Iron Man 3
The trailer reveals a patriotic version of the Iron Man suit [Pic: Marvel Studios]

The first trailer has been released for Iron Man 3, with things not looking too rosy for hero of the film, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). The billionaire industrialist is seen initially in the trailer lying in the snow, encased in his iconic metallic suit. He says in a voiceover that he's, "got a lot of apologies to make".

"Nothing's been the same since New York," Stark says in reference to the character's last film appearance, in Avengers Assemble.

"I can't sleep. And when I do, I have nightmares. There's 100 people who want to kill me. I hope I can protect the one thing I can't live without".

In one moment in the trailer, Stark and his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are fast asleep in bed when they are disturbed by an imposter wearing the Iron Man suit. Cue lots of explosions and destruction of much of Stark's property, including the various Iron Man prototypes, as well as his luxurious apartment on the California coast.

Over these images can be heard the voice of the Mandarin, the main villain of the film, played by Sir Ben Kingsley. "Some people call me a terrorist," he says. "I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes: there is no such thing".

We catch only fleeting glimpses of the big baddie, in green robes, a long ponytail and a beard. The Mandarin is Iron Man's nemesis in the Marvel Comics on which the films are based - a Chinese warlord and scientific genius who wields great power through his 10 magic rings.

The film's producers of the films had avoided introducing the Mandarin in the previous two instalments of the franchise, with the film's director Shane Black labelling the character's depiction in the comics a "racist caricature". To remedy this, the film's storyline is thought to have The Mandarin as the name of the terrorist organisation with Kingsley's character as their leader at war with both China and the United States.

The trailer also shows a very patriotic red, white and blue Iron Man with the stars and stripes.

The film will also star Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce and Rebecca Hall. Shane Black takes over directing duties for the film, after Jon favreau directed the first two instalments.

This will be Downey Junior's fourth movie appearance in the role, after the first two Iron Man films and last year's Avengers Assemble. The film will be the seventh instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a multimovie project by Marvel Studios to have its comic book creations interact with one another across a series of movies.

Iron Man was introduced by Marvel Comics in 1963 in issue No 13 of Tales of Suspense. The character received his solo comic books series, The Invincible Iron Man, in 1968. The film adaptaions have proven massive draws at the box office. Iron Man made $585m (£365m) around the world, while its sequel made $623m.

Iron Man 3 will be released in the UK on 26 April 2013.