The last time anyone saw Trevor Slattery, the washed-up actor known for pretending to be the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, he was being covertly sprung from prison by the real Mandarin, presumably never to be seen again.
Even though an awful lot’s happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since then, Kevin Feige says the universe isn’t quite done with that plot.
During a recent Reddit AMA, Feige simply said “yes” when asked whether the studio planned to pick up on the open threads left after Iron Man 3 and the All Hail the King one-shot that established the continued existence of “the Ten Rings,” an international terrorist organisation committed to toppling world governments.
Because the Mandarin’s a classic Iron Man villain in Marvel’s comics, the events of Avengers: Endgame obviously make the possibility of their appearance in a future Iron Man movie highly unlikely.
But there’s no telling what kinds of activity the Mandarin and the Ten Rings got into in the five years between Thanos’ first snap and his defeat in Endgame. The Earth became a different, more dangerous place when half of the universe was wiped out, the sort of place that a mastermind like the Mandarin might thrive in.
In the comics, the Mandarin is still an important figure in organised crime circles, but the true source of his power is the ten literal rings (one for each finger, of course) derived from alien technology that imbues him with a variety of dangerous super abilities.
The MCU was a drastically different place when “the Mandarin” first appeared. While the whole identity fake-out/terror organisation reimagining suited the tone and style of an Iron Man film, a proper Mandarin with his full range of powers is exactly the kind of supervillain who would fit into this strange new multiverse that’s lousy with all manner of alien tech and magic.