Even though Robert Downey Jr. is currently in production on ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Iron Man 3’ won’t be released in theaters until May 3, 2013, it doesn’t mean he isn’t excited about the film.

In an interview with the LA Times regarding the film, Downey cryptically said “my sense of it is that we need to leave it all on the field — whatever that means in the end. You can pick several different points of departure for that.” Hopefully that means stripping Tony Stark’s world down to its emotional vulnerabilities more like ‘Iron Man’ than ‘Iron Man 2’.

Downey continues, “watching the sequel now, he sees a film in which a lot of things worked but plenty of other things didn’t.” The actor also talked up bringing in ‘Iron Man 3’ writer/director Shane Black. Black, who began his career writing such films as ‘Lethal Weapon’, ‘The Last Boyscout’ and ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, made his directorial debut with ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’. The wacky dark comedy starred Downey as a petty criminal masquerading as an actor as the body count grows in LA. About the film; the actor chides that “the meta-charms of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang won’t be revisited by the Marvel superhero film — unless of course they are.The thing about Shane is that it will be anything but one of those moments. Unless we come up with something that is so cheeky and character-driven and perfect that it has to be in the movie.”

The actor continues discussing Black, “He’s more than the sum of his parts and he’s also kind of been a sleeper for a long time.” This tidbit might refer to the fact that besides 2005’s ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, Black’s last written script was 1996’s ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’. “We’re not talking much about [the script] right now because Shane is off writing and we talked before that and when we are talking again the talking is going to be over pretty quick [because we’re on the same page]. It’s kind of like we’re fighting on the same side and at the same time we’re circling each other, so it’s all great. It should be great.”

And just as Downey was discussing the second ‘Iron Man’ sequel, so was director Jon Favreau. Favreau, who directed the first two ‘Iron Man’ films had this to say about number 3, “I’ve spoken to Robert about ‘Iron Man 3,’ and I know Shane Black, who is the director. Shane is someone who has been in Robert’s life for a long time, and I’ve met him through Robert over the years. I remember we would go to his house and talk to him about certain script issues on the first ‘Iron Man’ film. So, I think he’s well equipped to work on it. I’m curious to see what they’re working on.”

Favreau is also the executive producer for Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ film that is currently in production. He had this to say about the film and it’s director Joss Whedon, “I’m executive producer of ‘The Avengers,’ but Joss Whedon is the director. The nice thing about working for Marvel is that they really give the directors a lot of latitude to bring their own style and signature to the piece, so it will be interesting to see how Joss contends with all of the disparate characters, and films that they came from as he combines them into ‘The Avengers’.”

Regarding the scope of the film the director had this say, “I think it’s very ambitious, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he solves all of the intrinsic challenges that are involved with that particular film. His knowledge of comic books is very deep. He has worked in that medium, and he’s a big fan, and has been for some time. He’s been going to Comic-Con for a long time, and he’s been part of that world. He’s also really good with ensemble, and I like his tone of comedy. There’s a lot of exposition that’s been established in the other films, and he’s going to have to not only corral all of the characters and find how they interact in the most interesting way, and hopefully bring his sense of humor to it as well, but also help keep the storylines alive that continue from before the film starts and after it finishes.”

I think the choice of director Shane Black is a brave one for Marvel given that he’s only directed one much smaller film. But, his experience with big action films could bring the franchise back into the right focus for a cool sequel. And Joss Whedon’s experience with ensemble casts does make him a fantastic choice for ‘The Avengers’. The summers for 2012 and 2013 are shaping up nicely with ‘The Avengers’ on May 4, 2012 and ‘Iron Man 3’ on May 3, 2013.