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After months and months of teasing the fulfillment of The Mandarin/Ten Rings storyline first hinted at the start of the franchise, Iron Man 3's revelation that The Mandarin was actually just an act portrayed by a washed up stage actor either pissed you off or really entertained you. Regardless, the character that we thought was the head of the Ten Rings terrorist organization turned out to really only be a threat to himself, and he (real name Trevor Slattery) was thrown in jail for his connection to Aldrich Killian's evil plans. While we presumed the story ended there, the Marvel One Shot Hail To The King changed our perceptions yet again, revealing that the real Mandarin was still out there somewhere. The twists and turns keep coming, and you should prepare for more, as we now have yet another knot of uncertainty.
IGN has Sir Ben Kingsley on record as saying that Trevor Slattery could be a creation of The Mandarin after all, thus suggesting that the Oscar winning performer could come back as a much less silly version of his "evil" character. At least, that's what Sir Kingsley himself seems to think. Said the actor,
"Has the Mandarin invented Trevor, or has Trevor invented the Mandarin? Which is which? The Mandarin could be so supremely intelligent that he could have said, 'You know what? I'll invent this actor, and he will be my mask.' You know, which is which? Who's pulling the strings. Now, this is me just free-thinking here, but I would love to revisit that world. But Trev, bless him, may have made an indelible mark on that world. So everyone might say, 'Is it Trev under there?' So they'd have to approach it quite carefully, and so would I, but I would love to go back to that world, yeah."
While Sir Ben Kingsley's works and personality are of the highest order (save for some films we'd rather forget he was involved with), the last fragment of this interview says a lot both about him as a performer and about how the industry perception towards comic book movies have changed. Kingsley is a well respected actor ready to play in the Marvel sandbox once again, and really who can fault him? The attitudes of talented, award winning actors like Robert Redford and Benicio Del Toro have evolved from the early days of comic films That said, while I would imagine that Marvel Studios would love to keep Sir Ben Kingsley on staff, it seems like Trevor Slattery's days are numbered, just given everything seen in both Iron Man 3 and All Hail The King.
For the few of you who seem to be bummed out by that last sentence, you can blame Kevin Feige and Drew Pearce, as Feige has also gone on the record in the past stating that Iron Man 3 was "always" supposed to set up the decoy Mandarin. Whether it really was always in the cards, or if the angry fans forced Marvel Studios' hand in the matter, it's highly unlikely that Trevor Slattery is the true Mandarin. Which means it's the perfect time to surprise everyone and make him turn out to be the actual Mandarin, is it not?
Iron Man 3 is available on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as the 67 showings Starz and its many off shoots have scheduled for the coming week. Sir Ben Kingsley will next be featured in the stop-motion animated The Boxtrolls, which will be released in theaters on September 26th.