Sir Ben Kingsley is apparently "in final negotiations" to play the villain in Iron Man 3.
The Oscar-winning actor is tipped to portray the antagonist in Shane Black's third instalment of the superhero series, reported Variety.
Details about his role are being kept under wraps, although the Hugo star is expected to help spread a nanobot virus in the storyline, which is loosely based on Warren Ellis' Extremis series that focused on nanotechnology and has already been confirmed by Marvel.
The villain in the third Iron Man film had been expected to be the Mandarin, which Jon Favreau, who directed the first two films, had been excited about using.
However, Shane has called the character - a Chinese industrialist with magical powers - as a "racist caricature."
Production on the film is set to get underway in May in North Carolina, with Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Scarlett Johansson all reprising their roles from the previous films.
Ben, who is currently filming Ender's Game, is no stranger to playing menacing baddies. He took on Robert Redford in Sneakers, received an Oscar nod for his performance as evil Don Logan in Sexy Beast and portrayed gang leader Fagin in Oliver Twist.