The Mandarin has been lurking in the background of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever since Iron Man launched the franchise back in the summer of 2008, with Tony Stark’s arch-nemesis originally planned to be the movie’s big bad before the focus was shifted towards Obadiah Stane instead.
The villainous Ten Rings organization were responsible for Tony’s capture and planned ransom, but then the MCU moved on and appeared to leave them in the dust for the next half a decade. During the buildup towards Iron Man 3, though, all of the promotional and marketing materials made it look as though the real Mandarin was on his way at long last, only for the film to deliver one of the most divisive moments in the entire shared superhero saga.
The Trevor Slattery twist still generates debate to this day, and there’s no middle ground: you either love it, or you hate it. It was ultimately retconned in One-Shot All the Hail the King the following year, where it was revealed the real Mandarin was out there all along, and not best pleased about a washed up actor using his name for publicity.
We’re now hearing from our sources – the same ones who told us the Mandarin would be revealed as the title hero’s father long before it was confirmed – that Ben Kingsley reportedly has a small cameo in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which would be perfectly in keeping with the MCU’s love of playing the long game.
It’s been thirteen years since we were first introduced to the Ten Rings, eight since we met Trevor and seven since we discovered the Mandarin really existed, so paying that all off with a face-to-face between Kingsley and Tony Leung in Shang-Chi would be fan service at its finest.