Kevin Feige Once Again Defends Iron Man 3’s Mandarin Reveal

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is finally bringing the real Mandarin into the MCU in just a few months. Regardless, Marvel boss Kevin Feige still has a lot of love for the last character who used this name onscreen. Ben Kingsley memorably appeared in Iron Man 3 as Trevor Slattery, a washed-up actor who was hired to pose as the leader of the Ten Rings terrorist organization in exchange for drug money. The fake-out remains one of Marvel’s most controversial creative decisions. But in a new interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Feige revealed he has no regrets about how Marvel handled the Mandarin.

“That’s what’s fun about the MCU at this stage,” said Feige. “We can do something like Shang-Chi, introducing a brand new hero into the MCU and into the world at large. But that subtitle, The Legend of the Ten Rings, actually connects it back to the very beginning of the MCU, the Ten Rings being the organization that kidnapped Tony Stark at the very beginning of Iron Man. And that organization was inspired by a character called the Mandarin in the comics.”

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“And going back to Iron Man: We’ve been talking about that when we do bring this character to the screen,” continued Feige. “[We] only wanted to do it when we felt we could do it supreme justice and really showcase the complexity of this character, which frankly we couldn’t do in an Iron Man movie because an Iron Man movie is about Iron Man; an Iron Man movie is about Tony Stark. So [Iron Man 3 director] Shane Black, in his film and his script that he co-wrote, came up with this fun twist that we love to this day, and it turned out to be Trevor Slattery. Just because that version wasn’t real didn’t mean there’s not a leader of the Ten Rings organization. And that is who we meet for the first time in Shang-Chi.”

The Mandarin actually was featured in several early drafts of the first Iron Man script. However, he was ultimately dropped from the film in favor of making Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane the main villain. Less than a year after his appearance in Iron Man 3, Kingsley reprised his role as Trevor Slattery in All Hail the King, a one-shot included on Thor: The Dark World’s Blu-ray release. The short film caught up with Trevor during his stay in prison. By the end, Trevor was forced to answer to the real Mandarin for stealing his name. It’s still not clear if Shang-Chi will give us an idea of how this meeting went. Regardless, Feige is excited about what the future holds.

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“Tony Leung playing Shang-Chi’s father and the leader of the Ten Rings is another pinch-yourself, dream-come-true moment because he’s one of the best actors of our time and we’re very excited to have him introduced to, I hope, a whole new fan base who might not be aware of his spectacular work that he’s done,” added Feige.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3.

Do you think Kingsley’s performance as the fake Mandarin in Iron Man 3 holds up? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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