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OTRC: 'Iron Man 3' dark winter holiday 'card' shows Robert Downey Jr. (Photo)

Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is seen in this holiday photo released by Marvel during Christmas 2012. / Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) appears in a scene from Marvel's 'Iron Man 3.' (Marvel / Walt Disney Pictures)

Tony Stark wishes fans happy holidays, as seen in a new publicity photo for Marvel's "Iron Man 3" film.

The picture shows main star Robert Downey Jr. dressed as the billionaire with his arms crossed, standing in front of a snowy, forest backdrop at night. The words "Happy Holidays from Tony Stark" are printed in white. "Iron Man 3" hits theaters on May 3, 2013.

The collection of publicity images Marvel has so far released for the movie includes a photo of Iron Man in his suit lying in the snow. Another picture shows the superhero's assistant and love interest, Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, holding his helmet. Another shows the item cracked and scraped and another shows Stark wearing the damaged gear. (See photos from "Iron Man 3")

Cheadle said at Comic Con San Diego in July that "Iron Man 3" is "a little grittier" than the previous two installments, adding: "To me, when you read the script, it kind of feels more like the first one in terms of the level of threat that they're dealing with, that feels like it could be kind of a world war."

Production on "Iron Man 3" began in May and parts of the movie were shot in North Carolina, as well as in Florida.

The official teaser trailer was released in October. In the new sequel to the hit Marvel film franchise, Stark battles a new enemy - the Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, and, as seen in the clip, viewers will also get to see the Marvel comic book character Iron Patriot. Cheadle's character James Rhodes, aka War Machine, reportedly wears the armor.

Additional newcomers include British actors Guy Pearce, who portrays the geneticist Aldrich Killian, and Rebecca Hall, who stars as fellow scientist Maya Hansen. Jon Favreau, who directed the first two "Iron Man" movies, stars as Happy Hogan.

"Marvel's 'Iron Man 3' pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds," distributor Walt Disney Pictures said in a statement. "When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy's hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle."

"With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him," the statement added. "As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?"

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