Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 is arguably the most divisive Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. While many (myself included) have come to appreciate the Shane Black film for its unique tone and character exploration, there’s no denying Black butchered one of the coolest villain characters in Marvel comics: The Mandarin. In Iron Man 3, The Mandarin, who was initially teased as a menacing terrorist, was later revealed to be a cooky, alcoholic theatre actor named Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley). The twist left a sour taste in the mouths of hardcore fans.
In 2014, Marvel Studios released a short film, titled All Hail the King, essentially retconning Shane Black’s story and teasing the existence of the real Mandarin. But let’s face it. We know for a fact that unless it’s released on the big screen (or on Disney Plus) it’s not technically canon. Good news is, we might actually be seeing the Mandarin sooner rather than later. During an Ask Me (Almost) Anything on Reddit, Kevin Feige was asked if there are any plans to incorporate the Ten Rings from the first Iron Man, or the “real” Mandarin teased in the aforementioned short film. To which Feige simply replied:
The cryptic-as-always-Feige didn’t specify if his “yes” was directed at the Ten Rings or The Mandarin. Having said that, considering the Ten Rings are closely tied to The Mandarin in the comics, it’s safe to assume that we would indeed be getting the iconic Marvel villain in his proper form very soon.
For those who are unfamiliar, The Mandarin is arguably the most popular villain in Iron Man’s rogues’ gallery. He is said to be an orphan born in China before the communist revolution, who grows up to be a megalomaniac who repeatedly attempts to conquer the world. He’s a genius scientist and a super skilled martial artist whose primary source of power comes from ten rings he took from a crashed alien space ship. Each ring has its own specific power.