Sir Ben Kingsley in Talks to Play the Villain in IRON MAN 3

     April 9, 2012


The release of The Avengers is now less than a month away, but Marvel is gearing up to start production on their first post-Avengers pic, Iron Man 3.  Though little is known regarding the plot, Marvel and director Shane Black have apparently settled on their villain.  Variety reports that Sir Ben Kingsley is now in final negotiations to take on the antagonist role in the third Iron Man pic.  Though Iron Man and Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau had been setting up the Mandarin as the villain for Iron Man 3, insiders apparently denied that Kingsley would be playing the brilliant and wealthy Chinese scientist.  So who exactly will he be playing?  Hit the jump for more.

ben-kingsley-iron-man-3Fans of the comic series have been hoping to see the Mandarin portrayed on the big screen, as the character is a classic villain from the source material who used ten alien-forged rings of power as weapons against his foes.  Alas, it appears fans will have to wait a bit longer for the Mandarin to get his day in the sun.  We recently learned that the plot of Iron Man 3 would involve nanobot technology that Tony Stark incorporates into his suit, with the conflict coming in the form of a nanobot virus.

Per Variety, Kingsley would play a role that revolves around the spreading of said virus.  The storyline is loosely based on Warren EllisExtremis series that focused on nanotechnology.  Kingsley’s a swell actor and is definitely in line with the caliber of talent that Favreau brought to the first Iron Man with Jeff Bridges, so I think he’s a nice addition to the cast.  It’s hard to say whether he’s right for the role, as we don’t really know what the role is.  Production on the film is set to get underway in May in North Carolina, with Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Scarlett Johansson all reprising their roles from the previous films.  Kingsley is currently filming the adaptation of Ender’s Game.

Hopefully we’ll hear more about Kingsley’s character soon, but in the meantime I’ll leave it to those more versed in Iron Man lore than me to speculate away in the comments.  Iron Man 3 opens on May 3rd, 2013.


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  • Rossome

    ya that’s smart, don’t use iron man’s most famous villain…

  • Jamie

    Yeah sorry I’d much rather they go with someone else – or invent someone new – as opposed to going with a walking racist caricature like the Mandarin. I’m more worried about how well they can pull something like Extremis off on film, and if it’s something mainstream audiences will embrace. It might just be too weird.

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  • jam

    bring on the fuckin mandarin

  • brandon

    So because a character fits the description of a race of people, and calls himself something that reflects who he is (ahem, Captain America) he is a racial stereotype. If you could please let me know the exact point in time when the world became inhabited by a bunch of over-tolerant hippies, I’d like to visit that point in time so I could smack the lot of you pussies.

  • Sccitylhh


  • Phoenix

    Is Jon Favreau not coming back as Happy Hogan?

    • Mrtigerthunder

      Last I heard, he was.

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  • Northern Star

    Ben Kingsley would make one hell of a sinister Ernst Stavros Blofeld if they ever decided to bring him back in the new Bond movies, make him a kind of George Soros-like puppet master, pulling strings in world affairs for his own malevolent ends…

  • Marcus

    This could be good just as long as it doesn’t involve Kingsley getting his own suit.

  • Elitist Prick

    I kind of would have thought having the Mandarin and nano-technology would be a good setup for a possible villain for Avengers 2, the same way Loki was introduced in Thor and established to be the villain in this summer’s Explosion Extravaganza. Maybe the production timelines don’t synch up properly for this? Eh, more likely I’m totally off the mark.



  • The Commander

    Kingsley is a brilliant actor and I hope he is in the film. What disappoints me is Disney/Marvel would choose to hire a Causation to portray an Asian character. Why not hire an Asian to play an Asian?

    In an age of equal opportunity, you cannot tell me that there is an Asian actor with enough skill and screen presence to play whatever Asian villain Iron Man 3 needs.

    To cast a Caucasian to play an Asian is just as silly as the movies of yore where Whites were hired to play Native Americans. Isn’t America better than that now? It is insulting to think America isn’t.

    Disney should be embarrassed of themselves for debasing themselves by thinking America isn’t mature enough to accept an Asian actor as a serious villain for their precious Iron Man series.

    • Joe

      Not forgetting who Kingsley played early in his career…one of the most revered Asians of them all…Mahatma Gandhi – the Father of India.

      • Slight Hitch

        Also not forgetting that Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, his father being of Indian descent.

    • Bobbie

      Did you read the article, or just the headline and then assume that you already knew what it said? Show me where it says that Kingsley is playing an Asian character. It very specifically says that we do not know anything about the character he is playing. Also, Kingsley is of Indian (Asian) descent, and started his career playing Mahatma Gandhi.

      • NoOne

        Few things:
        -He is most likely NOT playing the Mandarin.
        -The poster is obviously using “Asian” to mean “yellow”, as it is most commonly used. It’s like how an Egyptian-American would never be called “African-American.”
        -Ben Kingsley had to brownface up to play Gandhi.
        -Disney is having a white guy play Tonto.

  • Chris

    Why is Scarlett going to come back??? She was very average in IM2 and will most likely be the worst part in The Avengers.

    • Joe

      In a movie full of unbridled machismo, I welcome boobs and a sexy butt.

  • Gunflyer

    Why exactly do we need more Iron man movies? Just focus on delivering more Avengers movies! Why would I want to see Iron Man again after seeing all the Avengers together on the big screen? Why would anybody? Especially after the disaster that was Iron Man 2. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to see Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2, Hulk 2, etc, etc, etc especially after The Avengers comes out….

    • ReelGuy

      Seriously, they’re going to jump continuity and do Extremis before introducing the Mandarin? Extremis is a relatively recent storyline for Iron Man – there’s several other major stories before Extremis should be introduced. Demon in a Bottle, Iron Wars, a Mandarin storyline. Extremis should be in a 4th or 5th film, not in the 3rd of a series which appeared to be leading up to a Mandarin story.

    • Li

      I’d say Iron Man was actually the most interesting movie so far. Didn’t care much for Thor or Capt. America – to ordinary and 2dimensional for me. Avengers looks cool and with Ruffalo and Renner they have some new and interesting actors, unfortunately Scarlett has to make a comeback now in Iron Man 3 as well. I really hope she gets little screen time in that one. She was the weakest part of IM2.

  • Tony Parros

    ^Shut up. You’re lame.

  • Alk

    If Kingsley lands a role in Iron Man, I might actually bother to watch it.

    • Joe

      And what if his character was severely cross-eyed and named Guru Tugginmypudha…would you still watch it?

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  • Nomis1700

    Good, good. Now shoot the film with 48 FPS!!!!!! And some IMAX scenes please!!!

  • Ramos Clemente

    The Mandarin’s symbol is in the cave in the first movie but they won’t use him. It’s like Raimi’s Dr Connors all over again. Great, this nanobot idea from drunkass Warren Ellis sounds much better. It seems better to know the whole trilogy’s story before production starts.

  • SP1234

    Will the May start interfere with the Ender’s Game schedule (since the release date has been pushed back to November)?

  • EJ

    Another non-Oriental actor playing an Oriental character. Does anyone remember the outrage when Peter Ustinov played Charlie Chan?

    • Van Iblis

      Another PC dumbass who can’t read.

      Kingsley *isn’t* playing Mandarin, so you have no idea what nationality his character is supposed to be.

  • Migzter13

    They can still use the mandarin if they re-envisioned him in a new and modern way. I think it would be more awesome to see him in a new light with small nods to the original character.

    • Indeed.

      Use him like an old-school Bond villain — a bad guy with a weird quirk.

      Problem solved.

  • Jason White

    Ben Kingsley is an amazing actor and a great choice.
    He can play a villain really well.

    Look up clips of him in Sexy Beast.

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