Shang-Chi’s villain Mandarin is actually one of Iron Man’s biggest nemesis and the name came to the fore in the 2013 sequel in a flashback.
We all remember Guy Pearce’s Mandarin and the body double played by Sir Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3. Now, the iconic ‘megalomaniac mad scientist with a moral compass’ supervillain is returning to the MCU in Marvel’s first Asian-led film Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings.
Heads Up! Below you shall find
- The Mandarin connection of Iron Man
- The Screenwriter who has plans for Mandarin
- Shang-Chi and Mandarin in Comic Books
- Iron Man return to Marvel Cinematic Universe
Mandarin wasn’t a big part of the bigger MCU plan, says Drew Pearce who wrote the screenplay of Iron Man 3 and is now working on Shang-Chi. But the return of the supervillain has fans excited.
Mandarin wasn’t a big part of the bigger MCU plan, says Drew Pearce who wrote the screenplay of Iron Man 3 and is now working on Shang-Chi.
Similarly, no one foresee Iron Man dying away from the MCU in Avengers: Endgame. That happened and since then fans have been urging Marvel to bring RDJ aka Iron Man back to the fold. Numerous theories have emerged on the Iron Man’s return to Marvel – in Spider-Man’s next, in the Mighty Thor, and She-Hulk to name a few. So, here’s another one.
Mandarin’s return to the MCU
Drew Pearce who wrote Mandarin’s non-Asian character in Iron Man 3 and is working on the Asian Mandarin in Shang-Chi is thrilled to get a second chance at the supervillain. Recently, Pearce told Inverse, “I’d be lying if I said I knew there was a grand plan, and I would be surprised if there had been a plan.”
Unable to hide his excitement, Pearce said, “I was always super clear with [Marvel Studios President] Kevin [Feige] that Killian co-ops an ancient mantle and exploits it.”
In the 2013 Iron Man 3, fans were taken to a surprise ride when Mandarin, the Indochinese terrorist and leader of an ancient cult called the “Ten Rings” came to the screen as Ben Kingsley. However, the plot kept space for the actual Mandarin when Kingsley’s character turned out to be a pretender.
Short film All Hail the King coincidentally directed by Drew Pearce revealed that there was a real Mandarin in MCU.
In addition, a short film All Hail the King, coincidentally directed by Pearce revealed that there was a real Mandarin and he was pissed when Kingsley-played character made a mockery out of the supervillain’s legacy in MCU.
Real Mandarin’s entry with Shang-Chi is well-timed
In 2013, Marvel did not command the same warmth among the Chinese audience as it does in 2019. That reason forced Marvel to not portray the comic book version which was aligned with the 19th century ‘yellow peril’ stereotypes.
Pearce explained this, “It’s very much a yellow peril stereotype with a particularly unsavoury 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”.
It would have been ill-witted to portray a Mandarin of Chinese origin opposite a Western white male Iron Man.
However, while it would have been ill-witted to portray a Mandarin of Chinese origin opposite a Western white male Iron Man, it makes complete sense to introduce the Real Mandarin in Shang-Chi.
Iron Man’s return in connection to Mandarin’s flashback in Shang-Chi
The 2013 version of Mandarin took its cue from the 2012 miniseries Ultimate Comics: Iron Man which reimagined an organization called “Mandarin International”. In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the real Mandarin played by Tony Leung will come to the fore as the leader of the international crime syndicate.
Leung’s character is set to be a multinational technocrat based on a comic book version that’s “incredibly interesting and doable —a really attractive one”, as per Pearce. Furthermore, the announcement of The Mandarin as the centrepiece villain in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 has opened up space to connect the 2013 Iron Man movie and Pearce’s short film All Hail the King.
In the short film, a TV reporter interviewing the incarcerated Trevor Killian is actually a Ten Rings organization member who is out there to reclaim the Mandarin name. With that, Marvel confirmed that a real Mandarin had existed all along. So now after a decade, Shang-Chi could take its cue for The Mandarin’s character definition and flashback story from the Iron Man 3 and All Hail the King storyline.
The Storyline for Shang-Chi and Mandarin
In comic book cannons, exclusively an Iron Man nemesis, Mandarin rarely faces-off against Shang-Chi in whose comics the main antagonist is his father Fu Manchu. However, in a rare storyline, Shang-Chi and Mandarin do cross paths in the House of M comics series.
In comic books, Shang-Chi and Mandarin cross paths in the House of M series. So that storyline looks likely.
In the cannon, Shang-Chi & gang encounter The Mandarin’s mummified remains still wearing the ten rings. With Mandarin, Marvel has an ocean of opportunity to create a cult following for another supervillain who is coincidentally also one of the oldest comic book villains introduced by the great Stan Lee and Don Heck in Tales of Suspense #50.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is being directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. While Tony Leung plays the antagonist The Mandarin, Simu Liu will be the protagonist Shang-Chi. Part of the MCU Phase 4, Marvel’s first all Asian film will hit the theatres on the 12th of February, 2021.