**Iron Man 3** opens on New Year's Eve 1999, nine years before the events of the original **Iron Man.** Callow Tony Stark is wooing Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and snubbing young scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who wants Stark funding for a chemistry project.
Fourteen years later, Killian and Stark cross paths. Killian reveals his history with Stark's current girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Before a love triangle can solidify, the evil Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) issues terrorists attacks upon the United States of America and Tony Stark's personal property.