Disney has announced it will partner with DMG Entertainment in China to co-produce "Iron Man 3," according to The Associated Press. The partnership will bring Chinese aspects to the movie as the project will be shot partly in China and partly in America.
As a fan of the comic book franchise, I could see Mandarin being introduced as the main villain in the new movie.
Who Is Mandarin?
Mandarin was a destitute man who wandered into an abandoned and shunned area of China called the "Valley of Spirits." He discovered a crashed alien ship and studied the science of the advanced race until he mastered it. He also found 10 rings which granted him supernatural powers.
Mandarin regularly used these rings, his advanced knowledge of science, and superhumanly-precise martial arts against Iron Man and other superheroes in the Marvel Universe. He posed an interesting challenge to the Golden Avenger, employing technology more advanced than Tony Stark could muster.
China has an emerging film industry and market. The Associated Press points out the first two movies in the "Iron Man" series did very well in China. If Chinese elements can be added to the story, it could fill more seats in Asia. Mandarin would be a perfect element to add.
All supervillains have to have underlings to toss in the way of the superheroes they are facing. Not only did Mandarin have run-of-the-mill underlings, he also had monsters, aliens, and spiritual avatars at his disposal over the years. The more unusual underlings of the character could make life very rough for Stark and his infamous suits in a new movie.
The terrorist group that held Tony Stark captive at the beginning of the first movie was called The Ten Rings. The Ten Rings is the official name in the Marvel Universe of Mandarin's weapons of choice.
Also, after "Iron Man 2," Jon Favreau stated that he would prefer to incorporate Mandarin into the third movie. With Disney teaming up with a Chinese company for the third entry, it would make sense to introduce him with the next installment.
Marvel is working on a movie based on the character of Doctor Strange. Earth's Sorcerer Supreme had many run-ins with Mandarin over the years and could easily be introduced during the proper part of "Iron Man 3," or during a scene running after the credits. Remember, this was the way Marvel introduced us to Nick Fury and displayed Thor's hammer.
The Near Future
Disney will start shooting "Iron Man 3" at some point later on this year, so I would expect an announcement of the supervillain for the movie just after "The Avengers" or at Comic-Con 2012. There is also a chance the supervillain will be announced during a scene after the credits have rolled for "The Avengers." As long as the villain is Mandarin, I will be very happy.
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