Does the Mandarin Have a Connection to Captain America?

One of the most exciting treats revealed in today’s Iron Man 3 trailer is that Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark directly references the events of Marvel’s The Avengers and his hardships during the battle of New York. That’s a strong suggestion that, moving forward, Marvel Studios plans to fully embrace the continuity of its cinematic universe. It also makes all the more curious the tattoo that Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin has on the back of his neck.

As you can see in the still frame below, the design appears to depict Captain America’s iconic shield. It’s a little harder to tell if the “A” in the middle is supposed to be an Avengers “A” or a variation on the “Anarchy” symbol. Either way, it appears that the character has a specific interest in either Steve Rogers specifically or in the team as a whole. Although it’s purely speculation at this point, the Mandarin could even wind up having ties to the still-unknown plot of Captain America: The Winter Solider. If you’ve got any theories, share them below!

Directed by Shane Black, Iron Man 3 also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale and Jon Favreau and is slated to hit theaters in 2D and 3D on May 3, 2013.