The "real" Mandarin may be on his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after a tease by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. One of the biggest and earliest surprises that the MCU delivered was the twist involving the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. The marketing for the film sold Ben Kingsley as the main villain, who's a major Iron Man foe from the comics. But, when the Shane Black-directed movie hit theaters, fans were shocked to learn that Kingsley wasn't actually playing the Mandarin, but rather a character named Trevor Slattery, an in-universe actor hired by Aldrich Killian to act the part on camera.
This twist divided audiences, and it wasn't long after that Marvel released the All Hail the King One-Shot to show that there was more to this story. While Kingsley didn't play the real Mandarin, the short confirmed that a true version of the villain did exist in the MCU and broke Slattery out of prison so they could meet. Fans have been waiting to see this tease paid off in some way, and for the real Mandarin to take his place as the leader of the Ten Rings, the organization that was featured in Iron Man and Ant-Man.
During an Ask Me (Almost) Anything on Reddit, Kevin Feige answered a question regarding the possibility of the "real" Mandarin or the Ten Rings being featured in future MCU projects. While this would seem to be the type of question that he wouldn't answer, Feige actually confirmed that there are plans to do just that. He didn't specify whether his "Yes" was directed at the Ten Rings, the real Mandarin, or both, but since the two are tied together, it appears that the Mandarin may just make his MCU debut before too long.
The possibility of the Mandarin joining the MCU in the future is an exciting one if done correctly, such as by avoiding the stereotypical portrayal he's received in the comics before. While some will undoubtedly be disappointed that the major Iron Man foe will not actually get the chance to square off against Tony Stark on the big screen as once teased, that could actually free Marvel Studios up to be more creative and inventive with the MCU's version of the Mandarin.
The Mandarin is an exciting possible villain for Phase 4 and beyond, as his power set includes martial arts training and special rings that make him a formidable opponent. If the MCU wanted to give his rings more of a mystical history, Mandarin could be a villain that Doctor Strange encounters moving forward. But, there's also an opportunity for him to be featured in Shang-Chi too, possibly even with a surprising change for his character. However and whenever Marvel Studios does decide to finally bring the real Mandarin into the MCU, it will hopefully be worth the wait.
Source: Kevin Feige/Reddit
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