The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had plenty of divisive moments over its decade plus history.
One of the biggest moments is the Mandarin reveal in Iron Man 3. The Mandarin, a super genius and accomplished martial artist who created and wears 10 rings of power which he draws his abilities from, is the archnemesis of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and leader of the terrorist group, which is named for his rings.
In Iron Man 3, it is revealed the Mandarin is played by an actor named Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) and is a front for Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). He stole the name Mandarin in order to misdirect from his own criminal activities and hired Slattery. For some? This pissed them off. Big. Time. For others? They thought it was a good twist.
Marvel ended up backpedaling. In the Marvel One Shot, “All Hail The King”, it’s revealed that there is a real Mandarin, who told Slattery that he was pissed by a Ten Rings operative who broke Slattery out of prison.
Many fans were waiting for the Mandarin to appear in the MCU. He finally will in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings as the antagonist to the titular hero (Simu Liu). Tony Leung (In the Mood for Love) will play the character in the film.
Talking with CinemaBlend, Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce talked about the real Mandarin debuting in the MCU.
“There are modern interpretations of The Mandarin that I think can work in the context of, particularly of a Marvel movie that has a much more grounded basis in Asian culture and has, frankly, Asian filmmakers and other Asian actors in its ensemble, and driving the story. In our Iron Man movie, as you and everyone else knows, it was my feeling that if we did The Mandarin in many of the forms that he is most commonly known as, we were playing into the racial stereotypes that generated the character in the beginning. Yellow peril, you know. … That idea was what inspired our take on the Mandarin.”
That’s fair reasoning all things considered. The Shang-Chi movie makes the most sense for the Mandarin to be used in a respectful way than the time of his creation. This doesn’t mean that Iron Man 3‘s fake Mandarin won’t be acknowledged or used, according to Pearce.
“I’ve also spoken to some of my friends at Marvel and of course I don’t know exactly what happens, but there’s a strong sense that everything will be revealed and nothing is being retconned. And that, at the end of the day, is all we can ask for. That, and the fact that, you know, they clearly think it’s going to be — he’s going to be the best adversary. And I trust in Marvel. In Marvel, we trust.”
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released on February 12, 2021.
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