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Easter Eggs and references to other Marvel films are as much a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as super powers and diabolical villains. However, the need to remove scenes from a film, to help with pacing or reduce runtimes, are a standard part of movie making. When these two forces collide, you get the unfortunate effect of losing some great references because they took place in scenes then ended up getting the ax. There are several different people interested in purchasing the shrinking tech from Darren Cross in Ant-Man and it turns out one of them represents an organization known well to Tony Stark.
The scene is covered by a commentary track by director Peyton Reed and star Paul Rudd. Which is ultimately a good thing because the detail might have been completely overlooked had it not been for this scene being posted by Entertainment Weekly. It takes place after Cross has successfully figured out the shrinking tech and is presenting it to potential buyers. At the end of the clip however Reed points out a tattoo on the neck of one of the buyers. He asks Paul Rudd if it’s a 10 Rings tattoo. According to Rudd this is not the case, but he’s obviously having a bit of fun.
The 10 Rings is the organization responsible for kidnapping Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie. It is traditionally run by The Mandarin and thus was blamed for all of the chaos and destruction in Iron Man 3 as well, though that turned out to not be entirely accurate. If for some reason you don’t know the end of that movie, we’re not going to spoil it for you here. Because the 10 Rings was not actually to blame in that film, it’s unclear what the status of the organization is within the MCU. It now appears that they are alive and well, and apparently are in possession of plenty of cash if they’re considering buying this tech.
This is almost certainly a simple easter egg as opposed to any serious foreshadowing. As little as we know about the specifics of most of the upcoming Marvel movies we know enough about the general structure that we don’t expect the 10 Rings will have any significant role. While they could very well play a part in a future standalone Iron Man film, we have no idea if, nevermind when, such a movie will happen.
The deleted scene will be part of the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Ant-Man on December 8. The Rudd/Reed commentary would have been worth checking out by itself, but now we need to go through all the other deleted scenes to be sure we haven’t missed anything.