Did you really think that we had heard the last of the Mandarin, Ben Kingsley’s inspired not-so-villainous villain from Iron Man 3? If you were one of those people irked that Marvel pulled an about-face with the problematic character by making him into nothing more than actor playing a part, then you’ll probably want to avoid All Hail The King, a one-shot short featuring the Mandarin/Trevor Slattery.
For those that don’t remember, the Mandarin was the supposed villain of Iron Man 3, right up until he turned out to be a down and out actor named Trevor Slattery. Slattery was hired to play the part of a dangerous terrorist by the real baddie Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). Although Kingsley only had a handful of scenes in Iron Man 3, his entertaining turn as Slattery was probably one of the better sections of the film, establishing the concept of a made-for-TV terrorist that is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. I was even a little sad that Slattery was carted off to prison at the end of the film, even if he wasn’t so troubled by it.
All Hail The King picks up with Slattery now behind bars, giving interviews to a documentary filmmaker (Scoot McNairy) about his colorful past. It seems that Slattery is enjoying his newfound fame as the greatest fake terrorist who ever lived, even if that means he has to stay in prison. As director Drew Pearce commented:
He is living a somewhat curtailed version of the celebrity life, but he’s also leading arguably a better life than he did when he was living with, like, four other actors at the age of 52 in some bedsit in the south of London. That’s the other fun thing about the starting point is that when we meet Trevor in the short, Trevor won. The Mandarin didn’t, but Trevor in his own way was victorious.
What’s more, All The Hail The King could very well be opening out onto the larger universe that Marvel has taken pains to create. Pearce does not discuss whether this will be another Iron Man film, or part of the Phase 2/3 Marvel world, but it appears that there are many places the Mandarin’s story can go.
While I’m the first skeptic when it comes to more Marvel universe films, I have to admit that going back to the Mandarin would be a great deal of fun. Kingsley’s performance was hilarious as well as topical and I would like to see where this one goes.
You can see All Hail The King on the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray when it releases February 25th.
Check out the new EW images from the film below and let us know what you think about the Mandarin’s return in the comments.