With The Avengers ready to hit theaters in two weeks, Marvel Studios is already turning its attention to Iron Man 3. Now Variety is reporting that the studio is close to signing Guy Pearce to play the genetic scientist, Dr. Aldrich Killian, in director Shane Black's comic book movie debut.

In the comics, Killian played a brief, yet important, role in the acclaimed "Extremis" storyline, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Adi Granov. Killian was one of the scientists responsible for creating the Extremis virus, which was designed to hack the human DNA blueprint and replace it with a better one. The virus eventually falls into the wrong hands, and Tony Stark is soon forced to inject himself with it in order to take down the Extremis-fueled terrorist, Mallen.

Like the comics, there is no doubt that Killian will be an antagonist in the movie, but it's not certain if Pearce will be a physical threat to Iron Man or just a morally corrupt scientist working in the background. It's also not certain how this role will relate to the recent news that Ben Kingsley was close to signing on as a villain as well. All we can tell you is that if the producers are really set on adapting "Extremis," then you can expect a completely different look and feel from the previous Iron Man movies. 

[Variety via Super Hero Hype