Director Jon Favreau is already looking ahead to Iron Man 3 even though he admits he has no idea what it will look like until after the events of Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers. However, he told MTV that he would still like to have Iron Man’s arch-nemesis The Mandarin be the film’s villain. For those unfamiliar with the character, he’s a Fu-Manchu-looking Asian caricature who possesses ten magical rings. Favreau admits that the character from the comics will require some alterations, but he’s been setting up Mandarin’s presence in the last two films. The terrorist organization in the first Iron Man is part of the “Ten Rings” and if you look through the credits of Iron Man 2, you’ll see Ali Khan credited as “10 Rings Gangster” (he’s the one who hands Vanko the forged ID and travel documents).
I like that Favreau’s willing to say “I don’t know” at this point and it should now be clear that he’s taking the time to make Cowboys and Aliens (which comes out next summer) so that the Marvel Universe can simmer before jumping into a third Iron Man movie without knowing how Tony Stark is going to fare during and after The Avengers. Hit the jump to check out MTV’s interview and a brief bio for The Mandarin.
Here’s The Mandarin’s brief bio [via Marvel]:
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. Unaware that the Makluans themselves remained at large, posing as humans, the Mandarin spent decades mastering Makluan technology, then several years more conquering the valley’s adjacent villages and establishing a network both of citadels and of loyal followers such as Po, Yu, and Li Fong. His long-range goal was to conquer China, and then the world, which he claimed he would rule with the “wisdom and harmony” of his nobleman ancestors. During these years he fathered a son, Temujin, whom he sequestered in a remote monastery, and took the girl later known as Madam Macabre as a student; another girl, Mei-Ling, became betrothed to marry him in adulthood. 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.