'Iron Man 3' Begins Filming, Marvel Tweets Set Photo

                                                                           (Image Credit: Marvel Studios, @Iron_Man)

Marvel Studios has officially suited up and pulled the trigger for a third time on another "Iron Man" movie.

The studio announced today that the next superhero epic, "Iron Man 3," has begun filming in Wilmington, N.C.

The studio also revealed the first image of filming on set today through Twitter. It shows actor Robert Downey Jr., who plays Tony Stark-Iron Man in the series, standing in front of a wall of Iron Man suits of armor.

Ever secretive, Marvel's news release announcing the filming was vague, saying only that "principal photography" has started on the film and that the "Iron Man 3's" plot "continues the epic, big-screen adventures of the world's favorite billionaire inventor/Super Hero, Tony Stark aka 'Iron Man.'"

There were also no surprises announced in the cast, yet.  Marvel's news release only confirms that actors Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau will appear in "Iron Man 3," as they all have in the previous "Iron Man" films.

In an April interview with "Nightline," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who is also producing "Iron Man 3," was reluctant even then to reveal much about Marvel's latest superhero installment. He would only say that this film would be "very different" from others in the Marvel Comic franchise and the audience shouldn't assume they know what's coming just because it's a sequel.

"It's going to be very different, very unique and I think not ascribe to any specific formula that they think they may have pegged us on," Feige said at the time. "It's all in the story. It's where you take Tony Stark on his journey in an unexpected way and have him come out of 'The Avengers' a slightly changed individual, which people will see when they see the movie."

The "Iron Man 3? announcement follows the smashing success of the summer blockbuster, " The Avengers," which had a record-breaking box office opening when it was released on May 4, pulling in roughly $200 million domestically in its first weekend.

"Iron Man 3? is slated to open in theaters nationwide on May 3, 2013, according to the studio's news release.

Marvel Studios, which produced the Marvel Comic film franchise - the "Iron Man" films,  "Captain America," "Thor," "The Incredible Hulk" and "The Avengers"  - is owned by ABC News' parent company, the Walt Disney Company.