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OTRC: Robert Downey Jr. surprises young 'Iron Man' fans at Comic-Con

Robert Downey Jr. surprises fans at San Diego Comic-Con on July 14, 2012. (Marvel)

Robert Downey Jr. surprised dozens of young fans at Comic-Con 'Iron Man' costume contest on Saturday, July 14.

The 47-year-old actor arrived at the annual convention before his scheduled appearance for an "Iron Man 3" press lineup and panel and delighted children dressed in tiny versions of his character's red and gold suit.

Downey Jr. posed for photos with the crowds and attempted to interview a few of the youngsters, some of whom seemed more shocked than excited at his presence.

"Iron Man 3" recently began production in Wilmington, North Carolina and sees Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as the superhero and his alter ego, Tony Stark.

The movie is the fourth to star Downey Jr. as Iron Man, following "The Avengers," Walt Disney Studios' and Marvel Comics' record-breaking blockbuster that has earned more than $1.45 billion since its May 4 release. Scenes for "Iron Man 3" will also be filmed in China, Miami, Florida and Raleigh/Durham in North Carolina.

Celebrity photos of new villain Lt. Col. Eric Savin, aka The Iron Patriot, in his red, white and blue iron suit were posted online in May. The character eventually becomes the cyborg villain Coldblood. Savin is portrayed by James Badge Dale.

Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Stark's assistant and love interest Pepper Potts, while Don Cheadle returns to play James "Rhodey" Rhodes, aka ally superhero War Machine. Jon Favreau, who directed the first two "Iron Man" movies, announced on his Twitter page in May that he would reprise his role of Happy Hogan, Stark's bodyguard.

"Iron Man 3" is slated for release on May 3, 2013 and is directed by Shane Black, who helmed the "Lethal Weapon" movies and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which starred Downey Jr.

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