Mandarin Might Still Reappear as the Villain in Iron Man 3?
I know we're jumping ahead here, since Iron Man 2 is another six months out, but this a pretty good story, even though it's not necessarily something we haven't heard before. Actor Faran Tahir, who played Raza, the mysterious leader of the 10 Rings in the first Iron Man, was interviewed by Moviefone UK recently for Star Trek (he plays Captain Robau in that). The interviewer jokingly says that he's probably always asked about Mandarin and Iron Man 3, yet continues to ask the question. However, Tahir's answer hints that the villain Mandarin might still pop up in the third movie, whenever it gets made sometime in the future.
"Jon Favreau and [the producers] are not stupid. They're also listening in on all of this and wanting to get the pulse of where the audience is. But at some point, they want to introduce Mandarin into the storyline and my character, like Mandarin, was the leader of the Ten Rings. We're leaving it open because, partly, it makes good business sense for us to leave a little bit of uncertainty for people to speculate on."
That makes complete sense and I know Favreau is probably reading every comment ever written about Iron Man. But here's where things get interesting. Tahir is asked if Favreau has even thought about Iron Man 3.
"He has known for a long time where he wants to take it and I don't want to speak for him, but my feeling is that the second movie didn't want to just follow a singular storyline. They wanted to expand the characters to show that it's not a linear saga like Lord of the Rings. There's a linkage somewhere in there, but the big idea is to do at least one more Iron Man movie and then go into The Avengers."
There's a lot we can learn from his response and it may even get into spoiler territory, so be careful. First and foremost, it sounds like they really are beefing up the War Machine storyline. Obviously Rhodey needs to get to that point anyway, but I think Tahir's confirming that they're trying to develop all of these characters (Black Widow included) on their own so that they can either eventually get a spin-off or their own story in future sequels. And what does that mean for Mandarin? Well, he obviously has the potential to appear down the line. In fact, Favreau has talked about Mandarin (or someone like him) multiples before.
"We have the 10 Rings which is a tip of the hat to the Mandarin, which is the greater villain that is going to emerge," Favreau said in May of 2008. And he later said in October of 2008: "Mandarin is still an important figure in the Iron Man universe. We have an interesting take on him that allows us to incorporate the whole pantheon of villains. The whole 10 Rings thing in Iron Man was a good tease for it." Sounds like he has some big plans for the future of Iron Man. We'll obviously continue to keep you updated on all things Tony Stark!