**Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame**
Now that the MCU has closed one chapter after 11 years of filmmaking now is the time to look back on everything that may have been introduced and teased over the years – but perhaps fell by the wayside as the world expanded. For many fans out there, one notable element of the Marvel universe that didn’t quite get the exploration it deserved was the organization Ten Rings and the master villain, The Mandarin. While fans may see that as a wasted opportunity the man behind Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, confirmed that there are still plans to incorporate the nefarious villain down the road.
Going back a bit, the character was included in the 2013 movie IRON MAN 3, but this version played by Ben Kingsley was a sham, an actor named Trevor Slattery used as a false figurehead while real baddie Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) operated behind the scenes. While that twist is seen as genius by some and a crime by others, an entry in the since defunct Marvel One-Shot series, ALL HAIL THE KING, centered on Slattery in jail, all before he’s told the Mandarin is very real and would like to meet this imposter in person. Thus, the stage was set, but the show never came to town.
Feige, who is the head of a movie studio that prides itself on secrecy in all aspects of film development, held a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread (via /Film), and it was there a user asked him if they had any plans to bring the “real” version of the character in after this build up. Feige, ever the people-pleaser but the master secret keeper, replied with a simple “Yes.”
Now the question remains, when and where would The Mandarin and Ten Rings show up. The villain is an archnemesis of Iron Man, and Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel sent him to a much-deserved rest at the end of AVENGERS: ENDGAME. There aren’t many characters on the roster who it would make sense to pit him against, but some are theorizing that he could make his (real) appearance in the upcoming SHANG-CHI movie, the first Asian-led movie in the MCU. Of course, we don’t know anything about anything when it comes to the future of the MCU, other than assorted confirmations about solo outings like the BLACK WIDOW movie and the third GUARDIANS, as well as SHANG-CHI.
I for one am in the camp of loving that Marvel twist in IM3. On top of making the movie more of an oddball delight that subverted expectations, it was able to circumvent aspects of the original comic book character’s cultural insensitivity, at the same time being used to explore the nature of modern terrorism. Kingsley also rocked it in the role, both as the villainous character and his true, deadbeat actor self. But Marvel covered their bases with that One Shot, and now as the new MCU needs new villains, now seems the right time to bring him out.