EXCLUSIVE: The ever secretive Marvel Studios is in final negotiations with Shane Black to direct Iron Man 3 set to be released on May 3, 2013. As you know , IM1 and IM2 director Jon Favreau begged off to helm Magic Kingdom at Disney so his relationship with the franchise ran its course. Shane is first and foremost a writer but it’s not clear whether he’ll be penning the IM3 script as well. “That’s not figured out,” our source says. Of course, everyone in and around Marvel is keeping mum. But Black has a long relationship with Robert Downey Jr since Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Not only did Shane make his directing debut on the 2005 cult favorite he co-wrote, but it helped re-launch Downey Jr’s career. When news leaked out that Marvel was meeting with several directors including Shane, fanboys approved. So they should exult now that negotiations are wrapping up with Black’s agency WME and manager David Greenblatt’s GreenLit Creative. We recall the days way back when that unknown Black submitted a spec script over the transom to Greenblatt who was then a young ICM lit agent. Greenblatt in those days read scripts by wannabes and the two became an inseparable team that continues to this day. (For the uninitiated, Greenblatt was one of the founders of Endeavor, which is now WME.) Black was the screenwriter behind Lethal Weapon 1 and 2 and The Last Boy Scout, and, in the 1980s and 1990s one of the highest paid writers in the action genre. He then decided to go have a life and segue into directing as well. Shane is back and busy now. He’s working on Doc Savage, Sony’s action project based on the classic pulp hero, and Warner Bros Warner Bros recently hired him to direct a live action adaptation of the Japanese manga series Death Note and oversee a script that’s being written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, his accomplices on Doc Savage. So let this be a lesson to all you agents who get so arrogant about out-of-the-blue submissions: read every wannabe’s screenplay you can get your hands on.

For all of Deadline's headlines, follow us @Deadline on Twitter.