Ben Kingsley’s Secret Marvel Project May Introduce ‘Real’ Mandarin

Published 1 year ago by , Updated October 29th, 2013 at 6:39 am,

Mandarin Iron Man Marvel Comics Art Ben Kingsleys Secret Marvel Project May Introduce Real Mandarin

Iron Man 3 might prove to be the most financially successful Marvel Studios production in between The Avengers and its summer 2015 sequel, but it may also be its most controversial. And it’s all because of one major deviation from the source material.

Ever since Iron Man released in 2008, giving birth the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans of the comics and those who worked on the project were dying for the chance to properly introduce Iron Man’s archenemy from the books known as the Mandarin. With Shane Black taking over the director’s chair for the threequel and co-writing a script with Drew Pearce, they finally did, but not really.

In the biggest twist the Marvel Cinematic Universe has presented so far, Ben Kingsley’s heavily advertised Mandarin character was a decoy, not only in the film but for moviegoers. Instead, the “cameo” appearance by new supporting character Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) was actually a major role and Killian ended up being the primary antagonist, even calling himself the Mandarin at one point in the final act of the film.

For Marvel Comics readers however, he was no Mandarin and according to the latest rumor, we still may meet the “real” one. Kingsley revealed last week that he was shooting a super secret project for Marvel Studios, one that involved the same crew from Iron Man 3. No details were revealed by the knighted actor outside of that but we speculated that it would be for a Marvel One-Shot short film that will likely come attached alongside the home video release of Thor: The Dark World or Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Ben Kingsley Mandarin Trevor Slattery Ben Kingsleys Secret Marvel Project May Introduce Real Mandarin
I even suggested that the fact Marvel would want to bring Kingsley’s character of  drugged out Brit actor Trevor Slattery back, and giving more attention to that somewhat touchy subject, would mean that perhaps Marvel wants to make up for the Mandarin adaptation (read: deviation). Perhaps they could turn Kingsley into the villain Mandarin we know from the books by giving him the 10 magic rings that the Iron Man franchise wanted to stay away from in its efforts to remain tech-based and not magical.

According to Latino-Review, most of what we theorized may in fact, be true with the one key difference being that someone else will be playing the Mandarin. They claim to have knowledge of the Marvel One-Shot Kingsley has shot and that it revolves around the “real” Mandarin being upset with Aldrich Killian and Trevor Slattery for tarnishing his name and if true, it could be used to introduce the idea of magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something we know from talking to Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige is part of the Phase 3 plans after The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We’re talking about Doctor Strange, a property that’s not officially greenlit, but on that Feige confirmed is coming in Phase 3 alongside Ant-Man.

While introducing magic in a Marvel One-Shot is a neat way to do so, and is especially fitting if it comes with the Thor 2 DVD/Blu-ray, the idea of introducing another Mandarin (i.e. not Ben Kingsley) would be essentially retconning the story of Iron Man 3. Marvel Studios made a creative decision and them going back on one of that magnitude could be more problematic than bringing The Avengers’ Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) back from the dead to star in his own TV Show. Then again, perhaps Marvel Studios is setting up for the inevitable Iron Man 4 in Phase 4 or whenever Robert Downey Jr. re-signs or is replaced after The Avengers 3.

Expect to find out more in the coming months. The only things we can confirm are that Ben Kingsley is making a return appearance in some unannounced live-action project and that there will be original content (Marvel One-Shots) coming with every home video release of a Marvel Studios movie. If it’s not a short film or feature appearance, then Kingsley is going to appear in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and we don’t find that very likely if whatever he shot was filmed with the Iron Man 3 crew.

Should Marvel Studios re-introduce a magic-based Mandarin or has that ship sailed?


Iron Man 3 is now available on home video. Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!

Source: LR

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  1. wait… what was so wrong with his Mandarin IM3….

    • But on a serious note I’m happy that they’re making him the real Mandarin with magical rings instead of a burnt out druggie actor with no concept of world news.

      • I hope they do it right. By that I mean the Mandrin in Ironman was hilarious. I never thought he would be a drunk! What I want to see next is this dude as the main manderin, making it hard for the people to believe it is really him. Instead of doing the fake Batmans like in TDK. But, I do not want this dude to be the same person we’ve seen in ironman 3, drunk. I think his character should be pretty sane, but suffer from multiple personality disorder making him much more interesting to watch.

        No twist, no BS if they continue with this. I think seeing the Manderin like that would be very pleasing in why he is not the Joker but has some Joker qualities mixed with a Jack Sparrow. It reveals why he is searching for something beyond what’s in front of him and ends up finding it only to change him forever into a multiple personality disorder, magical, maniac, with 12 rings fighting against IronMan.

    • hmmmm everything. What if half through the dark knight Heath Ledger’s Jokers stops batman and begs for mercy informing Batman he’s just an actor and Harvey Dent is revealed as the true mastermind…yeah booo OH How they messed up Bane! boom

  2. The biggest twist from IM3 wasn’t The Mandarin, it was the fact that Pepper Pots is now running the show.

  3. Too little too late

  4. They should have simply added Axonn-Karr, of Maklu IV, and the crash-landed space ship discovered by a descendant of Genghis Khan to the beginning of Iron Man 3? Then there would be no controversy.

  5. The ten rings could have been alien tech based and stayed away from magic since in the Avengers they did run into aliens and Thor is an Alien. Anyways I would love to see this happen and get the real Mandarin into the films. They could actually get Fing Fan Foom in there by saying he came fro Thors world or something, or if they wanted make him a robot dragon.

    • The rings have ALWAYS been alien tech, NOT magic, and Fin Fang Foom IS an alien.

  6. Honestly we don’t know the whole story on IM3. Was the way Mandarin was handled a creation of Feige or Black? As I recall Marvel gives these directors great freedom to do what they want as long as they keep certain story plot points in so that it can build to a future story. What were those plot points?

    Feige may very well have said any of the following:
    1. You can present a false Mandarin (as we will show the real one later)
    2. You can show the Mandarin actually is Killian
    3. You can show Kingsley appearing as a false Mandarin even though he will be the real one in a future movie
    4. You can show a bunch of guys presented or thinking they are the Mandarin but in actuality no Mandarin exists as it was only an AIM dummy figurehead

    The truth is we simply don’t know what was given to Black by Feige.

    My take on it is that if Kingsley actually pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes think of how dangerous of a man he really is. Your most dangerous enemy can be right in front of you and you never even know it.
    “You’ll never see me coming!”

  7. IM4 villian Ezekial Stane. IM5 villian The Real Mandarin. They should also intriduce Nova into the mix

  8. Nows they want to make him real!!! I would call this a turdfest but since its a short ill just call it diarrhea of the eyes. DC would never pull crap like this.

    • Like Henry Ducard being Ra’s al ghul? Like Miranda Tate being Talia al ghul?

      • difference those plot twist make sense and were done well. what iron s*** gave us was the most poorly written plot twist since the twin crap in return of the jed. face it kid marvel is declining and dc will hopefully put it in its place as a crappy franchise

        • steven has a point marvel is sucking lately thor the dark world can be 2 things.
          the film that redeems marvel or 2 the film that is the last marvel film i will ever watch that isnt made by fox

      • did that clarify things for you kid

    • agreed dc cinematic universe is way more thought out then marvel(transformers with superheroes) at this point f@ck wheadon

  9. I don’t like the idea of going back and showing the real mandarin. I think that the twist was funny and great. Just because everyone got pissed off about it doesn’t mean they should change it. This is my message to marvel and any other filmmaker: stick to your guns and go with your gut instinct and hey, if everybody hates you for it, who cares? at least you tried. As long as you tried, though

    • The twist was terrible go to your corner as we watch the real f@cking mandarin

  10. It wouldn’t be “retconning” on the mandarin in IM3 because Pearce’s character says that he was taking credit for all these terrorist events and making them all seem like they were the Mandarin. Some of the events, he said, were the result of soldiers exploding because of his weaponized whatever it was. Fire shtuff.

    So they could go back and use a small portion of dialogue and blow it up if a REAL Mandarin comes along and WAS behind Tony’s first kidnapping and all these other terrorist events that Killian was using for his own manipulation.

    movies till sucked though. Glad I didn’t pay to see it.

    • cant wait when the law of diminishing returns kicks in

      • You’ll be waiting a long time.

  11. The ‘magic rings’ were never magic to begin with, they were alien tech…which fits perfectly with the rest of the MCU. You’d think the folks actually making the movies would be aware of things like that before making ill-informed comments.

  12. Ben Kingsley should remain the Mandarin if for nothing else that his performance was brilliant. The twist could be that hes acting as Trevor Stattery to infultrate western society and study the inner workings. Ben Kingsleys Mandarin was amazing and adding the rings and the Real comic version to it would be glorious