By Joshua Rich
January 07, 2009 at 12:00 PM EST

Is Mickey Rourke the next big ex-star to score a career rebound via the Iron Man franchise? He may well be. Variety is reporting that the 1980s idol — whose long professional losing streak apparently ended with his award-baiting performance in this season’s The Wrestler — is in talks to play the bad guy (“Tony Stark’s Russian alter ego”) in Iron Man 2. (This comes right on the heels, of course, of news that the actor has signed on to a Sylvester Stallone action vehicle.) The sequel is due to start shooting this spring and be released in the summer of 2010. As everybody knows by now, last summer’s Iron Man juiced the Hollywood career of another 1980s idol who had fallen on tough times, Robert Downey Jr.

Personally, I think this sounds like a good idea. I mean, hell, judging by this photo, Rourke kinda already resembles a comic-book baddie! Still, I hope that this excellent franchise isn’t just succumbing to gimmickry. What about you? Thoughts, concerns, ovations — bring ’em, PopWatchers!

addCredit(“Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images”)