‘Iron Man 3′: Mandarin Won’t Have Magic Rings, Will Be ‘Creative Interpretation’

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Iron Man 3 Interviews The Mandarin Movie Comic Book Differences Iron Man 3: Mandarin Wont Have Magic Rings, Will Be Creative Interpretation

When the Mandarin makes his big screen launch in Iron Man 3, he’ll be missing one—make that ten—important weapons: his rings. While early shots of Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of the Mandarin have shown his hands cluttered with jewelry, director Shane Black stressed during an early press day for the film that the rings are no longer imbued with individual superpowers like flames, ice, mental control, disintegration, and matter-rearranging.

In fact, the rings no longer have special powers at all—and Black knows that fans might not be happy.

Explained Black:

“I hate to break it to you, but he’s not from space in this. The rings are rings. They’re showmanship, they’re accoutrements. They’re paraphernalia of warfare that he sort of drapes himself with. He studies Sun Tzu, he studies insurgency tactics. He surrounds himself with dragons and symbols of warlords and Chinese iconography because he wants to represent this sort of prototypical terrorist who—we use as the example Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now—may have been an American, may have been a British National, someone who is out there doing field work, supervising atrocities for the intelligence community who went nuts in the field and became this sort of devotee of war tactics, and now has surrounded himself with a group of people over which he presides, and the only thing that unifies them is this hatred of America.”

iron man 3 trailer198 570x242 Iron Man 3: Mandarin Wont Have Magic Rings, Will Be Creative Interpretation

The decision erases one of the Mandarin’s key defenses, but it does make a certain amount of sense given Black’s goals for the film. Black wants Iron Man 3‘s tone to be as natural as possible, which means taking liberties with a character who has, in the past, been dismissed by some as an Asian caricature. Like in The Dark Knight—a film he name-checked as a reference point—Black wanted to ground the Mandarin in real world tactics.

“One of the joys for me has always been seeing how you take a villain from the comic book and realize him in a slightly more realistic way for the movie—render him for movies in a way that’s recognizable, but different. That’s fun. Like the Joker in The Dark Knight is not the Joker from the comic book, but there’s just enough of him that you recognize him and go, ‘Wow, what a creative way of interpreting the Joker for motion pictures.’ So that was our task here, too. The fans love this character of the Mandarin and we just said, ‘Well, what we don’t want is this potentially racist, stereotype of a Fu Manchu villain just waving his fist.’”

Even hardcore fans can agree that certain comic book versions of the Mandarin could use an update. But even if people are glad Mandarin won’t be waving his fist, will they still wish the rings on his fist could, say, blast electricity?

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Iron Man 3 will be in theaters on May 3, 2013.

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  1. Ok… first half of the movie was perfect. After that… wow….. They should have had the mandarin have his rings, and all they needed to do was have a scene when he captures tony just him telling tony his origin. Then after the origin is done then have him use his rings to fight in the alst battle. Don’t make the extremes soldiers so powerful, and then have a fight where the suits overpower the extremes and the mandarin and tony fight it out. Thats the comics, not this bull crap.

    • They took every new character introduced from the comics and completely switched them around or severely altered their origins.  In the movie, the Iron Patriot is War Machine instead of Norman Osbourn, Eric Savin is supposed to be Cold Blood but he pretty much is Radioactive Man, Aldrich Killian says he is the real Mandarin but with his fire breadth and dragon tattoos seems to be more of a lame attempt at Fin Fang Foom, and the Mandarin just turns out to be (**spoiler**) some junkie schmuck from Liverpool.  And don’t get me started on Pepper’s third act twist.  That was almost, but not completely, impossible to watch.

      • A grounded manderin!? His name wasn’t even in the credits. Like u said…I thought it was radioactive man and Killian was fin fang foom till he yelled I’m the mandarin. This movie was nothing more then x-men first class. Entertaining as long as u don’t remember its supposed to be based on comics. I almost left when I thought pepper was gonna be miss marvel and my remembering of extremis was a mental link to electronics with small boosts to human abilities. What did I just watch

        • I agree about “Entertaining as long as u don’t remember its supposed to be based on comics.”. The movie is not bad. It has some flaws and things they should have changed, but it’s not a bad watch… if you’re not familiar with the comics.

          I read someone say “ignorance is bliss” about this movie, and that’s true. If you don’t know the Mandarin is a Chinese wizard with magic rings, then you cannot at all understand the controversy of what they did. I’ve tried to explain it to people, and they just don’t get it. Kingsley did a good job suddenly switching personas, and I’ll admit, I laughed at his absurdity, but I still hated that they called him “the Mandarin”. Should have just made up a name.

          • In Marvel’s defense, when Sir Ben Kingsley was first being considered for the role he plays in the film, it was flat out denied he was playing the Mandarin.  Maybe after everyone just kept poking and prodding and asking, “Are you sure he doesn’t play the Mandarin?  Are you SURE he doesn’t play the Mandarin??”, they were just like, “Fine, yeah, sure, he plays the Mandarin, see for yourself.”

            • That still makes no sense to butcher the character that is the Mandarin. Ben kingsly wasnt the mandarin, Aldrich Killian wasn’t anything looks or powers wise either so why use the name in the first place? I would expect such bad writing brom FOX but not a Disney marvel movie

              • IT is called MONEY…. they knew ppl knew who the mandarin was, and they also knew IM fans wanted to see the mandarin, what better way to rake in the cash than to give the fans “the mandarin”!!! BUT what we really got was a absolute travesty from marvel, They pulled the wool over our eyes and played the IM faithful like a cheap violin…. and we bought into it!

                They make the billion, we get a CRAP version of the mandarin as the final villian in the IM series!

                US FANS SHOULD JUST FEEL THE LOVE FROM MARVEL EH! They really care about the fans dont they? WHAT A JOKE

              • Awww all you people sound like little babies whining because they didn’t get their way. You guys want it the way it is in the comics? Go read the damn comics. Oh they changed things up drastically? OH booo-hoooo! It’s a movie based on comics of course they are going to change things up, sometimes only a little, sometimes a lot.

                I’ll continue enjoying the movies as they are why you all complain. Let me know how far that gets you.

                • Yep. Let’s have the joker ruined and turn him into the butler alfred or let’s have the green goblin turn out to be jackie chan. That makes perfect sense. We have an ignorant fool here folks.

  2. What if Aldrich Killian is just subjected to the mind control of the actual Mandarin throughout the film? I’m probably wrong, but who knows? I at first thought Ben Kingsley was actually the Mandarin pretending not to be him so that he could catch Tony off guard.

    • I hope you are right… That would be great.

  3. No reason to have mandarin in the movie at all. He added nothing to the movie/they could have created any evil villain to play that role.

  4. I buy a ton of comics every month and I know the characters as well as any other regular reader. This Mandarin is certainly not the same Mandarin from the comics.
    I find that embracing the tradition where stories are told in alternate realities (Ultimate universe, Marvel Zombies, Marvel Universe vs, for example) is the best way to watch these films.
    I might be a hypocrite here, but I would have really been peeved if Fox had treated Mandarin in this way. Knowing that Marvel thought this appropriate, I’d like to think it all fits into the bigger scheme of things.

  5. This is a little bit beyond artistic license folks. Alternate universe? Ok, but usually, even in the Marvel Alternate universes, Spidey is still a person with Spider powers.

    So what’s next then if this is the kind of manipulation they’ll attempt? Hmm? Are they going to put Apocalypse in an X-men movie & have him just be like some boring Dunkin Donuts cashier as a cameo? But first advertise the hell out of him being in the movie? Hmm? C’mon. If they did that, you’d totally want to see it BECAUSE Apocalypse is in it. Please don’t tell me that you can rationalize that kind of blatant $-grabbing publicity stunt as “well, it’s an alternate universe where Apocalypse didn’t give a sh*t that he lives forever & just had a passion for ringing up cops for donut purchases. You gotta let the directors direct, d00d.” NO. Just no.

    • I suppose I just don”t feel strongly towards Mandarin as a character, so it didn’t really affect me in the movie. If you like the character I can see why it would annoy you. I refuse to even be in the same room as a copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine because of how they treated Deadpool.

  6. I have all but stopped reading Screen Rant because of incredible spoilers, even in the headlines. (I check the reviews and spoiler commentaries AFTER I see a movie). However, this article would have braced me for the biggest bait & switch movie I can remember. Prometheus had elements of this, but there was no established mythology for that part of the story.

    The existence of this article may explain the blunted complaints on the main spoiler comments. Perhaps other fans reconciled this difference a couple months ago. I have to modify my own tone about it, that at least the director was out there explaining in advance.

    The stripping Mandarin of Mandarin was a despicable move, since it was a MARVEL movie. There are many ways they could have modified the power-rings. Do you mean to tell me that glowing, exploding, near-immortal volcano people are more “natural” than a guy with mystically powered rings? (Just think of the Happy Meals or whatever, to collect all 10).

    I agree with others–if you’re going to emasculate a long-established character, why not just create a new character? You even emasculated his ethnic heritage–isn’t that in itself racist? At least all this explains the HORRIBLE Darrell Hammond-plays-Sean Connery accent . . .

    What I don’t see in Black’s comments is any indication that Kingsley’s character was going to be anything less than a terrorism mastermind–not even code words understandable only after seeing the movie. Could it be that, sensing fan reaction, they maneuvered that joke scene of Mandarin with the girls, and then the one-sentence “reveal” of the “true Mandarin”–at the last minute?

  7. (1)The Mandarin the comics is a one-man version of the military industrial complex, a ruler who spends all his kingdom’s money turning himself into a person of mass destruction, a science and martial arts super-soldier. He basically spends the entire budget on the military, it’s just he’s the entire military. In the end his fiefdom is too broke to even pay taxes.

    Is Killian a one-man version of the military industrial complex? He’s a member of the military industrial complex, he embodies the corruption of the military industrial complex to the point of caricature. He’s using taxpayer money to turn himself into a super-soldier, and it’s part of a scheme to get America spending even more money on his super-soldier program. While it may not literally make America flat broke by itself, his scheme is a massive example, a caricatured example, of the corrupt and bloated military spending that is causing America such budget problems.

    (2)The Mandarin is a mad scientist.
    Is Killian a Mad Scientist? Yup. It’s right there from the moment he pops up.

    (3)The Mandarin possesses superhuman martial arts abilities, the most common example of which is the ability to karate-chop chunks off of the Iron Man armor, and generally physically enhancing himself with chi. As corollary to this, he’s extremely athletic.

    Is Killian a superhuman martial artist? Welllll, yes and no. He’s not literally superhumanly skilled, but he’s superhuman and he uses karate-chops to chop the leg off one armor and chop another armor in half. He’s not the Chi-channeling mystic monster comic Mandarin is, but for a simplified movie character he’s fairly close. He’s also played by a guy who is fairly tall and athletic, the star of several action-movies.

    (4)The Mandarin often schemes to cause world war III so he can benefit from everyone being at war with everyone else.

    Is Killian scheming to cause World War III so he can benefit from everyone being a war with everyone else? Yes and no, but mostly yes. He’s scheming to control and render permanent the war on terror, which is to the modern world was World War III was to the 60′s.

    Killian passes The Mandarin test, or at the very least comes very close for simplified 2013 movie character.

    • Thank you, I knew this too prior to seeing the movie, and i thought the idea was new, and funny. If you think about it, “Trevor” was a bad guy and he, probably, killed that hostage and didn’t know it (drugs and alcohol). He is also a liar, and a great actor, so he was terrifying people, plus he was probably didn’t care people were being blown up…give me more drugs lol. I’m just saying he was a clevor idea to show the image of the mandarin as a symbol of our fears and prejudice. Killian was a lot like the mystery of the ultimate version of mandarin, read it or look it up. I know ten rings would be nice but it might have cluttered up the magic the MCU needed for other villains. But who was in control of the 10 rings in 1 and 2…i think saying Killian and Stane made these terroist and just say that.

      • No, Trevor didn´t kill anyone. That was a stage play.

  8. People don’t realize that the Mandarin in the Ultimates was a super computer. At least this was better than that.

    • At least in the Ultimates he was STILL A VILLAIN

  9. I’m just mad that they lied in the commercials, I feel duped, I knew right away the Mandarin was going to be different obviously to suit the terrorist role but I was okay with that because I was still going to see Ironman take on his nemesis, or so I thought….what they did to him is just a slap in the face to the fans who follow the comic, it’s just plain trolling. I agree 100% with the first person who commented, the first half of the movie was fine, then right out of nowhere it almost turned into one giant joke. They shouldn’t have involved the Mandarin at all, just left it to the Extrimis story. Point is I was expecting to see Mandarin face off Ironman, instead I got the same bullsh*t 2 characters in one like Deadpool/Weapon X.

  10. I’m just mad that they lied in the commercials, I feel duped, I knew right away the Mandarin was going to be different obviously to suit the terrorist role but I was okay with that because I was still going to see Ironman take on his nemesis, or so I thought….what they did to him is just a slap in the face to the fans who follow the comic, it’s just plain trolling. I agree 100% with the first person who commented, the first half of the movie was fine, then right out of nowhere it almost turned into one giant joke. They shouldn’t have involved the Mandarin at all, just left it to the Extrimis story. Point is I was expecting to see Mandarin face off Ironman, instead I got the same bs 2 characters in one like Deadpool/Weapon X.

  11. Sure the movie’s going to make a lot of money, it’s a good film, but what they did to the Mandarin was criminal, especially after comic fans got a really good storyline with the REAL Mandarin in the Matt Fraction Iron Man comic. The extremis plotline, while handled better was ill-served by this film as well. Extremis in the comic took Stark and Iron Man to the next level, you didn’t get that in this film at all in fact what effects extremis might have done to Stark (and it’s effects on Pepper) were either not shown, or blown off with a line of dialogue. Also Stark is rather adverse to killing, something he has no problem at all with in this film.

  12. Actually Shane’s comments are rather telling in another way. Like Marvel exec said before that realizing Wakanda would be difficult to pull off right before announcing that their next big project was Guardians of the Galaxy, a film that has sentient trees and talking raccoons. Shane seems to be hinting that having an ethnic villain who has his own motivations and reasons for committing his villainy isn’t as “grounded in the real world” as having someone be a tool of a corporation or western scientist. Of course fire breathing bad guys are totally realistic. It’s like Hollywood screenwriters and directors can’t put a dime’s worth of effort into making a ethnic character less stereotypical, or giving them any depth, but they can dust off a clichéd story idea in a heartbeat. How many disgruntled scientist or corporate guys has Stark faced off again now? Three for three?

  13. They should probably mention a spoiler alert in the poll results.

  14. Dear Hollywood, Stan Lee, The Marvel Universe, and Shane Black…

    I have just came from a screening of Iron Man 3 and, I must be honest, I HAVE TO pan this film!!! I can wholeheartedly say, for me it was the Worst of the three! The terms “Garden Variety” and “Run of the Mill” come to mind from what I just experienced! …and it had such “HYPE” and PROMISE.

    Let me explain myself in the best way I know how… “The Compliment Sandwich!” 1) The whole movie was filled with creative(descent) story telling; From start to finish the movie was filled with twist and turns, action, and explosions… parts of the movie compelled me to continue watching… Standing alone, this movie was a very good story, told with descent Direction, CG and Cinematography. 2) THIS IS NOT THE SHANE BLACK UNIVERSE!!!! It IS the Marvel Universe! And in the Marvel Universe “The Mandarin” is a force to be reckoned with! And “No” Mr. Black, The Mandarin is NOT “from outer space”, he is actually of noble Chinese descent and somewhat of an archeologist to the “Forbidden Vally of Spirits”! Mythology, the Marvel Universe mythology! Within the “Valley of Spirits” he discovered an ancient UFO landing/crash site… and within the vessel he discovered a Captain’s chair, and ten magik rings!!! “He who controls the rings controls the vessel…” and subsequently controls the World! With the rings come a plethora of mystical powers… powered by the UFO. A MUCH deadlier threat than DNA altering arms dealers… wouldn’t you say? That still leaves much room for “Creative Interpretation” while staying in the mythology! 3) All the Actors did a wonderful job acting!!! Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley all did wonderful jobs acting respectively; They each sold their roles! Even with the character changes to “The Mandarin” Ben Kingsley sold his role! As a villain he was terrifyingly powerful, and as a drug-rattled out-of-work actor he was immensely funny. It is my opinion though, that if you needed comic-relief, you should’ve hired an animated talking-parrot or singing/dancing tea-cup!

    In closing let me say… The whole thing WASN’T horrible! I rate it a 2 1/2 stars, out of 5. You might be able to get 3 stars from me, it was action-packed!!! But if you were looking for a connection to Arms-Dealing and Terrorism there were much better characters in the Marvel Universe to choose from. “The Bengal” for instance has a wonderful back-story that would’ve lent itself to your interpretation well. “A Martial Arts Master who was a child during the Vietnam war.” Seriously, he battled through guerrilla camps to become a Martial Arts Master before he set sights on coming to America for revenge. The whole thing reeked of being overly PC. The Original character of “The Mandarin”, I’m sure, wasn’t intended to be a “racist, stereotype of a Fu Manchu villain”, he was an incredibly strong storyline set regionally in China. Stay true to their customs, traditions and histories and you would have never failed!!! That is my Opinion. A PC disaster! And that’s the worst… that you’ve taken the storyline of “The Mandarin” away from movie-goers for MANY years to come! You can’t take that back! He would’ve been a worthy adversary to Thor, The Hulk, Captain America and ALL the Avengers… not to mention X-men, Spiderman and The Fantastic Four! You can’t take that back! What’s next, “Intro: Mephisto, he’s from Arizona.” Seriously, I understand what you were going for, a techie reality-based military classic for Iron Man to power through like he does in many of his missions in the comic books; But at what cost! :(. (good attempt) Sorry if you don’t agree.

    You’ve been Panned!
    (looking forward to The Infinity Gauntlet) ;)

    • Well said my friend, you took what I ( and I’m sure many others ) am feeling and put it into just the perfect context.

  15. I wonder why they didn’t just stick to the original plot in the comic, one of the best plots in Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., hands down, and it was completely butchered. Mandarin was a proper and formidable villain, with the perfect showdown fight at the end. We ended up with a bare shadow of the story, with a pathetically weak and completely out of character set of villains with completely untold origins, entirely flat. Why? it completely makes the entire plot fall flat on its face if there isn’t a believable and fleshed out villain.

  16. I love how the movie was different than the comic. If it was same as the comics then we’ll pretty much know the story so I loved how they changed it. BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!!

    • dude it sucked! ;q

  17. Lets face it, IM2 & IM3 sucked! they totaly screwed up the mandarin n iron man 3.
    He turned out to be a joke and worse of all they replaced him with aldrich killian the who was supposed to be an extremis dude.
    they didnt even had the 10 rings. it sucked!!! XO) :Y ^-^ still better than IM2 ;F