October 24, 2012 at 05:17 PM EDT

The evil geniuses of Marvel Studios are the masters of building suspense among hardcore fans, often by creating trailers that show a lot of imagery that is, 1) very exciting, and 2) entirely out of context. As we watch, we’re in a constant state of “What exactly is going on here?”

The new trailer for Iron Man 3 is full of such headscratchers, which only help build tension and anticipation for the May 3 opening.

Like I said — evil geniuses.


Near the start of the trailer, we see Stark alone in his lab, drawing his rocket-powered armored glove from the table with what appears to be telepathy.

For months, it was long-speculated that Iron Man 3 was partially inspired by the 2005-2006 comics series Extremis, by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov, in which a critically wounded Stark is injected with a serum that fuses the control system for his armor to his body, allowing him to draw the gear toward him remotely. We saw a precursor to this engineering in The Avengers, when Stark used a pair of bracelets to link up with the Iron Man suit.

Just before Comic-Con, Marvel leaked this concept art image to EW, showing a panicked Tony Stark in partial armor, which seemed to confirm this. During Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation days later, the crowd saw footage of Robert Downey Jr.’s character experimenting with this technology — and getting somewhat beaten up as the pieces of his suit slammed onto his non-iron flesh.

So what we’re seeing is Stark using this internal nanotech and the power of his own mind-bullets to make the Iron Man glove levitate and launch at his arm.

That, truly, is the sound of one hand clapping.


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