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. I dont like this move by marvel if true. You madr a decision stick to your guns, despite what everyone says. There was far more prominant problems with ironman 3 that i couldnt overlook. The manderin thing i had no problem with, dont change your stance because some fans say ypu should.

  2. Everybody just needs to calm down, Drew Pearce already denied this story on his twitter account. This whole story is false. What else do you expect from Latino Review?
    The One Shot is more of Trevor, which is great!

  3. “Magic based Mandarin” ? WTF are you talking about Screen Rant?

    • thats what i was going to say too. the rings were alien tech not magical. which would fit perfectly into these movies.

  4. i dont know if it will be in the one-shot or not but at some point the 10 alien rings need to be introduced along with the real mandarin and YES they have to save face and get this in the right direction. iron man 3 was a success but was fortunate to follow on heels of avengers. just the fact that this subject and pearce quickly defends his work shows they know
    they royally screwed up. how many of us said right after the iron man 3 movie and months before thor 2 cameout stated that thor 2 needed to set the foundation for guardians of the galaxy and make up for IM3 and what happened it was confirmed thor 2 would have two post-credits scenes and one involving guardians of the galaxy. latino review has been right and of course wrong but i so hope that nail this one down…..

  5. Should the real Mandarin appear in a marvel one shot, it is only proof that what they did in IM3 was wrong and they need to correct that. It would be great to see The Mandarin punishing Trevor for his clumsiness. It would be like a Jedi chopping Jar Jar’s head off.

    • A Jedi cutting Jar Jar pings head of would be the most glorified scene of Star Wars forever. This dude needs to be killed.

  6. Honestly I have no problem with more Kingsley in the MCU. I thought he and the twist in IM3 was amazing and totally unexpected and I loved it. If they decide to sort of peace treaty fans with this by all means do it. Far worse things about IM3 that had nothing to do with Kingsley or his character(s).

  7. I just think Marvel is trying to make up for making the mistake of IM3′s “Mandarin”.

    I personally do not think that Marvel thought the fans would have an aneurism over a movie character so they want to make it up to the fans!
    I don’t like them making a decision and now changing it(maybe), BUT maybe Marvel feels they owe it to their fans and to not treat them as fools like Shane Black did for IM3.
    I have read that Alan Taylor did not particularly like his experience with Marvel because of how they Direct from afar, I could also swear that Marvel said during IM3 filming that they were giving the Directors more freedom! Well after the Mandarin debacle MAYBE Marvel realized that giving these Dir. too much freedom can cause reactions that Marvel DOES NOT want from their fans.
    I honestly hope that is the case and we will NOT have any more lame ass Mandarin trickery in the future!

  8. I concur, the people at Marvel said that the rings would have been a difficult subject to explain but since we have already seen Thor and Thanos, the idea of 10 “magic” rings would have been easier to explain. I think.

  9. What bothered me most about the “twisted ending” of IM3 wasn’t so much the deviation from the Marvel source material. I just hated to see a bunch of young people around the world viewing this as more “conspiracy” propaganda that takes a Bin Laden look-alike and makes him seem to be an innocent nice guy. Doesn’t Hollywood realize that it is helping to fuel the view that the Bin Ladens of the world aren’t really evil — in fact, it appears here that the villain was a US capitalist entrepreneur/researcher!

    • WAAAAY too political for a comic book movie post dude!!
      take that garbage to Fox News dot com or something but I think your taking this sh*t way too seriously bro!

      • ^ + 1,000!

  10. I really hope this one is fake, they shouldn’t change their opinion based on what a bunch of neckbeards say.

    • lol @ neckbeards!

  11. Mandarin the puppet master, he has been pulling the strings since the first Iron Man, each villian has a connection to the Ten Rings

  12. It would be cool to see the original Mandarin, they could do something where Kingsley was the Mandarin the whole time and was tricking Tony Stark into thinking his henchman Killian were the villains thats how i see it working but we’ll have to wait and see.

    • More than anything, what I read from you was a love letter—it was about you loving you, you loving me, you loving us and wanting to build a home that was filled with nothing but love. I can get on that train. I like that idea.

      The poster above us said something about the Mandarin being the puppet master and each villain having a connection to the 10 Rings. One of my more far-fetched ideas was that the villains themselves were the 10 rings–Killian was just the “fire ring” so to speak. You give the Mandarin technology-based rings instead, ones that manifest themselves as villains. Like I said, admittedly far-fetched

      • That was weird…must’ve added from something else. Sorry

  13. I’d like to see it revealed that Trevor’s plastic surgery was to make him look like the Real Mandarin. Ben Kingsley could play both Trevor and the Real Mandarin. It could also be revealed that Trevor was told there wasn’t a real Mandarin in order to keep Trevor’s role as a decoy better intact.

    Another option would be to go the Tropic Thunder route and reveal that Trevor actually is the real Mandarin only pretending to be an actor named Trevor. The real Mandarin could have actually killed Trevor in order to assume his identity as an actor playing himself! (I’m a Dude Playing A Dude Disguised as Another Dude)

  14. Even if they subtitle it with an Iron Man Legends type thing like Wolverine Origins, how much money do you think it possibly get?

    Over/under $100 Million. People simply don’t care. I mean Wolverine for christsake barely broke bank in the domestic US this year.

    And he’s a million times more popular than a villain who many might think was named after an orange.

    • I don’t think anyone was suggesting they make an “Iron Man Origins: Mandarin” film. Only that they reveal a Mandarin closer to the one we know from the comics is yet to be revealed in a future “One Shot” or “Iron Man/Avengers” film.

  15. Everyone who disliked the movie and it’s portrayal of the Mandarin are in the minority. 99% of people I know loved the movie and the “Mandarin” in it.

    It’s been six months since IM3 was released, and you’re still complaining about it?
    Seriously. Build a bridge and get over it.

    • 99% of the people you know? Good thing you know several billion people…oh, wait.

      If you don’t like reading complaints about sub-par material, you’re more than welcome TO NOT READ THEM.

      Will wonders never cease?

      • youre alright in my book, Archaeon

        • Thank you, Josh. :)

      • It’s kinda hard not to read them when they’re plastered all over every Iron Man 3 forum and article on the internet.

        • THAT is true…just as it’s true that people comment and complain incessantly about Affleck as Batman, DC better than Marvel, Marvel better than DC, black Johnny Storm, etc., etc., etc.

          Welcome to the waking nightmare that IS “The Age of Internet Fanboyism”…

    • Ah yes, the classic mistake of thinking your 8 friends represent the viewpoints of a billion people.

      Guess what people… your personal experience doesn’t manipulate or control the rest of reality.

    • I think most people don’t know who the real Mandarin is. I read some other comment on another article saying “what if they made Lex Luthor a drunken, homeless joke?”. Most know who Lex Luthor is and would be against that. It’s the same in the Iron Man Universe with the REAL Mandarin.

      • “Real” Mandarin, ah the blurring lines of reality….

  16. IM3′S treatment of Mandarin was the biggest fail of Marvel’s cinematic Universe so far.

    • certainly wont be the last i personally blame wheadons incompetence

  17. Good move by Marvel to acknowledge they made a major mistake with the portrayal of Mandarin in IM3.

    I’m all for it.

  18. Why would it be a retcon if they introduce a magic-wielding Mandarin? It’s not like there haven’t been impostors of heroes and villains in the Marvel universe before. Especially since the Mandarin in IM3 was Extremis-based so technically he was just a fake / impostor if you want to go with Mandarin absolutely having to have his powers based on magic / mystical power / alien technology.

  19. So Marvel realized they screwed up and now they’re back peddling . Cute.

  20. iron man 3 always had plenty of room for a real mandarin afterwards, whether its just a mantle that passes along or ben kingsley playing a part and trying not to show his real self for some reason.. it was a good move for the movie and they can still portray him in any way they’d like. people who got mad are stupid, just be patient

  21. Screw that, Real Mandarin for Iron Man 4!!!

  22. I liked Shane Black’s idea of making the Mandarin fake. I mean lets face it, who would be crazy enough to ever tell the whole world that he was the one causing all the explosions and chaos around the world?

    • try any bad guy ever. does the taliban not take credit for every little bad thing that happens in the middle east?

    • Notoriety is one of the five motivations for terrorism. What good is fighting for a cause if nobody knows what your cause is?

  23. I felt Black turning Tony Stark into Angus MacGyver, agent 007 and then taking the same Iron Man armor that could withstand a direct blow from Mjolnir in the Avengers only to downgrade into wet paper bag technology in Iron Man 3. The Arnold Brock twist was funny to me.

  24. Could it be that we have seen the real Mandarin and have been misdirected to believe that Ben Kingsley’s character is a fake?

  25. I remember hearing some crazy rumor when Iron Man 3 was announced that they were pursuing Andy Lau for some part in the film, and I immediately theorized that Ben Kingsley would turn out to be a decoy and Andy Lau would appear in a massive “twist” as the “True” Mandarin.

    Well, the Andy Lau thing never materialized and I completely forgot about it (obviously I turned out to be right about the decoy thing, much to my retroactive surprise) but now I’m secretly hoping that THAT WAS THE PLAN ALL ALONG…

    Yeah. Probably not. :P

  26. I can’t convey how ok i am with this idea. the mandarin in Iron Man 3 was awful. I dont care how they do it… make trevor a bluff while the mandarin was hiding his true character. the mandarin is Iron Mans main villain! (thus concludes my rant)

  27. I don’t know why so many people are acting like this was their plan all along. Shane Black did make this movie thinking, “Hey, let’s make a fake Mandarin for this film so we can do a real Mandarin in a little short film.” It was not their plan to save the real Mandarin for Iron Man 4 either. This was the 3rd movie, RDJ’s contract was expiring/in the process of negotiations, and they cast Sir Ben f’ing Kingsley in the role. Everything was perfect for introducing Iron Man’s arch-nemesis and they screwed it up. There was such a huge backlash from fans that now they’re trying to fix it. It’s a nice sentiment but too little too late. You can’t make up for that waste of film.

  28. I hope this is true, but Sir Kingsley should still be the Mandarin.

  29. I think thats the LESS unlikable idea. and it could work.

    The boat could float again if the Mandarin is played by someone else, definitely.