From its introduction of fan favorite superhero War Machine to its lynchpin ties to the burgeoning Marvel Films Universe to the $300 million plus performance of its predecessor in 2008, next year's "Iron Man 2" comes with high expectations for fans. And in what is becoming par for the course in the ramp up towards superhero sequels, Paramount Pictures began teasing plot elements from Jon Favreau's next installment of Tony Stark action in the form of a mysterious viral campaign centering on the villain Whiplash.
The ball started rolling with the unveiling of the film's second teaser poster (pictured at right) featuring actor Mickey Rourke. Built upon bits and pieces from the Russian villain the Crimson Dynamo's comic book backstory as well as elements of the original whip-wielding villain, Rourke's Whiplash is a prisoner obsessed with Tony Stark.
Following on the heels of that poster, Paramount began releasing selected clips from Whiplash's wall of Stark to different film sites including SuperHeroHype, Screen Rant and CHUD. While initially, the clippings seem only to summarize the first film's plot, the expectation is that eventually the photo clues will lead viewers to a tie-in website with exclusive "Iron Man 2" content.
Additionally, each new newspaper clipping despite having torn and burnt edges has one key word highlighted for fans. In order, they are "Secret, "Stark" and "Confession." How those words relate to each other or a possible ARG (alternate reality game) surrounding the film remains unknown. But what is known is that the release of the official "Iron Man 2" trailer online is imminent since word has it that the preview will bow in theaters before start Robert Downey, Jr.'s Christmas Day-opening "Sherlock Holmes."
And of course, with the new Iron Man movie being produced directly by Marvel Films, fans of the Marvel Comics line can expect not only a slew of Iron Man product coming over the coming months such as the just launched "Iron Man Vs. Whiplash" series but also Iron Man comics tied directly to the film's continuity like the upcoming "I Am Iron Man" adaptation of the first film.
Sound off on the CBR message boards on what you think the clips mean, and check back to CBR for more info on the developing viral campaign and Iron Man comics news as it becomes available!