Based on its box office success, it doesn't seem like there were many people who missed out on watching Iron Man 3 in theaters earlier this year, but even those who didn't get around to see it have probably heard about the controversial portrayal of classic Marvel supervillain the Mandarin. Love it or hate it, the plot twist regarding the Mandarin's identity has kept people talking ever since and likely will continue to for some time.
Even Marvel, it seems, is interested in keeping this particular conversation going. Ben Kingsley, the actor behind the supposed Mandarin and his slightly less impressive counterpart Trevor Slattery, revealed last month that he was working on a secret Marvel project with many of the crew members who were involved with Iron Man 3.
Shortly thereafter Latino Review claimed insider knowledge of the plot of what was assumed to be another Marvel One-Shot, saying that it featured the real Mandarin being furious with Aldrich Killian and Trevor Slattery, "for the mockery they made of the real Mandarin’s identity and legacy," and setting the record straight with a kind of ret-con of the Marvel movie universe's Mandarin. That sounds more like the wishful thinking of a disgruntled comic book fan than anything else, and currently remains unconfirmed, but Kingsley has now given a firm indication that the secret project is a Marvel One-Shot, and will most likely be a DVD extra.
Speaking in an interview with Vanity Fair, Kingsley responded to the speculated plot of the short simply by saying, "I can’t confirm that. No, I can't." On the matter of exactly what the project is and when we might get to see it, however, he was able to give a little more detail:
"I think it may be seen as . . . sometimes [Marvel] tacks on a short film to one of their other releases, maybe on a DVD or something. I haven’t heard anything at all about this. So it’s in progress. It will have to remain under wraps. Marvel was so brilliant in the way they kept the transition from the Mandarin to Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3. They were absolutely brilliant at it. I so respect the way they dearly want to surprise their audiences. But we will just have to leave it in the realm of rumor."
A DVD/Blu-ray extra for Thor: The Dark World or Captain America: The Winter Soldier, perhaps? The Marvel One-Shots, which have previously included gems like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer and the Peggy Carter short Agent Carter, are always fun to watch and there will likely be a lot of interest in this Iron Man 3-inspired entry.
Also responding to LR's report of the plot for the One-Shot, Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce took to Twitter to dismiss any ideas that it will be an act of self-flagellation to soothe the tempers of fans who didn't like Iron Man 3's plot twist. Keeping it short and simple (the way Twitter likes it), Pearce said:
"One thing I know for sure: nobody’s going to be apologizing for the Mandarin twist any time soon."
Of course, there are undoubtedly ways in which the One-Shot could introduce the "real" Mandarin without seeming to apologize for the way he was portrayed in Iron Man 3, and it should also be noted that Pearce isn't writing the One-Shot himself (that duty falls, once again, to Eric Pearson). There are many interesting avenues that could be explored from the perspective of Kingsley's character, so hopefully this short is going to be something special.
Tell us in the comments if you think having such a plot with another, more legitimate, Mandarin would undermine the story of Iron Man 3 or, of course, if you think Iron Man 3 deserves to be undermined.