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Kevin Feige Explains Why Marvel Couldn’t Introduce The Real Mandarin In Iron Man 3

By Meghna Dugar
July 2,2021

With the arrival of the much-anticipated solo film Black Widow and many other Disney+ shows, this September the Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to introduce a new character to the role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This is an upcoming American Superhero Film and stars Simu Liu as the master of martial arts, Shang-Chi who is forced to confront his past after an attempt on leading a normal life and is drawn to the mysterious Clandestine Ten Rings Organisation. 

It is a trend of Marvel to connect something old with new, and in this instance of Shang-Chi, it seems to be connected to the famous trilogy Iron Man. The villain Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley was first revealed as a masquerade for the real villain of the movie, Aldrich Killian. The discovery of Mandarin, being the supposed founder of the Ten Rings organisation wasn’t exactly overwhelmed, but with the villain hovered to return let’s see what the Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has to say on it. 

Shang-Chi’s Father and Iron Man

In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, he said

“That’s what’s fun about the MCU at this stage. We can do something like Shang-Chi, introducing a brand-new hero into the MCU and into the world at large. But the 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 the organisation was inspired by a character called Mandarin in the Comics.” 

Feige then defends the Mandarin’s sham introduction in 2013’s Iron Man 3 and conveyed the real reason behind the postponement of the reveal of real Mandarin.

“And going back to Iron Man one: We’ve been talking about that when we do bring this character to the screen,  [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 is about  Iron Man; an Iron Man movie is about Tony Stark.” 

It seems that MCU doesn’t want this legendary villain to be obscured by Tony Stark and his films, so the studios decided to veil the real character for time being and to only make use of its name.

“So Shane Black, in this film and the 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.” 

The amateurish entry of Trevor Slattery was just introduced to impersonate Mandarin, in front of the real villain of the film, Aldrich Killian. The pretending to be character was played by Ben Kingsley but the real Mandarin who is Shang-Chi’s father and the leader of the Ten Rings is played by Tony Leung. 

Feige said

“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 the spectacular work that he’s done.” 

With this astonishing although amusing twist of Ben Kingsley in the Iron Man 3, it could be said that not all Marvel folks were excited. Nevertheless, Feige’s belief could be said true to some extent that Tony Stark’s films would have obscured the character of Mandarin and this would have stopped him to bring out something bigger in this character. 

It seems that Feign took eight years and multiple films to realise that for a character like  Mandarin appearing as Shang-Chi’s father, he had engaged the right film and actor. The outlook of the relationship between the transcendent, crime-lord father and the newest hero of Marvel Studios makes the story more in-depth and exuberant, aligned to conflict. So, this appearance and theory of Feige are quite appreciable. 



Upon seeing the eagerness to cast Tony Leung for the character of Mandarin, it can be anticipated that this may turn out to be one of the incredible villains of the Marvel  Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings is set to be premiered on the big screens on 3rd September 2021.

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