Is it Iron Patriot, War Machine or Iron Man in new ‘Iron Man 3’ photo?

I have a feeling this week’s trailer is only going to leave us with more questions, and honestly, this far out from release, that’s all I want from “Iron Man 3.”

This is the week where the hype campaign kicks off in earnest.  I thought they made a tremendous showing at Comic-Con, and the trailer will most likely be a shorter edited version of what we saw there, which promised a Tony Stark under stress and a Ben Kingsley Mandarin.  Entertainment Weekly has a shot of Kingsley’s face today along with some hints about the character, part of the barrage of new images popping up in places like USA Today and Facebook.  Tonight/tomorrow morning is the arrival of the trailer, this morning was the one-sheet, and in the meantime, I need to know if we’ve got it all figured out as to which character we’re seeing in one of the new publicity shots.

I remember when the character was photographed on-set this summer.  James Badge Dale, who has such a great and memorable scene in “Flight” this month, is onboard to play a character named Eric Savin who comic fans also know as “The Iron Patriot.”  Many people saw those photos and immediately figured that had to be Dale in the armor, and that had to be the Iron Patriot.

According to Latino Review, though, that was not true.  They said it was Don Cheadle’s character who is getting the red-white-and-blue upgrade.  Of course, the photos of the actual actor in the suit last summer revealed some white dude no one recognized, so that may have been a stunt performer.  Or maybe Latino Review had it wrong.  Maybe it is Dale’s character.  Then again, Iron Man has so many different suits in this movie that I wouldn’t even be shocked if that was one of his looks.

All I know is that the buzz I’m hearing is very solid on this film.  It sounds like the Shane Black/Robert Downey Jr. alchemy was indeed in effect this time around and that we’re in for a really strong third entry in the series.  I think they’re doing some exciting things as they fold comic ideas into their own ideas, and no matter how familiar you are with the source material, I think there are going to be plenty of surprises in store for everyone.

We’ll have that trailer for you late tonight, and we’ll have more about “Iron Man 3” as we get closer to release.

“Iron Man 3” is in theaters May 3, 2013.