The Marvel Cinematic Universe gets so much right, but they aren’t perfect and one area where fans have long expressed could use some work is the villains. And even among a small army of forgettable criminals, perhaps the biggest blunder was the handling of The Mandarin in ‘Iron Man 3’.
To be fair, the comic book Mandarin started off as a dated and offensive Asian mastermind stereotype, so it’s not surprising that the filmmakers decided to alter him heavily. But in that film, it turned out that he wasn’t The Mandarin at all, but an actor named Trevor Slattery, played by Ben Kingsley. Then, in the Marvel One-Shot “All Hail the King,” after going to prison, Slattery received a threatening message from the real Mandarin, so at least readers became aware that there was a film version of the character that more closely resembled the comic book villain.
But ‘Iron Man 3’ was a long time ago– did you SEE Harley Keener in ‘Endgame’?– and a lot has happened since then. I mean… you-know-who is dead! And it would be safe to assume that The Mandarin subplot was equally deceased, but as it turns out, there are plans to revisit the not-yet-seen character.
During a Reddit AMAA, a fan asked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige if The Mandarin would return and Feige responded with a simple “yes.”
Though Feige wouldn’t elaborate, other Reddit users continued the conversation and RUMOR has it, The Mandarin and the Ten Rings will resurface in ‘Shang-Chi’. I suppose it makes sense to pit an Asian hero against an Asian villain, especially if the film is set in… y’know Asia. But it’s also a little predictable. However, both The Mandarin and Shang-Chi’s comic adversary Fu-Manchu are cut from the same racial stereotype cloth of a conniving Asian crime lord, so the movies don’t really need two of those. At least this is… efficient stereotyping.
Are you glad that the REAL Mandarin might surface in a future Marvel movie?