‘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. Well gosh darn..I guess we should’ve made those aliens in Avengers more like ET so we could see how they challenge the heroes with conventional villainy….

    I can’t wait for all these phase 2 and 3 movies. I’m sure I’ll love them and cheer with everyone else. However, the nerd in ME wants to see some damn magic rings on the Mandarin. I’m sure I’ll keep bitching about it until I see the movie, and when the movie is over, I’ll tell everyone how freaking awesome it was, except that it’s too bad the Mandarin didn’t have his magic rings… :-)

    I don’t expect the movie to be identical in every way to the comics, but taking the 10 rings away from the Mandarin is like making Thor just a strong alien with no hammer. The 10 rings DEFINE the Mandarin. They’re as much a part of him as his name.

    (PS> we know how he’s going to take on Stark…he’s going to use the extremis virus in human test-subjects and a s***-load of helicopters and missles.)

    • I’m just presenting to you the “why” of why some people aren’t against this presentation of the Mandarin. I don’t see a need to be all shltty about it, “Well gosh darn….*insert snarky response here*.”

      The rings are there. They’re just presented differently. The actual heart of the mandarin character in the comics is more philosophical than physical: the rings are iconic, absolutely, but they are not the core of Mandarin.

      Personally I would’ve liked the rings to have powers, I would’ve liked to had a scene where Mandarin tells his story to a crippled Stark and there’s a flashback where he finds the crashed Makluan ship and he takes the rings. That’s what I wanted…that doesn’t mean there’s zero validity to doing it differently.

      People like to think in binary terms (or maybe some don’t LIKE it, they just can’t do it differently than that): “I wanted the rings to have powers, since they don’t that means this approach is automatically bad,” but it’s much better to see the shades of gray in life: “Even though it’s not exactly how I wanted it, I can see the merits of what they’re doing.”

      • “Even though it’s not exactly how I wanted it, I can see the merits of what they’re doing.” I’m pretty sure that’s pretty much what I said in my post and you said I’m missing the point…

      • Ken, there’s no need for personal attacks here (ie. bitchy, snot, snarky, sh1tty.)

        You yourself just said “Personally I would’ve liked the rings to have powers, I would’ve liked to had a scene where Mandarin tells his story to a crippled Stark and there’s a flashback where he finds the crashed Makluan ship and he takes the rings.”

        That’s no different than what we said. We even agreed we’d probably love the movie either way. You shouldn’t need personal attacks to get your point across. Sorry if my sarcasm rubbed you the wrong way. (Seems like I have a habit of doing that.)

        • When someone’s flipping some attitude my way, it’s not a personal attack to point out that I noticed. If you want to get real stickler about it, I could argue that being unnecessarily rude is itself a personal attack, but instead I say “hey that’s not really called for is it?”

        • Exactly what Gary said.

          • I’m glad we all agree the rings aren’t what really the core of the character. I’m sorry I took the defense of BLack’s approach when you were trying to say “the movie will work either way.” I’m so used to people griping about it that when they back off a little in the second half of their post, I don’t notice as much as I did when they were going after it in the first half. The “well I still will love the movie” part gets lost in the “OMG This one thing though…”

            • I DON’T agree that the rings aren’t core to the character… I think they are. I think you take away the power of the rings and he’s interchangeable with any other terrorist. BUT that being said, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the movie, I’d rather him have cool power rings that’s all.

            • Movie’s a fail.
              Incorporating politics killed excitement. People are in it for the CGI action. The marvel universe is already magical;Tesseract cube. Sticking to magical rings is just sounded common sense. Get Jon Favreau back, shane black just think too much, living in his own world,

              failing to create a product that’s what the audience wants.

              Those over heating goons in the movie are more like filler episodes for iron man. Its a waste of time and cash.

              kudos to the guy that remarked “rings aren’t what really the core of the character. “

              • The rings may not be the whole character, but they seem important. I mean who the hell cares about the Mandarin without the rings? I don’t wanna hear about depth of character, this is the same guy who attacked earth with “hate rays” that one time. I mean, are we really still at a stage where we think that these characters can be too silly? Are we worried about realism in a world which already has rainbow bridges, cosmic cubes, green rage monsters, and WWII heroes surviving seventy year ice naps? I mean, there’s about to be a talking raccoon in this and this guy is all “oh, magic rings are too unrealistic.” That just sounds stupid.

                • and boom goes the dynamite. one of my boys said the same thing “realism justifies the removal of his rings.”. Hello (herm Edwards voice) this is a freaking comic book movie. if you want realism go see fast and furious 7…

        • I see your point with finding the Makluan ship with the 10 rings
          but then you will have audiences wanting to see Fin Fang Foom. That would open a pandora’s box for the studio and regular audiences would laugh at the idea of Stark fighting a dragon and a man with magic rings. Yes it would challenge the character, but honestly dragons are for a character like Iron Fist.

          For me I always had the thought that the 10 rings would represent something like 10 clans/organizations that the Mandarin has control of. He has a different sort of power, like an unseen hand controlling different parts of the hero’s life. Its the kind of control that cant be bought or manufactured, which is why Tony is so scared and cant sleep. He knows the Mandarin is out there. He knew about the Ten Rings but didnt really care about it, till Rhodey tells them about his weapons still being used by the 10 rings.

  2. OK..I have heard everyones take on The Mandarin ! Now if they wanted to make ” Superhero ” movies real than by all means make them real which means have Tony Stark bleed have to go and get stitches, mri, etc etc..this is fantasy entertainment what i read about in my comic book ! I want to see on screen no ” bright ideas ” about making The Mandarin into a regular terrorist using helicopters and guns ! seriously guys ! This is IRONMAN we are talking about here ! STOP TRYING TO TAKE THE FUN ACTION ADVENTURE OUT OF WHAT COMICS ARE AND LEAVE THE CONTENT OF THE COMICS ALONE ! The rings should have had power ! and i guess we will never see FIN FANG FOOM ! if the intent was to make it more real than they should have made another WATCHMEN !

  3. They wasted The Mandarin character on a bright idea ! When did you ever see Mandarin with daggers in his hands! Cmon ! seriously..daggers ! but since they want to make Ironman real as can be ..than where are commercial planes when Ironman is flying around causing havoc..

  4. I 100% agree with Tony. You know, i can live with the fact that they chose to to take such liberties revealing that Tony is IM, and putting Rhodey in the Iron Patriot suit. BUT WHAT IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE is the fact that Mandarin wont be using the rings. Keep it “natural”……. GTFOHB Ok so you’ve got Tony controlling IM with his mind but ‘Multi powered rings is too far?’ GTFOHB

    • actually, mind controlled machinery isn’t that far off. Scientists have been able to monitor brain waves, and how they affect things around them for some time now. You can even get toys that causes a fan to turn on and off based on thought alone. (its a tube..you put a head piece on, and think the fan on, and it causes a ball to rise on the air power of the fan).

    • Ben Kingsley will make the role of the Mandarin memorable and sensational. I mean have you guys seen this guy act? He is one of the best ever and with the way comic books change stories and origins all the time, it only makes sense that the same would happen in the movies. Plus who knows, maybe the rings will gain power by the end of the movie, for example a post credits scene. My point is really this, comics have no universally accepted interpretations, so why should the movies? Creative license, showing us characters we love, but through a different perspective, keep an open mind you might just enjoy yourself.

      • I just think that Avengers had Tony Stark fighting aliens and totally opened up the idea that the Mandarin could use alien technology for weapons. However, that would go against the first movie. If the Ten Rings already had alien tech, then why would they want to Tony Stark to build them missiles.

        • but Iron Man 3 is somewhat connected to Avengers 1…so?:)

  5. whats the point of having the Mandarin without powers it sucks you might as well not have bothered if you’re not going to do it right don’t ruin it with a half assed attempt

  6. The Infinity Gauntlet without the gems, Superman without heat vision, The Hulk not being green, Bruce Lee without the thumb to the nose flick, Ali without the shuffle, Godzilla without the Thermal blast, Tarzan without his yell, Batman without his utility belt and lastly, Captain America doesn’t need his shield t be Capt America. Riiiiiight!

    So, we can have aliens in hovercrafts shooting energy weapons, two “gods” fighting, a Cosmic Cube…but um, the rings with powers aren’t realistic enough? Riiiiggght!

    Funny where these guys draw the line in the sand on crap and how they justify it.

  7. why do these dumb directors keep insisting that they make the comic films more realistic they’re comic films they’re not supossed to be real thats the point it’s an escape from reality stop screwing them up if we want reality we’ll switch on the news we go to the movies to be entertained to loose our selves in a world of imagination we have grown up with the comics for generations we like them the way they are so directors if you are going to attempt to make films from them keep it like the comic or don’t bother we don’t want to see your so called interpretation we like the comics as they are so do it right or leave it alone.

  8. If you don’t like the story, let someone else make the movie. It wasn’t broke, stop trying to fix it.

  9. I voted No! This is NOT The Mandarin! because it’s true, this isn’t the Mandarin. This is coming from a guy with vague memory of the Iron Man cartoon on Fox Kids whilst growing up. I wanted Mandarin in Iron Man 1, but no, then Iron Man 2, but no, but finally we get him and he doesn’t even have green skin, isn’t Asian, or have magic rings. WTF! But they’re investing their budget for the Iron Patriot costume instead? Why? And I’m shocked you guys just go along for the ride. When are people gonna learn to stop and says it’s time to draw the line between what’s right and wrong.

    BTW still hyped for the movie!

    • …but then again, going back to my original comment, maybe the reason Mandarin doesn’t have any magical rings is to probably avoid any links or confusion with The Green Lantern. Setting aside any comic-book fans and focusing on average moviegoers, they’d probably accuse the movie of obnoxious plagiarism. Plus, Mandarin wears some green clothing, so they’d probably avoid any links with The Green Lantern Corps.

      Hey it may sound stupid but it’s my honest humble opinion.

  10. You guys are really too much….. You are buying Shane Black’s vague line of no “magic rings.” What is wrong with you people, they are making an “Iron Man” movies idiots!!!!!!!!!! Of course Iron Man will have to confront the Mandarin and his rings. I can’t believe some of you.

    • after you see the film i hope you understand why.

    • Are you surprised now that you’ve seen it?

  11. This was a clumsy and weak decision. The marvel cinematic universe ALREADY opened up to the ideas of aliens and “gods”, in The Avengers. No need to backpedal and try to make the Iron Man series as “naturalistic” as the Dark Knight. The rings wouldn’t have been out of tone. Granted, Iron Man 3 still looks amazing, but they kind of chickened out and played it safe with The Mandarin. If you hate the rings so much, just use another bad guy.

  12. This is why I hated the last batman movie but even worst. You don’t humanize batman we love him cause he is this normal man who has every reason to fall yet not only stands but beats the sh*t out of these super powered villians. That seem impossible to touch yet he dose it easily. There is a difference between changing a personality and changeing a character completely. This is why the fans of book series hate the movies. Hell the avengers movie even set up the perfect conditions for the mandarin to get his rings. Remember he just manipulated alien technology to creat his rings. Iron man is apart of the marvel verse that will have thor, hulk, ms marvel, wasp.


  14. The movie wasnt bad but the marvel comic book fans will be very frustrated. When i was leaving the theatre the majority of the people that watched it were negative about it. They completely ridiculed the iconic figure that is Mandarin. That was enough for me to dislike the movie unfortunately. It reminds me the episode of South Park with the raoing of indiana jones, thats how i feel.

  15. I have read all your comments and even though I really like Ben Kingsley as he is a great actor…However, the potential for a blockbuster fighting nemesis and finally a great arch enemy was right there for the taking and I am sad to see Mr. Black has decided to take a different approach to the villians. Mickey Rourke is a GREAT actor, but was he really Ironman’s nemesis? dont think so. In fact, Whiplash was never a main character. Remember Fantastic 4 and the director’s approach to “galactus” as a storm rather than a super powered alien/god? it destroyed the movie. Contrary to this on the Avengers Loki had all kind of super powers and Thanos is a great villian with great powers who will make a great fight. So, the Mandarin without super power, deadly martial arts, alien rings and his chinese ego? I am going to see the movie because I love ironman and I love Stan lee and I am sure I will have fun, but is this movie going to rival the avengers results, nahhh. Ironman needs an alter ego with great powers enough to challenge him, an anti-hero. Anyways, sad to learn the reality of the rings, but excited to see the movie.

    • Iron Man has an alter ego. It is Tony Stark.

  16. Movie’s a fail.
    Incorporating politics killed excitement. People are in it for the CGI action. The marvel universe is already magical;Tesseract cube. Sticking to magical rings is just sounded common sense. Get Jon Favreau back, shane black just think too much, living in his own world,

    failing to create a product that’s what the audience wants.

    Those over heating goons in the movie are more like filler episodes for iron man. Its a waste of time and cash.

    kudos to the guy that remarked “rings aren’t what really the core of the character. “

  17. The fact that the mandarin doesn’t have the rings is what sucks for the movie or that the fake mandarin ben kinglsy isn’t him either and that they have some guy who don’t know play the mandarin this movie sucks and I am not going to see it you can keep the patriot suite

  18. The fact that the mandarin doesn’t have the rings is what stinks for the movie or that the fake mandarin ben kinglsy isn’t him either and that they have some guy who don’t know play the mandarin this movie stinks and I am not going to see it you can keep the patriot suite

  19. i have watched the movie.i don’t really follow marvel comics,just know a little bit about it.so, i don’t know that mandarin has rings or the real characteristics of mandarin at first..but even that i think the movie was not as good as Iron Man or Iron Man 2.i don’t like how the fight between Iron Man and the villain in this movie and the ending too..but it is still enjoyable but not as enjoyable as previous movie..

  20. whose decision was it to make a separate film just for china. If the mandarin is chinese, why can’t americans see him go to china to face him? would that offend someone? And why wasn’t the mandarin’s full potential used? The tv show Heroes already covered the threat of an exploding man over a full season. With all the special effects at filmmaker’s disposal, couldn’t the mandarin’s rings be used? This smacks of censorship and political correctness gone afoul!. I am deeply offended that marvel assumes I am racist because a character originates from some part of the globe. I suppose the black panther won’t be from Africa either. Will americans ever get to see this special chinese version made for whoknowswhy?,

  21. I saw Iron Man 3 and without spoiling it all I’ll say is they better have a very creative explanation for the way they portrayed the Mandarin.

    • They don’t.

  22. Hollywood detroys another very good potential comic movie. getting tired of this. why make them realistic all the time???!!!!!!!! comics are extreme exaggerations of characters. its fantasy. its imagination. the movies ruin it time and time again.

  23. Just saw the movie> I was expecting maybe the GREATEST movie EVER! instead I left the theater bored and disgusted. That was NOT The Mandarin…it was a JOKE! Glowing bad guys were BORING. Iron Mans suits falling apart…etc HORRIBLE MOVIE

    • Nailed it! Great comment. I agree 100%. But to add to it, surprised I’ve not seen mention of how horrible the story was. Just in general. Lets say they changed the names so Comic fans had nothing to make a comparison to. The story was contradictory. The main bad guy, Alrich, NEEDED Tony’s help or he would NEVER figure out how to make Extremis work properly… so he tries to blow him to bits & the dudes in the Helicopters believed they succeeded when they watched & didn’t see him fly out of the water. Then later they let you in on the fact that they NEEDED Tony. As if you’re so dumb you wouldn’t even remember that they thought he was dead for half of the movie. Guess what… a lot of people didn’t even realize this. So they’re right, a lot of you are very dumb. Sorry dumb folks, but you’re dumb. Sorry I had to let you in on it, but your doctor apparently failed to tell you. The diagnosis is positive: you in fact are dumb.

  24. After watching the movie today seeing what they did to “the mandarin”, I was sad/dissapointed. How could they do that to The most powerful villain of Iron Man in the comics?

  25. ‘Creative Interpretation’ ha s become a codeword for “I know better than the fanbois that expect me to follow a s#!%%$ comic book.” Such double-talk: the “Mandarin Won’t Have Magic Rings” because there is no Mandarin. And having the bland glo-worm villain with muddy/nonexistent motivation at the end saying “I *am* the Mandarin” doesn’t make him so.

    And I agree with the stupidity of all this “realism” hype (which is more along the lines of is more like “my implausible hyperrealism is better than your geeky fantasy”). How are ten energy shooting rings, or super-strength martial arts any more fantastic than a plasma-breathing International Male model with “magic” DNA, or being able to survive the shrapnel of missile blasts without the armor?

    Not to mention that the “Pulp Fiction”-ness of shooting people dead and cracking jokes felt too sociopathic for an Iron Man film… heck for any Marvel movie.

    Very disappointed. I hope the other films doesn’t follow suite.

  26. Lame!! Do out like the comic or don’t do it at all!

  27. They didn’t HAVE to do it exactly like in the comics, but did they REALLY need to do it like they did? I enjoyed the movie; however, it could have been SOOO much better.

  28. If your upset over the ten rings, better not go see the movie, cause thats not all they did to the Mandarin.

  29. If you love Iron Man mythology from the comic books, you will be disappointed. Mandarin was a gimmick to sell tickets. The character wasn’t even necessary and the theme of who is the REAL villain has been done before. Mandarin was Iron Man’s “Joker”, so to speak, and was cheaply portrayed in the film. Other than that, Robert Downey was excellent and nicely portrayed Tony Stark post Avengers film. Had Mandarin been cut from the film, comic enthusiasts like myself would have thought it perfect. As it was, it was good, but in my opinion the worst of the three films.

    • You guys are all missing the point. The Mandarin character simply continues Hollywood’s looooooong history of emasculating and disempowering the Asian man. RINGS WITH NO POWER symbolizes ‘impotence’. Two versions of the same movie? Wtf? Is this a first? That’s how serious the brainwashing is… they wont pass up the opportunity to disempower the Asian man in America. Go back and watch Wolverine, The Dark Knight (Asian man butler…Wtf? Tall & handsome one too). The brainwashing and anti-Asian sentiment perpetuates. Watch ‘The Slanted Screen’ documentary and you’ll understand.

      • I’m willing to bet you didn’t see this movie Asian Dude. You’re argument seems more based on previous speculation than on what people are arguing about after seeing what the Mandarin became.