Among some of the more controversial moments of the MCU’s thirteen year run, the introduction of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 is one that many have an issue with. While the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings will introduce the real Mandarin to the franchise, the character’s first appearance was in 2013’s Iron Man 3. Played by Ben Kingsley, the character started the movie as a terrorist character, plotting against the United States, but by the end he had been exposed as an actor called Trevor, who had been employed by Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian to act as the Mandarin.
After almost a decade, Marvel and boss Kevin Feige still receive a number of complaints about how the character was used and dumped in the way it was, but Feige has no issue with how the story was executed. While there was much debate over how the Mandarin could be used without becoming just another stereotypical Asian bad guy, to Feige, the way director, Shane Black, pulled the rug on expectations was one that he stands by.
“We’ve been talking about that when we do bring this character to the screen, [we] only wanted to do it when we felt we could do it supreme justice and really showcase the complexity of this character, which frankly we couldn’t do in an Iron Man movie because an Iron Man movie is about Iron Man; an Iron Man movie is about Tony Stark. So [Iron Man 3 director] Shane Black, in his film and his script that he co-wrote, came up with this fun twist that we love to this day, and it turned out to be Trevor Slattery. Just because that version wasn’t real didn’t mean there’s not a leader of the Ten Rings organization, and that is who we meet for the first time in Shang-Chi.”
“That’s what’s fun about the MCU at this stage,” Feige continued. “We can do something like Shang-Chi, introducing a brand new hero into the MCU and into the world at large. But that subtitle, The Legend of the Ten Rings, actually connects it back to the very beginning of the MCU, the Ten Rings being the organization that kidnapped Tony Stark at the very beginning of the first Iron Man. And that organization was inspired by a character called the Mandarin in the comics.”
The opinion was mirrored by Iron Man 3 co-writer, Drew Pearce who told Inverse in a previous interview, “I couldn’t be more excited. I was always super clear with [Marvel Studios President] Kevin [Feige] that Killian co-ops an ancient mantle and exploits it. All hail the king backed that up, and it also was an excuse to hang with Trevor a bit longer. My approach to the Mandarin was inspired by the reason why I couldn’t use the original,” he added. “It’s very much a yellow peril stereotype with a particularly unsavory edge of propaganda used in this era. But that inspired the idea of what kind of propaganda is used [now]? The concept of demonization of the other, capital ‘O,’ we really flipped that concept.”
Whatever the continued issues with the Mandarin’s first MCU appearance, perhaps the arrival of the real Mandarin in Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings will help put those remaining complaints to bed. This news comes to us courtesy of Comicbook.