[Update: Ben Kingsley’s secret project might be a Marvel One-Shot introducing the “real” Mandarin.]

Iron Man 3 is not only Marvel’s second biggest success to date, but it’s the fifth biggest film of all-time according to worldwide box office numbers. Despite its popularity among moviegoers however, the most loyal of Marvel Comics fans may have taken issue with how Iron Man 3 was arguably the least faithful to the source material. Building off of two Iron Man movies before it, both directed by Jon Favreau who was very concerned about staying true to the comics in his first take on the property, the trilogy conclusion finally introduced the Mandarin, the archenemy of Iron Man. The long-awaited arrival suffice to say, wasn’t what fans were expecting. And he’s not done yet.

Iron Man 3 may mark the end of Robert Downey Jr. solo movies with Disney and Marvel Studios, but it doesn’t necessarily represent the end of one of his most interesting “foes” – if we can even use that descriptor. Ben Kingsley, who was cast as the Mandarin and praised for his powerful performance by peers before the film’s release, was actually part of the biggest twist the Marvel Cinematic Universe has delivered yet, but arguably the most controversial for comic book fans since it drastically changed a key villainous character from the Marvel library.

Advertised and disguised as the Mandarin, Kingsley’s character is revealed in Iron Man 3 to be no more than a drug-addicted actor named Trevor Slattery who is used in as a decoy in Iron Man 3 – a fictional terrorist of sorts to take the blame (and news headlines) for a series of attacks and events orchestrated by the true antagonist of Iron Man 3 – Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian. By the end if the film, Killian is seemingly killed, while Slattery lives on, seemingly in custody.

Speaking with the Belfast Telegraph, Kingsley confirmed that he’s returning to Marvel for an undisclosed project, one where he gets to work again with the Iron Man 3 crew.

“It’s a secret Marvel project. I’m not allowed to say any more, you’re going to have to wait and see… I was with many members of the crew that were involved in Iron Man 3. It was lovely to see them again. It was great to be with this wonderful family.”

“I think they have enormous taste as creative artists. There’s nothing lazy or gratuitous about their work. They are at the top of their game, and they’re great company to keep.”

If Marvel is bringing Kingsley back, and he’s admittedly working with the same crew as before, then it’s a safe bet that he’s going to reprise his comedic role as the drunken Brit actor Trevor Slattery. Is Marvel designing a Marvel One-Shot short film around the character for some laughs, perhaps to attach to the home video release of Thor: The Dark World or Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Hayley Atwell had the chance to reprise her role as Peggy Carter in the Agent Carter Marvel One-Shot attached to the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray which may be leading to her own television series.

It’s also possible that the character going to make an appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series, not unlike the Samuel L. Jackson cameo in the show’s second episode, although that wouldn’t explain why he’s working again with some of the Iron Man 3 crew. We’re going to stick with our Marvel One-Shot theory.

Whatever the project is that brings Kingsley back into the fold, it’s odd to take a touchy subject for fans of the books – the significant altering of the character from the books – and play with it even more, unless of course the powers that be are going to put the Slattery character on the path to becoming the actual Mandarin he was always meant to be. Wouldn’t that be neat? Qualms aside about how Shane Black decided to use the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, no one can deny that Kingsley’s surprising performance as Slattery was wildly entertaining.

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: Belfast Telegraph