Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will bring back one of the most loved and much-awaited villain Mandarin in its Phase 4.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was not among the most anticipated movies of Phase 4 but when Marvel President Kevin Feige confirmed that indeed the real Mandarin would be arriving as the villain, the excitement went off the charts. Not only will the movie be the first MCU offering to have an entirely Asian cast, but it will also reveal one of Marvel’s most cherished villains.
The real Mandarin is making his way in the MCU in Marvel Phase 4 debuting with Shang-Chi and The Legend Of The Ten Rings. Hong Kong actor Tony Leung is taking up the mantle of The Mandarin, a villain who could prove more fatal than Thanos or Loki. Leung’s casting is impressive for many reasons starting with the omission of Fu Manchu as the villain of the story. Next, a heavyweight name from the Hong Kong cinema, Leung’s Mandarin has to be a long term addition to the MCU beyond Shang-Chi. Per director Dustin Cretton, “Tony is such an incredible actor and I’m excited to have him help us break some of those stereotypes because that villain could easily become a punchline.”
Marvel has already shown us glimpses of Mandarin’s presence earlier. Mandarin, leader of the Ten Rings, is Iron Man’s arch-enemy, which is why we see such connections in the Iron-Man movies. However, before Tony Leung, Sir Ben Kingsley’s initial casting of The Mandarin in MCU was a waste of his talent. So, let’s go back to the beginning and check the real Mandarin from the fake one…
Iron Man (2008-13)
Remember when Tony was taken captive by a terrorist organization? They were the Ten Rings as per Yinsen (Tony’s friend in the cave). It was a subtle hint for us that MCU will bring in Mandarin in the future.
In Iron Man 2 (2010) before Ivan Vanko tries to kill Tony at the Monaco Grand Prix, we see him meeting an unknown guy who gives him his passport and ticket to the event. While this was a very vague hint, it is one all the same. The credits of the movie show us that the guy is a “10 rings gangster”.
It is in Iron Man 3 (2013) that we see Mandarin, although in a very unusual way. The movie shows Mandarin to be nothing but an actor named Trevor Slattery, who was hired by Aldrich Killian. While fans disheartened at this not-very-nice way of MCU revealing Mandarin’s presence, what Marvel did next white-washed it. After the release of the film, Marvel released its One-Shot Clip “All Hail the King.” Here, Trevor Slattery arrives at his prison. Here he meets Jackson Norris, a documentary filmmaker who is, in reality, a Ten Rings member. Trevor’s use of Mandarin’s name was not at all liked by Mandarin, and he wants to see Trevor about it.
Watch: Marvel One-Shot Clip “All Hail the King”
In this deleted scene from Ant-Man, with Darren Cross explaining the Yellow-jacket to his parties, we see one of the buyers with a Ten Rings tattoo on his neck. This was the last MCU reference to the Ten Rings and the Mandarin.
Watch: Ant-Man Deleted Scene Showing the Ten Rings’ Presence
The Mandarin in Shang-Chi
In the comics, Mandarin was a criminal-turned-fugitive after China’s communist revolution. While escaping, he stumbles upon an alien spacecraft and steals ten artifacts of power. He fashioned these artifacts into rings that he wore on his fingers. Using their power, he dominated an entire area. He also created his piece of land called “Mandarin City.”
Whereas, according to the “All Hail the King” One-Shot, Mandarin seems to be an immortal Being or a title that has been passed down, since the Middle Ages. Moreover, the second option brings in another idea from the Marvel comics again. In the comics, the Atlas Foundation is a pervasive secret society known all around the world. It regards itself in terms of the Moghul Empire, where each Khan chooses a successor. If the MCU is planning to borrow this idea to go ahead with the Mandarin, we might as well be in for a dramatic ride in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
MCU Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will see Hong Kong action movie legend Leung will play the “real” Mandarin. How Tony Leung retcons the fake Mandarin with the real one would be very interesting to see. Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu will play the lead superhero, Shang Chi. The movie has been directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and is scheduled to be released on Jul 09, 2021.