UPDATE! Skip to the end to see what The Hollywood Reporter has to say, which is QUITE different from what Variety said!

Well, it looks like The Wrestler worked. Mickey Rourke is in talks to play the bad guy in Iron Man 2. If that bit of info isn’t enough, we’ve now found out who the bad guy is. According to Variety, the baddie is “Tony Stark’s Russian alter ego, a heavily tattooed bruiser who is in
the arms trade and battles Iron Man in his own nuclear-powered armored

That’s the Crimson Dynamo, hands down. There have been TWELVE Crimson Dynamos in Iron Man’s history, so the slate is pretty clean for this character. What’s kind of cool is that current events have really served to make this character extraordinarily relevant again.

I love the idea of Rourke, on his own comeback train, becoming part of Robert Downey Jr’s victory parade. These are both guys who were written off not that many years ago, and their stories show that there’s no depths from which you can’t escape in Hollywood. Well, unless you die, like Brad Renfro. He won’t be showing up in Iron Man 3.

So now that the villain is revealed, want to take a stab at guessing the storyline? Is it Armor Wars (even if the movie isn’t an adaptation of that story, it’s a good subtitle for the sequel)? Is it something more straight ahead – a business brawl turned physical? And what role will the Mandarin play here?

I’m feeling pretty psyched about this right now.

UPDATED: Hollywood Reporter is saying that Rourke would play not Crimson Dynamo but some guy named Whiplash. There was a Whiplash in Ultimate Iron Man #2, which I never read; the other Whiplash was a girl who used adamantium wires as whips. Hollywood Reporter claims the movie Whiplash will have “deadly, technologically enhanced coils.”

Sounds kind of like Omega Red, which is not a positive thing for me.

Further, THR says that Sam Rockwell is in talks to play Justin Hammer, a rival industrialist who has often funded bad guys to go after Iron Man. They also say that casting is still underway for Stark’s assistant Natasha. Could that be right? Natasha MUST be Black Widow, who has been confirmed in the film, but would she begin her career as Stark’s assistant?

What’s the real story here? Things seem a touch confused right now as Variety and the Hollywood Reporter duke it out for Iron Man 2 scoops as the rest of the web stands around surprised for once.