The words of this headline might not mean much to the scores of Iron Man movie fans out there, but they mean a lot to fans of the comic books.
The money quote here:
You’ve got to do the Mandarin. The problem with the Mandarin is that the way it’s depicted in the comic books, you don’t want to see that. He has 10 magical rings — that just doesn’t feel right for our [franchise] so it’s either tech-based, or the rings are not really rings. But maybe with Thor and all those others, you’ll introduce magic to that world and it won’t seem so out of place.”
The comic book version that he’s referencing would definitely need tweaking, but he’s right in at least seeing the possibility for magic to become easier to handle once the other Marvel tie-in films come out.
To know more, let’s turn to Marvel’s official description of the character:
Born circa 1920, the future Mandarin was raised by his embittered aunt following his parents’ deaths, and as an adult he used his brilliance and family wealth to attain prominence in the Kuomintang Party’s reign over China. The Communist Revolution of 1949 cost him his position and power, although the population he had once commanded still regarded him with nigh-mystic awe. After years of seeking some means of regaining greatness, he ventured into the mysterious Valley of Spirits, where he discovered the millennia-old wreckage of a starship of the reptilian Kakaranatharian, or Makluan, extraterrestrial race, and the ten mighty rings which had powered the vessel. He also discovered the dormant alien robot Ultimo within a volcano, and worked for years to revive him using a combination of science and magic.
In recent years, seeking assistance to master the Makluan rings’ full power, the Mandarin became the patron of the Sin-Cong revolutionary Wong Chu, who abducted the Chinese genius Ho Yinsen and American industrialist Tony Stark. However, Yinsen sacrificed his life to enable Stark to escape and overwhelm Wong Chu’s forces using his first Iron Man armor. After disciplining Wong Chu for his failure, the Mandarin had the opportunity to stop Iron Man from departing but, intrigued, allowed him to pass unhindered, little realizing the armored hero would become his most persistent nemesis.
The latter portion is, of course, straight out of the first film.
Favreau is an executive producer for Avengers, but there’s no word yet on whether or not he’ll be back for the third installment of Iron Man as director. Fortunately for whomever does have that job, the production has already built up the Ten Rings as a terrorist organization and delivering on the promise of its fearless, martial arts expert leader is as easy as getting drunk in the Iron Man suit at your birthday party.
There are a ton of villains that Iron Man could face off against, but Mandarin is the fan favorite choice. It’s the equivalent of seeing Batman face off against the Joker, except the Joker has alien technology and a wicked Fu Manchu.
And no mention of having 18 villains. That’s good news right?