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Although there was a steady stream of photos from the Cleveland set of The Avengers, Marvel had the luxury of CGI to keep fans guessing about the identities of Loki’s invading allies — Skrulls! No, Chitauri! No, Skrulls! — until shortly before the blockbuster’s release. Iron Man 3 isn’t as lucky, however, as some of the first photos leaking out of Wilmington, North Carolina, last week revealed what appears to be a major spoiler for director Shane Black’s sequel. Warning: More potential spoilers follow!
It’s not the only one, though. ComicBookMovie, On Location Vacations and Reel Movie Nation have snagged shots from Cary, North Carolina — it’s doubling as a Christmastime Miami, apparently — that indicate an appearance by an organization familiar to readers of Marvel comics. Of course, by the looks of things, that group will undergo a significant makeover for the film.
According to Reel Movie Nation, the headquarters of video-game developer Epic Games is doing double duty as the offices of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), the science-based terrorist organization introduced in 1966’s Strange Tales #146. Before you get your hopes up, there’s slim chance that M.O.D.O.K. will appear, as it seems unlikely a yellow-costumed terrorist group would have a public office, complete with holiday-themed shrubbery.
In addition, the website reports on rumors that Guy Pearce, who plays geneticist Aldrich Killian, was seen on set, suggesting that in Iron Man 3, A.I.M. may be a government contractor responsible for developing developing the nanotechnological drug introduced in the “Iron Man: Extremis” storyline by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov.
The film, which opens May 3, 2013, stars returning cast members Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau, joined by unconfirmed new additions Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale and Ashley Hamilton.