Ben Kingsley is in negotiations to play a villain role in Iron Man 3, according to sources familiar with the subject – as passed through the folks at THR. There isn’t much word yet on which villain he may play, but one name being thrown around currently is Iron Man’s number one foe, The Mandarin. It’s a character that was hinted at early on by Iron Man director and Iron Man 3 executive producer Jon Favreau, even going so far as to place the Ten Rings of The Mandarin in the first story.
Traditionally, the Mandarin is a Chinese ruler who worked with communists in the 1960s, deriving his power from 10 alien rings. Ever since DC’s Green Lantern movie put getting one’s power from alien jewelry to shame, we’d be right to think that Marvel would try to play that element of the character down. Thus far the Iron Man franchise has been mostly reality and technology based, focusing on the weapons manufacturing element of Tony Stark’s livelihood as a method for creating conflict. However, Iron Man 3 will exist in a post-Avengers world, one ravaged by an alien invasion led by Thor’s weasely brother Loki. So all options seem to be on the table.
That is assuming, of course, that Ben Kingsley is being sought for the part of The Mandarin, and not some other, currently unnamed villain. According to THR’s report, Marvel Studios had no comment on the matter.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter