Drew Pearce Explains The Real Story Behind The Mandarin in ‘Iron Man 3′

8 months ago by  

2008′s Iron Man kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe and as Marvel Studios’ most bankable individual character, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) already has a trilogy of solo films, the latest of which sits as the fifth highest grossing film of all-time. For fans of the Iron Man comics, it was hoped that by the end of the trilogy (and previous end to RDJ’s contract with the studio) moviegoers would meet the hero’s archenemy from the comics known as The Mandarin.

The marketing campaign for Iron Man 3 seemingly promised as much, using imagery and voiceovers of Ben Kingsley suited up as The Mandarin, to tease the epic confrontation that had roots dating back to the first time Tony Stark was captured by the Ten Rings organization and built his first mechanized armored suit. But nothing was as it seemed and the twists and turns in the plot of Iron Man 3 made it Marvel’s most divisive film yet.

***

 Warning: We’re assuming if you read ahead that you’ve seen Iron Man 3. Spoilers abound.

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As it turns out, Ben Kingsley isn’t really playing the Mandarin. He’s playing a drug-addicted British actor named Trevor Slattery who was pretending to play the terrorist figure on behalf of Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Killian reveals that he’s the Mandarin, but what he actually reveals is that he’s behind the Mandarin – not actually the Mandarin himself.

iron man 3 poster ben kingsley Drew Pearce Explains The Real Story Behind The Mandarin in Iron Man 3

So, when chatting with Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce – who brings Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery back for the All Hail The King Marvel One-Shot short film coming with Thor: The Dark World on Blu-ray - on the phone last week, I had to ask him about how that whole idea came about – since there was quite a bit of outcry from diehard fans about how The Mandarin (who wasn’t really The Mandarin) was portrayed in Iron Man 3.

So my question is, when you came aboard Iron Man 3 with [writer and director Shane Black] did you know how the Mandarin story was going to play out and what input did you have on that?

Shane and I basically came up with it in his gigantic mansion in LA where we sat for ten hours a day for three months hammering out what we actually wanted the movie to be thematically, and we quickly latched on to the idea for Tony of false faces and the idea of the dual personality of Tony as an out superhero who is basically using his self-definition through the false face of Iron Man. We wanted something that would reflect that, not as an exact mirror but thematically in the bad guy characters. And at one time I came back from the bathroom and said, “Shane, what if the Mandarin is an actor?” and it escalated from there. Now, I did not come back from the bathroom and pitch an alcoholic, British lovie with a pair of hookers in his bed and an incredibly detailed history in local British theater but that is weirdly what it turned out to be. (laughs)

On whether or not reaction to Iron Man 3 dictated the return of Slattery or another change in the character or the “Mandarin” identity:

I actually just felt like it was in the lineage of the information we already dolled out in the movies. In the first movie there was the Ten Rings and in the second movie there was a deleted scene where the rings appear again, and in the third movie we were quite clear in the movie and in the press that there was a mantel that had been co-opted by Killian – partly because if we hadn’t said that it would have completely invalidated a huge part of the first movie which is Raza works for The Ten Rings. So for me I was just joining dots to be honest and using that to give the short some drama and some form of momentum. I didn’t want the short to feel like just a skit. I felt like it had to earn its place in the MCU so that was really the driving force behind it.

The Aldrich Killian/Trevor Slattery act was never the real Mandarin nor was it meant to seem that way. Instead of Iron Man 3 being about the actual Ten Rings organization and their mysterious leader, it was about the Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) think tank and their calculated plan to use that Mandarin identity as a distraction. There really still was (and still is) a Ten Rings organization out there. So, why the Marvel One-Shot about Slattery now?

The idea for a short based around Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery character wasn’t conceived as a result of the mixed reaction to the film – although according to Pearce it did have an impact on some of the dialogue – but rather, upon first seeing Kingsley play the character. During meetings about future One-Shots, Joss Whedon (current overseer of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) said that if they can get Kingsley interested in doing a short for Marvel Studios then that is definitely the direction to go in. More details soon.

Maybe there is a real Mandarin out there and maybe, if Iron Man 4 happens one day – and we know Marvel very much wants that to be the case – then we can see Stark face off against him.

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More: Our Full Drew Pearce Interview!

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All Hail The King releases with Thor: The Dark World on 3D Combo Pack (3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, Digital Copy), Single-Disc Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand February 25, 2014.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 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!

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT: iron man 3, iron man 4, thor 2

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  1. Dumb dumb dumb. Stop trying to explain why you ruined one of the most iconic villains in the Marvel Universe. You could have made the movie the way die hard fans wanted but you’re too dumb to admit it. Dumbie

    • Agreed….and prepare your inbox Drew Pearce. Thank you for falling on the sword.

    • Most iconic villains in the Marvel Universe? Seriously?

      • Yes, and if you were a fan of the Marvel universe and not another bandwagon movie fan, then you would likely know that, rather than just being doubtful because you haven’t heard about him much via “Entertainment Tonight”.

        • Not sure I would label Mandarin as one of the most iconic villains in Marvel. I definately like Mandarin a lot and know his importance with Iron Man but there are, IMO, just way too many other iconic Marvel Villains to call him one of the most…

          Doc Ock
          Kingpin
          Dark Phoenix
          Venom (old school)
          Doctor Doom
          Magneto
          Thanos
          Apocalypse
          Galactus
          Green Goblin
          Red Skull
          Loki
          Ultron
          Juggernaut
          Mystique

    • @MarvelLover I admire your passion and agree with you one hundred percent. They used AIM but didnt give us the iconic AIM yellow suits or MODOK. They used Mandarin but made him out to be a joke. I guess movie producers feel that the only villain Tony Stark/Iron Man can fight are disgruntled genius inventors.

      • MODOK and Mandarin are BOTH disgruntled engineers/scientists as depicted in the comics.

      • kind of seems like marvel is trying to nolanize their characters. Funny, people were saying that DC should not “copy” marvel when it came to introducing their characters in standalone movies, yet it appears that marvel has “copied” DC in the Nolanization of marvel characters. If this is the case, and I think it is, marvel sure did it in a subtle way.

    • before you call someone a “dumbie” …. learn how to spell … DUMMY

      2nd – The Mandarian is NOT one of Marvel’s most iconic villains – not even close
      how to determine some or most of Marvel’s top villains – use the following criteria:
      – were the part of the original Secret Wars in the 1980s?
      – have they had toys made of the characters – BEFORE the marvel movies or even before the 1990s?
      ie. any characters with toys prior to the 1990s — heroes or villains .. THOSE are your iconic Marvel &/ or DC characters –
      the original Mego action figures – look them up

      – very most important — is the general public (non-comic book readers) vaguely or potentially familiar with the character?
      were they featured in any of the original Marvel cartoons back in the 1970s & 80s (or even early 90s) ?

      and as far as the comic books go — has the character been part of one or multiple of the hero’s most well known & popular story lines

      • The word iconic is thrown around a bit freely these days. Kind of like epic…..

    • I loved the mandarin twist. It was the only good thing about the movie. The rest of the movie sucked, but the twist was genious!

  2. They could’ve always just gave the character a different name and avoided this whole thing in the first place, I’m all for innovating with characters.

  3. So this guy, coming out of the bathroom had this bright idea? What is it an epiphany toilet?

    • What’s a mansion without a roof toilet?

  4. The only thing I believe is my own assumption, and I bet a few of you believe it right along with me, that once they came up with the fake Mandarin idea, there was never any intent to make a “real” Mandarin, and anything they do now is just being made up as they go along since they realize but will never admit that they are kind of deer in the headlights now that they saw their idea imploded. The best (and still it will not really be forgiven for IM#3 by some) thing they can do now to try and awkwardly recover the fumble is make a IM movie with the “real” Mandarin, flying about with rings (magic, science, alien-tech..who cares, just do it) zapping and having a big gundown against IM.

    • Yup. Pretty much. They can’t pull the wool over my eyes. They even had Guy Pearce as Killian say “I am the Madarin!” (Oooh, except he didn’t really mean it, it was just a joke etc… Bo**ocks)

  5. Iron Man 4: Rise of the Mandarin (No, seriously, we mean it this time)

  6. It makes sense. AIM was hiding behind the image of Ten Rings and the Mandarin. We know Ten Rings in IM3 was just a hijacked facade, so why wouldn’t it be the same for the Mandarin?

    That would be like saying Loki’s impression of Captain America in Thor 2 ruins the first Captain America movie.

    • It actually doesn’t make sense. Then why wouldn’t the real Mandarin and Ten Rings say anything?
      I guess it’s just like the question, where was SHIELD and the rest of the Avengers when Tony “supposedly” died?
      Poor writing and not connected to the rest of the Marvel universe.

      • Yeah, terrorist are always in a rush to make sure they aren’t blamed for terrorist activities.

        “Don’t worry America, we are not the ones attacking you!” Last I checked, there was no such thing as bad publicity for terrorists.

        You are also judging a movie based on the absence future writing. That’s like getting pissed off at the beginning of IM1 and turning it off all like “WTF, Tony can’t become Iron Man if he’s stuck in a freaking cave! Terrible writing.”

        I think I’ll wait until phase 2 is actually done before I start judge the plot holes of unwritten content.

        • Actually, quite a few of us based our disappointment about this movie on the piss-poor movie ITSELF. The “twist” was not well done, BUT it was a relatively minor mistake (and no, no amount of backtracking will erase the mess this movie ended up being). The movie had no real antagonist (including AIM, which was, as presented in the movie, more of a “side” threat…an incidental concern based wholly around the Killian character)…among QUITE a few other weaknesses. The movie was crap; that analysis/presumption/opinion needs NO assumption of future writing to exist…the very movie being viewed gave MORE than enough “evidence”.

          • I mean, that’s not the point I’m arguing. I’m talking about the impact of the movie on the larger MCU. I would agree that the Mandarin twist is only a “minor mistake,” though.

            Keep in mind, this is a movie that set box office records and got almost 80% on rotten tomatoes.

            I’m not saying that makes it a 4 or 5 star movie, I just don’t think it’s reasonable for people to act like it’s a 1 star movie or claim it somehow “ruined” anything about the Avengers.

            Also, when you make a point in your movie to show that Trevor is not in fact the real Mandarin, it is therefore NOT backtracking to create a new Mandarin later.

          • While I agree with you, I still think they should do the Mandarin right. This movie’s twist was STUPID AND UNWELCOME. They only did it because they wanted to be politically correct, whatever the f that means. To me, there was no Mandarin in that film, and I welcome any attempt to do it right again. Its good that you guys are holding the writers accountable, but I still think the Mandarin is too good of a villain to let go this way, and that’s coming from a guy who isn’t familiar with the comics.
            The idea that the Mandarin does exist and allowed a bunch of pretenders to bastardize his image really complements his character, I think. It means he’s secretive, mysterious, and cautious. If they reintroduce him, I hope they turn his terror up to 11 and don’t hold back on it. He is a mystical terrorist after all.

            • +1. Bingo.

            • I agree…I DO want to see a great, well-done villain going up against Tony. The twist in IM3 mattered very little to me (admittedly, while it did not “violate” my comic book sensibilities, it also did not impress me in the slightest)…MY only actual issue with it is that it was just among MANY problems I had with the movie. I actually found IM2 to be (slightly…marginally) better…sadly. Its ONLY saving grace (imo, of course) was RDJ’s superb acting (I thoroughly enjoy a number of the other actors in the movie…in OTHER movies). The “backtrack” does not matter one whit in the grand scheme of things. If they they can salvage something out of the mess I found IM3 to be, more power to them…I simply do not wish the apologists for the movie to suddenly USE that backtracking to justify their love of the movie and its “brilliant” (er, dumb) components.

              After all, how will they learn…? ;)

              • I don’t think it’s backtracking though. Drew Pierce said he’s “not about about to apologize for the Mandarin twist.”

                Backtracking would be rewriting what happened, not adding context. They are releasing additional story, not rewriting Iron Man 3.

                • bingo

                • What they’re DOING may not be backtracking; what they are SAYING certainly is, I think. Ultimately, it won’t matter, but I would rather not have the “Cool, man! It’s the best film ever! See how we were right, dude?” crowd continue trying to justify what I consider to be a bad movie with what I consider to be (at best) specious reasoning.

                  If…IF they manage to “fix” the storyline, I will still feel as happy as you.

                  • Yeah, I definitely had my issues with it, so I don’t think it’s the best movie ever by a long stretch, I’m just calling it like it is.

          • ACTUALLY, the movie was very well received [$1.5 billion]. this is the mandarin of the MCU, you still have the mandarin of the comics. those still exist. in THIS universe, he was an actor. it’s really simple. the comics are DIFFERENT than the movies, except for the comics that tie DIRECTLY to the MCU, i.e. “Fury’s big week”. your OPINION that the movie is crap is shared by some, but not all. you never have to watch it again. given your almost obsessive hatred of it, i’m sure you won’t.

            • But he WASN’T the Mandarin. That was the point. He was pretending to be the Mandarin.

              The Mandarin wasn’t BEING and actor, and actor was ACTING like the Mandarin.

              The Mandarin is not in Iron Man 3. An actor pretending to be The Mandarin is in Iron Man 3. That is the literal plot involving that character. The “twist” is that it is not in fact the Mandarin.

              It’s a plot point, by the way, stolen from hundreds of comic books that do the exact same twist.

        • Yes, 1. I do believe a terrorist organization would say something. Or else the full power of the Armed Forces of America, Great Britain, and Australia would invade whatever country they are in and run them down. They wouldn’t want that kind of heat coming down on them unless they could come down on an enemy all at once.
          And 2. I shouldn’t have to watch a series of films to fill in gigantic crater sized plot holes. Where the hell was SHIELD? They were right on Tony’s @$$ in IM. Rhodey and Stark had a throwdown in IM2 and they were there right away. Stark’s dead? oh, well. Where were the rest of the Avengers? He was telling Banner about what happened at the end, why didn’t he ask for the Hulk’s help?

          • 1- That is exactly what terrorists want.

            2- Wait, why does SHIELD matter? I thought you didn’t want to watch other movies to clarify plot holes? Shield wasn’t in this movie. Do you or do you not want the story for other films to be relevant?

          • Although I am not positive that the “real” Mandarin would speak up, there are plenty of megalomaniacal villains who would most certainly. If someone pretended to be Dr.Doom, for example, I would definitely think he would be interjecting and stating so. That’s the thing about megalomaniacs; they are extremely vain.

        • @5aucy
          I’m sorry but what? You tried to make a parallel between watching the beginning of one movie, and the entirety of phase 2 MCU? 30 minutes compared to 5 movies?
          The fact that Pearce released an article explaining the mandarin, and All Hail The King short movie explaining the mandarin, pretty much means Marvel admits its failure. If a movie needs a short film, and an article by the co-writer, to explain what the movie couldn’t do on its own, I’m gonna say thats a bad movie. That’s not to mention plot holes “the absence of future writing” can’t fix.

          You need future writing to explain why Jarvis can control all the suits by himself at the end, yet can’t use one of them to stop the helicopters shooting missiles at the Stark Mansion?
          Future writing to explain why Tony told the mandarin his address, yet needed news cameras to warn him of incoming missles?
          Future writing for the reason why THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WAS CAPTURED and only Tony stark accompanied by rhodey without suits can save him?

          The idea alone sounds bonkers. “Seriously guys, this movie may have had plot holes, but don’t judge until another movie is released to explain this movie, and even after that, watch another 3 movies that may explain plot holes in those two movies.”

          • I’m comparing a portion of a story to a portion of a story.

            I’m also not saying there aren’t plot holes, but if you’re that picky, then I doubt you’ve read any comic book, ever, so I’m confused as to why you even have an opinion.

            • So because I’m picky about your particular post, I must not have read a comic ever and therefore should forfeit my opinion?

              Or is it because I’m picky about massive plot holes in a movie that I must not have read a comic and therefore forfeit my opinions?

              Why don’t you just save all posts about plot holes in marvel movies for every 3/4 years when you have seen that particular phase and have given yourself ample time to critic that phases plot holes. Until then, I’m confused as to why you even have an opinion.

              • I’m saying the movies have less plot holes than just about any comic.

                Anyway, I’m not here to argue about plot holes. Im not even saying they don’t exist. My point was about the Mandarin and I’ve said everything I have to say about that and this. If you have any note arguments I’ll go ahead and concede them because it’s not worth my time.

  7. Just bring back Raza and have him take up the name of the Mandarin.

    • Not a bad idea. Faran Tahir is a good actor. It would be kind of funny if he survived his encounter with Stane, only to come back and borrow the fake identity that was developed by another white industrialist trying to exploit the Ten Rings, Killian.

      It would probably seem less out of left field than if a totally new face appeared and called himself The Mandarin, especially after they spent a movie presenting him as being a fake identity.

      Marvel would probably rather have an actor with more star power for their main villain, however.

      • So Obadiah decided not to gun down the leader of the insurgents he had gunned down? Yeah Raza’s dead and I doubt he’s coming back.

        • Raza was wearing a ring. Perhaps it was able to save him.

  8. The assumption most conceive upon the vast library of comic book films is that it will be over-the-top. Of course, there are indeed some that disprove such theory (Blade, X2: X-Men United, The Dark Knight), but there are some in which moderate both aspects to astound the likes of both the newly introduced and the loyal fanatics. Marvel’s Phase 1 proved such theory correct (discounting Iron Man 2), but all went downhill when they have tried to overpower the comic book lore with pathetic adultery comedy as the Avengers and all Marvel films after have arose. The Avengers has achieved mediocrity at best; the one reason why this movie is praised by both the critic, popular, and fanatic audience is in due to attaining the title as the FIRST Superhero Team-Up in cinema history. Iron Man 3 has induced the fanatic audience into such theory (but some still are fooled) while the general public gazes into wonder and calls every Marvel film fantastic despite how horrendous it has become (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World).

    I am not saying that Marvel will become a failure post-Avengers, but what I am implying is that this cinematic franchise is heading downhill and I am hoping that Marvel redeems such atrocity after the hypocrisy Joss Whedon and Shane Black has implemented onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the general public.

    • “hypocrisy Joss Whedon and Shane Black has implemented onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the general public.”

      uhhh, what? I will agree with you, Post-Avengers movies haven’t had the same, hmmm…”gravity”. With that said, Iron Man films have always been more of a comedy. Its not like Shane Black said, “Instead of making a brooding Iron Man 3 movie, lets make it a comedy!” Oh course they would, its always been a comedy more than anything else. There is no way I am buying what Drew Pearce said, I think they are lucky and didn’t write themselves into a corner with the whole Mandarin fiasco. It was clear that Kevin Feige let Shane Black And RDJ run a-mock in IM3 and which resulted in this strange comedy that featured flying metal suits, with a very thin storyline. Was it entertaining though? Yes, very much so.

      And you can’t blame Joss for Avengers. Something like that was completely untested before they tried and succeeded. It appears that Joss has more freedom with the direction of the MCU and Avengers 2 for him to really dive into the marvel comicbook lore. I mean come on, we’re getting Scarlet Witch, Quick Silver, Vision, Ultron and Ant-Man after that. He cares. So lets ease it on the term, “atrocity” when bringing up Joss’s name.

      • “Post-Avengers movies haven’t had the same, hmmm…’gravity’.”

        I meant movies based on that of a comic book series, not in general.

    • Im with you on Alto of things but the avengers was a great movie. It has its few glitches here and there but your definitely being way to hard On the movie. As far as iron man 3, I dont think ive been that disappointed in a comic book since amazing Spiderman

  9. I’m surprised they got Ben Kinsley to agree to play such a ridiculous role.

    • Dude was in BloodRayne.

      • ….well, ANYONE with a halfway decent resume.

    • He went to the Nicolas cage school of not-allowing-yourself-to-be-in-good-roles-anymore some time ago.

      • the guy is a veteran actor with an oscar or two i think, even played a part in oscar bait films so I guess he feels he has earned the right to play whatever silly role they offer him.

        • I saw an interview with Sir Ben Kingsley a few years ago where he said he started in children’s theatre and so doesn’t mind hamming it up for kids. Eg: “Thunderbirds”, “Prince of Persia”, “Ender’s Game” etc… It really doesn’t affect all his great performances.

          I know Michael Caine was similar in that he used to never turn a role down, which meant he’s been in some stinkers like “JAWS: The Revenge”. Doesn’t mean he’s not a great actor with some iconic films under his belt.

          Nic Cage has kinda been doing the same thing of late, but really getting ribbed for it. Gotta pay those tax bills somehow.

    • Maybe he needed cash on hand for a new Jaguar (maybe Hiddleston did too?).

  10. I’m someone who was quite a bit disappointed with IM3 but as long as they have a villain that seems like a credible threat in IM4, someone who can give us an exciting battle with our armored hero, then I don’t care if it’s the Mandarin or any other villain.

    As it is, the most exciting battle I think he’s had so far has been with Stane in IM1. I thought it was pretty lackluster when I first saw it…but compared to the sequels its downright riveting.

    • The biggest villain/credible thread to IM4 is RDJ’s paycheck. Seriously, it will be a negotiating war the likes Loki himself doesnt even want to touch with a ten foot pole.

  11. Marvel needs to stop with this nonsense Drew Pearce said on twitter a few months back,

    “One thing I know for sure nobody’s going to be apologizing for the Mandarin twist any time soon”

    Now all of sudden its clear Marvel realized their mistake and are trying to change it, also I thought Killian was the Mandarin?? Or is that a load of crap as well.

    • show me a apology? cause i don’t see one

      • Im confused by your tactics. If you are referring to the quote by Pearce, of course you don’t see an apology, Pearce said no is going to be apologizing anytime soon.

        If you are referring to the “now all of a sudden marvel realized their mistake…..”
        An article and a short film have been released to semi-undo the twist, Killian clearly says “No more false faces. You said you wanted the Mandarin, you’re looking right at him. It was always me, Tony, right from the start. I am the Mandarin!”
        yet after intense fan disapproval, you get an article saying “wellll he really wasn’t, and the mandarin could still be out there” and a short film saying “yeah, real mandarin is kinda upset with fake mandarin so he’s gonna need to see you now.”

        that’s alot of effort put forth for a twist no one is “apologizing” for.

        • some people view the Mandarin story arc as only IM3 and the One Shot and now they need to fix something, some people see it as a ongoing story since IM1 and continuing into a bigger plan.

          Marvel has been planning the outline of the stories in advance for years, so i tend to give them the benefit of the doubt because they are well orchestrated, Favreau wanted to use him in IM1 but wasn’t allowed, then for IM2 but was denied again, from what i remember in the comics they don’t blow their load in one issue, every movie in the universe has been a stepping stone to a over all big battle (Thanos), could be Avengers 2 or 3 or IM4 who knows, but my guess would be Avengers 3

          • Well, the ten rings are present in all 3 iron man movies, so the building blocks there are pretty obvious. I know marvel likes their movies planned out 4 years ahead of time, but they aren’t writing the movies, just planning out what movies and when they come. I mean the article clearly says Pearce and Black spent “10 hours a day for 3 months” , that’s 840 hours supposedly spent trying to connect im3 to the previous two, and this is what we got. Given RDJ is still only signed for Avengers 2 & 3, that ending was made as a wrap up to the trilogy, not open ended for an im4.

  12. But if it is not RDJ in Iron Man 4 facing off against a real Mandarin then it just shouldn’t happen at all. It has to be THIS incarnation (RDJ) of Tony Stark that has the final show down meeting with the Mandarin or it just will not feel the same! IMO, of course!

    • If they don’t nerf the Madanrin’s powers and make him a fullblown, invicible technology wizard, why not have him face off against ALL of the Avengers?

      • with his ten rings, the Mandarin is tough enough to warrant a showdown with every avenger at once. I mean his character could’ve played a part in phase 2, because he’s powers come from alien technology. They could’ve writen an origin in the film for him that ties into GOTG and Thanos.

  13. “That’s an ugly tie. Um. But it looks good on you!”

    I hope he’s not just trying to talk his way out of what he actually intended when he wrote it. Personally, I loved the Mandarin twist, and really liked IM3. I’m fine with it. That said, they could (fairly) easily weave a story to reveal the comic book Mandarin, and I’d be fine with that too. But just be honest about it. Don’t dance around on all the fanboy eggshells.

  14. I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation as to why the Mandarin was actually “ruined.”

    Why can’t Trevor become the Mandarin?

    Why can’t the Mandarin exist in the shadows and Trevor was just pretending to be him?

    Why can’t someone else don the mantle of the Mandarin to capitalize on the reputation created through the AIM personification?

    You know what would have “ruined” the Mandarin? Actually having the actual Mandarin in the movie and killing him off in a lame way. Having a FAKE mandarin in no way ruins the ACTUAL Mandarin’s existence.

    • The oneshot makes it explicitly clear that there is a real mandarin out there and a real ten rings organisation.

      • Exactly.

      • +1

        It was pretty clear in the movie (though there are plenty of us that don’t want to see it) that Killian is a crackpot that thought himself the Mandarin even though AIM chose to use the ‘existing’ Mandarin persona as a way to drive up business.
        Imagine the fury he will unleash when he does finally take center stage!

    • Everything in written in this article makes sense but one can’t help but feel that it contradicts everything in Ironman 3. Guy Pearce points out that he was the Mandarin before he died, IF a “real mandarin existed why the heck didn’t he try to muscle in on aim’s schemes. Yeah maybe real terrorists could care less, but in this MCU it makes no sense for a high profile villain to let some one else use their name as decoy. Plus someone donning the mantle of that title just to make use of the reputation made by others does not add up with the Mandarins character.

      • because of the interpretation from this universe the Mandarin has been in the background since Iron Man1 even Obidiah was wearing a ring…even in the One Shot Trevor is wearing a ring

        • I will have to see IM 1 again to see the ring on Stane, but still I was only pointing out how odd it is for them to point out the possibility for a another Mandarin if only in a short film. IM3 makes it seem that Guy Pearce was the real Mandarin all this time, and left little chance to their being another villian behind the curtains. They set the Mandarin up as the main villian in the 3rd film only to have the audience fooled into thinking it was Ben Kingsley, if they do another film where another Mandarin pops up it will just seem like a silly rehash, as if the writers are just pulling random twists out of now where.

          • but if you look at the overall trilogy you see that something or someone is pulling the strings without them telling you.

            IM1 – a branch of Ten Rings is introduced – Raza has a ring and talks about getting Starks weapons to rule the world like Ghengis or Alxeander

            IM2 – Hammer has a ring and is trying to accomplish the same thing as Raza

            IM3 – Killian and Trevor have rings and trying to accomplish the same thing as Raza

            someone is a puppet master

        • Wait, so the only criteria for being the Mandarin, or connected to the Mandarin, is appearing in an Iron Man movie and wearing any old ring at all?

          Looks down at his wedding band: “Dear God, I am the Mandarin…”

    • it is a bunch of people butthurt that are complaining….all of a sudden the Mandarin has become the BIGGEST villian in Marvel history.

      • Dude, thank you for existing.

        • Its clear every superhero has an archenemy that counters them.
          batman/joker
          spiderman/goblin
          FF/Dr.Doom
          Capt. America/Red Skull
          iron man/mandarin

          mandarin isn’t the biggest villian in marvel history, just the biggest in iron mans history. Its like a sports argument about MVP’s, are the results the same if that player is on a different team. Now apply that.

          if joker at the end of the dark knight is caught with hookers, and says he’s not real, it was just carmin falconi who had play the role.

          red skull and captain America are fighting on the plane, and red skull rips his face admits his love for soccer and says he’s innocent, Hitler made him do it.

          • i liked Doom vs. Iron man more but we will never get that…your are thinking to simple or i am looking too much into it, but “The Mandarin” whoever he is hasn’t shown up yet, and good chance Red Skull could show up again…nothing has been tied off.

            I never found Iron Mans villians that good in the first place, the characters movie success is showing it’s weakness with villians.

            • As much as die-hard fans of Iron Man might not want to admit this, Iron Man was not a popular solo character sales-wise and even if the Mandarin is his Joker or Green Goblin comic book fans overall may not have a strong opinion on the character one way or another. Casual fans (who clearly make up a lot of the ticket buyers for Iron Man films) probably could not differentiate the character from a bad-guy from a 70′s kung-fu movie, so what they did in Iron Man 3 upset less people then those who actually even knew it was a departure from the comic book version.

              As for the villains in the Marvel films overall, I have noticed that they are running through most of the ones with significant name recognition and most of the them have been one and done for one reason or another. And as popular as some characters might be with faithful comic book readers, when they start scraping the barrel to fill screen time they need to come up with some more compelling villains then what they have been doing in the Phase 2 films.

            • Yeah, I don’t think you read the comment, maybe you saw someone posted a reply to you you didn’t like so you activated defense mode.
              It’s pretty simple, apply the iron man 3 twist treatment to other comic movies, and then think about how you may have hypothetically reacted to those movies.
              I didn’t really believe red skull or the joker were fake.
              Quite honestly, the average movie goer probably didn’t read many iron man comics. So the average movie goer didn’t leave iron man 3 thinking “oh the real manadrin didn’t show up at all, he must still be out there.” The average movie goer probably thought “oooh, the manadrin was really the blonde guy iron man fought at the end, who yelled out loud I am the Mandarin”

              • They did that in Batman Begins. They killed off Ra’s without any fanfare in the beginning. Turns out, he was a stand in. Then they killed the actual Ra’s, but nobody cared? How is the Mandarin somehow more holy than Ra’s al Ghul?

          • Mandarin is an average villain at best. He’s an outdated and racist caricature that doesn’t adapt well overtime or translate to the movies in a time of globalized cinematography. Comicvine has him listed as the #30 Marvel villain right next to Kraven the Hunter… and I don’t hear anyone clambering for him to show up in any movies. Iron Man was a B- list superhero at best before the movie and has a brutally awful rogue’s gallery. Stop acting like now all the sudden the Mandarin means much to anybody, because nobody was complaining when the Ultimate version of the Mandarin was an ENTIRE COMPANY.

            • Clamoring** sorry, auto-correct.

  15. What a load of bull. Stand by your decision (even if it is a bad one), now you’re backtracking? This is what happens when you get rid of decent directors and writers and replace them with guys obsessed with 80′s buddy cop movies.

  16. The 10 Rings should always have a ‘Mandarin.’ In IM1 it was the bald dude, in IM3 its was Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce. If an Iron Man 4 were to be made (doubtful) the 10 Rings organization will need a new, better Mandarin to lead them. The Mandarin should be a title, not so much a specific character.
    That’s how I would write it.

    • in IM2 it was Justin Hammer…that is the story they have been going with but nobody wants to admit it

  17. Plus it had nothing to do with not using a Chinese villain when there was a significant amount of Chinese investment in the movie did it?

    • Exactly. Question is why use the Mandarin at all in that case? There are plenty of villains to choose from… My guess is they wanted to use the Mandarin without using the Mandarin.

  18. I read a great fan story of how iron man should have faced the mandarin. basically its IM fighting the mandarin and when IM almost beats him, mandarin mind controls the hulk and whips up on IM. then tony regroups and gets the hulk buster, fights hulk and finally beats mandarin. I wish I had a link.

  19. Wanting to move in a different direction with the Mandarin, and even changing his look from the classic look is one thing. But to actually wipe your butt with the arch nemesis of Iron Man from the comics was just childish. Shane Black should be barred from adapting anything from here on out. He is out of his mind.

  20. One thing is certain, the Mandarin plot in IM3 did come out of the bathroom. Just a piece of hard turd that almost everyone hated. But my guess is that this guy is going to make us hate this marvel one-shot as much as we did his ridiculous plot. I guess the writer was and still is constipated.

    • Almost everyone hated? Or almost “everyone” on the internet comment boards? Iron Man 3 sure made a lot of money despite a plot that, as you say, “everyone” hated.

      This Mandarin thing is so old. And I didn’t even like Iron Man 3 that much. Geez.

  21. Marvel can’t do right by some people, I guess. I thought the Mandarin thing was silly but it doesn’t bother me in the slighest that they may be backtracking. The only ones that were pissed were the fans so they’re servicing them with that one-shot. At least they’re trying to make you happy when they didn’t have to considering Iron Man 3 came in second last year at the domestic box office.

    So they messed up the main villain of what in comics is still a second or third tier superhero. Big deal. People like to go, “What if this happened to the Joker?!” Well, the Joker is way more iconic than the Mandarin so get over it. They botched it for a small percentage of the box office contributors and are trying to fix it despite not having to and fan(atic)s still complain.

    • I hear ya, but in the movies Iron Man’s a 1st Tier superhero as far as Box Office and Downey’s paycheck suggest. So I think it makes sense for them to try to give him a big memorable villain, which he just hasn’t quite had yet so Mandy twist is disappointing for that reason.

      If you’re going to give Tony a true MCU nemesis it makes sense to do it with his main villain from the comics, but if not, then they should do it with some character….and Killian just wasn’t the answer. Perhaps if he’d been played by a different actor; I find Guy Pearce to be pretty vanilla, personally.

      Since Iron Man is pretty much the MCU’s most popular character with general audiences they really ought to give him his own Loki. Someone who is a really interesting foil and who can potentially stick around the MCU for a bit. Tony deserves a character like that.

      • Well said. I think at this point it is going to have to be IM4 with Mandarin plus a smaller tier villain to keep it interesting. Grey Gargoyle would be cool! Turning everthing to stone! Or Radioactive man…

    • It may not have happened to the Joker, but it happened to Ra’s Al Ghull. Nolan turned him into a Chinese dude who worked as a human shield for some white guy and got killed off-screen 10 minutes into the first movie. I guess Mandarin is “iconic” enough for nerds to be defense of, but not Ra’s?

  22. The simple reason they did not do the mandarin because they did not want to piss off asian people and rightly so the mandarin character is a pastiche of old period of time. There isn’t a need for him to exist at all.

  23. They could easily salvage this debacle. All they have to do for IM4 is have the REAL Mandarin come out of hiding, angry at someone using his name and organization. Because GotG will introduce us to a whole new Alien-filled side of the MCU, we can now safely apply it to the original Big 3 (Cap, IM and Thor). Because magic is showing up all over the place, it seems only natural Tony would try to find a way to scientifically counter it. After, “your ancestors called it magic, you call it science. well i come from a place where they’re on in the same.” Thor has already stated their is a scientific background to his and the other realm’s magical properties. It’ll just take Tony, and maybe even Hank Pym, to find out how to counter it. That would then allow the real Ten Rings to appear and Tony would have to test his new theories against real magic. Just a thought…

  24. Now for those that read the comics and know about the real Mandarin this explanation at least for me doesn’t make any sense what so ever.
    AIM is a powerful entity in the MU but even they wouldn’t want to cross the Mandarin as he would retaliate very hard and fast.

    When I found out that they would use Extremis for this movie I honestly hoped they would follow the actual comic story as that to me had much more impact then this.
    The Extremis storyline was a neat package a standalone story of 6 issues and a great Warren Ellis story so why do they feel the need to butcher that what is already close to perfect. A story that is considered to be in the top 5 of all time Iron Man stories.

    They should have made 2 movies, 1 dealing with the true Mandarin and 1 dealing with Extremis not this collection of drivel that Robert Downey, Guy Pierce & Ben Kingsley couldn’t save despite them being very very talented people.

  25. I really liked IM3 and hope for IM4…Having said that though, I don’t want IM4 to have Mandarin in it. I feel that because the “idea” of him was used so much in IM3 that it would make for a “reused” or boring villain in IM4. It wont feel new or fresh. I would rather see Mandarin in a team up movie like Hulk and Iron Man versus Mandarin or featured as a villain in an Avengers movie. Unless, however, they throw in a couple of other new Iron Man villains to go along with Mandarin in IM4 like Grey Gargoyle, Blizzard, or Radioactive Man.

  26. Why doesn’t everyone want to be mad? We all agree what they did in Iron Man 3 was less than desirable. It really was. Know what the great thing is? They easily wrote themselves out of this bad situation, and people are still mad about it. Why? They are doing exactly what you wanted them to do, give you the real Mandarin and now they can. I completely agree they are back tracking on their original plan for the character but WHO CARES?!

    The one-shot kinda enhances Iron Man 3 for the most part. It is a twist no one saw coming, and leaves the door open for the real thing. Leaves you wondering, who the hell is the real one then? And many fanboys will say,”WHY DIDN’T they put that in the movie then?!” Because you want every shoved right in your face at once? Plant seeds, let them grow or eventually fade away if conditions aren’t right. Do you read comics? They retcon stuff all the time in comics, not saying its the best but they do. Get over it. Stop with bleeding heart nonsense.

    • FAIL…. Why DOES everyone want to be mad?****

  27. Funny how these Marvel writers/producers always want to give interviews when their blurays and dvds are UNDERPERFORMING or their shows are dropping in the ratings. Both IM3 and Thor2 are way below expectations for Blurays/Dvds. Check the #s.
    “You can only fool me once” or ” Wont get fooled again” George Bush JR

  28. I just re-watched Iron Man 3 for the first time, and I think that it’s a terrific film. The bit with the Mandarin was easily one of the most daring things Marvel Studios has pulled off so far, and to me it makes sense. Well-written, well-acted. I understand the disappointment of not seeing the “real” Mandarin…but for me, IM3 is a good film. Good film trumps all else. I applaud the creative choices that they made, unpopular though that approval may be.

    Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four films, to draw a rough parallel, disappointed me. But worse was that those were not very good as films in general. IM3, on the other hand, is a good film. I also don’t care about the changes made to Rogue in X1-X3, because I found the character believable, and the films to be high-quality.

  29. Lol. The fact that people still have to try to explain the reason “the twist” shows it was a bad idea.