UPDATE: Variety is now confirming that Rourke will be playing Whiplash, however they say that the movie version of the character will combine elements taken from the Crimson Dynamo.

For months now, it has been debated as to whether or not Mickey Rourke was going to end up playing a villain in Iron Man 2 (and furthermore the question has raged on about which villain.) Now, Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily says that Rourke has signed a casting deal for the sequel to 2008's Iron Man.

For those coming in to the saga now, Rourke was originally confirmed to play a villain in the film, although reports disagreed as to whether he was playing Whiplash or the Crimson Dynamo. Then the word came out that Rourke was out, after Marvel made an insultingly low offer of $250K for his role in the film. Now it seems that Rourke's agent managed to get the payday up to a more significant level.

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Rourke is presently in Russia promoting The Wrestler (for which he has won both the Golden Globe, the Independent Spirit Award and the BAFTA), and it is expected that he'll begin researching the role while there.

If this turns out to be true, it parallels Samuel L. Jackson's experience with being Nick Fury. Jackson was out of the picture to reprise his role as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to a low-ball offer. Later on, Marvel had recanted their original offer, and Jackson is now signed for nine Marvel films, including Iron Man 2.

Marvel may be starting to see the middle-ground between their belief that the characters are what sells the film, and realizing that you need to have talented, visionary people like Rourke, Jackson, Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and directors like Jon Favreau to bring those characters to life. If all it took to sell a Marvel film was the character name, both Fantastic Four films would have been more successful than they were.