Today is the fifth day of filming on Iron Man 2, since Favreau and his crew took Good Friday off. And just five days into what must be a 60, 70, 80 day schedule (for principal photography alone), we’re alreading talking up Iron Man 3.

SciFi Wire got on the phone with Faran Tahir (probably for his role in the upcoming Star Trek) and asked him about the possibility of reprising his Iron Man role. You’ll remember that he played Raza, the head of the terrorists who captured Tony Stark; Tahir says that while he doesn’t appear in Iron Man 2, they’re still ‘talking about’ bringing him in for the third movie.

“Is he the conduit to Mandarin?” Tahir said. “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.”

I hate to break the news to Tahir, but it seems quite likely that Raza is not at all the Mandarin, but simply one of his lieutenants. And I bet if they do bring him back in 3, it’s for the Mandarin to punish him for fucking up with Stark in the first movie.

This does raise an intriguing question, though: since the Mandarin has been set up as the overarching villain for the series, what role does he play in Iron Man 2? Somebody has to have the script out there – I’m curious whether Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is answering to the Mandarin in this one. Or if maybe the Mandarin shows up at the end, Nick Fury style.