared that he wouldn't end "Iron Man 2" on a cliffhanger in order to set up "The Avengers," he did say he's already looking forward to future sequels for Marvel's armored hero. Way back in October, the filmmaker hinted that Chinese supervillain The Mandarin could make an appearance in future installments of the franchise, and could possibly be the villain many of the early films are building toward.

Even so, if Mandarin doesn't make the cut, the third chapter of the "Iron Man" franchise could receive the 3-D treatment, if Favreau has his way.

So, that's where we're at thus far, folks. Be sure to checkout our "Iron Man 2" photo gallery, and as always, keep it locked to Splash Page for more "Iron Man 2" news as it develops!

Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!