This game of will they or won’t they feature Iron Man’s archnemesis, The Mandarin, in the hero’s next big screen outing has been going on for some time now. Fuel was added to the fire when Sir Ben Kingsley was added to the cast as an unnamed villain, but Marvel denied up and down that some version of The Master of the Ten Rings would be played by the veteran actor in ‘Iron Man 3’. But the latest word from Wilmington, North Carolina is that Mandarin will in fact be featured in Shane Black’s armored Avenger outing.
According to Comic Book Movie, Latino Review is reporting that Kingsley will indeed play the role of The Mandarin, but he won’t be the main antagonist of the film. That distinction will go to Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, who invents “Extremis” and forms an army of super-powered individuals using the technology. Likely to be included in that nanotech army will be Coldblood and Firepower, played by James Badge Dale and Ashley Hamilton respectively, but that’s not confirmed just yet. The report goes on to say that Mandarin will be more of a silent backer to Killian and his Extremis army, who will be doing most of the dirty work.
I’m going to treat this as a rumor for now, even though I desperately want it to be true. However, Latino Review did break the news that Loki would be in ‘The Avengers’ despite Marvel flat out denying that again and again. Maybe they’ll be two for two with this rumor. And if it is true, and Mandarin doesn’t really take the spotlight in ‘Iron Man 3’, that’ll open things up to a bigger role for the villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe later on down the line, whether it be in another Iron Man movie or another Avengers movie.