When we first reported that the next Marvel One-Shot short film might focus on The Mandarin, it was suggested that Sir Ben Kingsley’s character – a drunk, British actor – might have to pay the price for impersonating an actual, powerful villain. It raised hope that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) would have to contend with his rival somewhere down the line. And now Marvel’s sort of confirming this via a sneak peek at the planned short, "All Hail the King."
EW spoke with Marvel insiders about the short, which will be part of the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray disc. The 14-minute short will follow Kingsley’s character, Trevor, as he’s locked away in a maximum-security prison. It is being viewed as an epilogue to Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, but also a possible set up for Iron Man 4. Says Drew Pearce, who wrote the IM3 screenplay:
There has been speculation ever since Iron Man 3 concluded that the bait-and-switch attempted by Marvel was a ruse, and that the real Mandarin was still out there, gathering power and plotting against Stark (and maybe the other members of the Avengers). I wrote, at the time, that I believed Black mishandled Iron Man’s true nemesis. I’m excited by the fact that Marvel might want to make things right in a future Marvel movie. Pearce elaborates:
In the short, Kingsley’s character will sit down with a documentary filmmaker (played by Scoot McMairy) to tell his side of the story.
The documentary reportedly is trying to determine whether The Ten Rings, run by the Mandarin, actually exists. "There’s lots of exposition in lots of different cuts of Iron Man 3 that, in the end, kind of got snubbed out. It’s kind of said in Iron Man 3 but very briefly, Aldrich essentially took a thing that was real, historically real and culturally real, and co-opted it for his own means — essentially co-opting an ancient terrorist concept. What [All Hail the King] does is show that everything in Iron Man 1 [involving the terrorist group] was canon all along any way. We kind of knew The Ten Rings were a real terrorist cell," Pearce explains.
I’m guessing Marvel wants The Mandarin in play if RDJ agrees to staying in the suit. Or maybe they’re willing to recast Tony Stark down the line, and are keeping options open. Either way, these comments make "All Hail the King" the most anticipated Marvel One-Shot yet. Here are two more exclusive images from EW. Read the piece. It’s pretty informative.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.