‘Shang-Chi’ Fixes ‘Iron Man 3’s’ Problematic Mandarin Character

  • “Iron Man 3” featured Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery, an actor taking part in the villainous Mandarin.
  • The depiction was criticized by followers, calling the twist unsatisfying and disappointing.
  • “Shang-Chi” course corrects this by bringing again Trevor and giving us the true Mandarin: Wenwu.
  • Warning: There are spoilers forward for “Shang-Chi.”

“Iron Man 3” featured two variations of the traditional Marvel Comics villain, the Mandarin — a faux model performed by Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery, and the true model performed by Guy Pearce. Neither of those renditions happy followers.

But “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Marvel’s latest and boldest origin story film, has fastened that and given us a far superior model of the character: Wenwu, who does not truly go by the identify Mandarin in any respect. In reality, he mocks it. Here’s all you have to know concerning the character.

Ben Kinglsey Trevor Slattery the Mandarin.

Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery because the Mandarin.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures[

They’re two versions of the Mandarin in ‘Iron Man 3.’ Both turned out to be imposters

The first was Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery, who pretended to be the Ten Rings’ terrorist leader using the name, the Mandarin.

This character seemed to blend American and Asian cultures, with army pants juxtaposing a cloak decorated with Chinese symbols and dragons. Not to mention the treacle-thick American accent.

This was done purposefully to avoid perpetrating stereotypes of Asian characters, and for a while it worked. Kingsley’s Mandarin was actually terrifying and effective.


However, it turned out that this Mandarin was only a faux persona performed by British actor Trevor Slattery and created by Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian, who was utilizing acts of terrorism as a cover-up for his unlawful experiments.

Killian reveals himself to be the true Mandarin, and it appeared that the MCU was set on sticking to this. “Iron Man 3” director Shane Black even stated that Killian’s dragon chest tattoos meant that he was certainly the true Mandarin.

However, the twist of Kingsley’s Mandarin being a faux and Killian being the true Mandarin didn’t go down properly with followers. Kingsley’s innovative Mandarin was called a waste of potential by many, whereas others had been upset that the Mandarin, one of the most prominent Asian characters in Marvel comics, was played by two white men.

Guy Pearce Iron Man 3

Guy Pearce performs Aldrich Killian, who claimed to be the true Mandarin.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

‘All Hail the King’ reset the Mandarin character and gave Marvel a second likelihood

This Marvel One Shot quick movie adopted Jackson Norriss, a member of the true Ten Rings group, interviewing Slattery in jail. Norriss tells Slattery that the true Mandarin is definitely nonetheless on the market and desires to fulfill him as he is indignant he pretended to be him. Slattery is then kidnapped.

This quick movie reset the character, telling audiences that Killian was as a lot of a pretender as Slattery, and opening up the potential of a 3rd model of the character within the MCU. 

We lastly bought that in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” with Tony Leung taking part in the true Mandarin within the MCU: Wenwu.

All Hail the King short film ben kingsley

Kingsley reprised the position of Trevor Slattery within the quick movie “All Hail the King.”

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Wenwu is definitely a composite character of two Marvel comics characters: the Mandarin and Fu Manchu

In the comics, Fu Manchu is a super-villain and the daddy of Shang-Chi. The character has a troubled historical past, although, as many have accused Fu Manchu of perpetuating racist stereotypes of Asian characters — notably the “yellow peril” stereotype.

Marvel Comics addressed this by altering Manchu’s identify to Zheng Zu, which is how he is now identified within the comics whereas Fu Manchu is solely one in every of many aliases the character makes use of. Zu additionally builds up his personal prison empire over a complete century, and he possesses everlasting youth.

Meanwhile, the Mandarin is a well-known foe of a number of Marvel characters, together with Iron Man. He wields the highly effective ten rings, which Wenwu does in “Shang-Chi.”

Wenwu additionally seems to be primarily based on the Secret Wars model of Fu Manchu, through which his likeness and skills are primarily based on the Mandarin and he is answerable for a martial arts college known as the Ten Rings.

In the film, Wenwu is answerable for the Ten Rings group and in addition wields the ten rings, which give him everlasting youth and have enabled him to construct up his personal empire over a thousand years — throughout which he has been identified by many names.

Tony Leung Shang-Chi

Tony Leung stars because the film’s villain, Wenwu.

Marvel Studios

In ‘Shang-Chi,’ ‘Mandarin’ is only one of many names Wenwu says he goes by

Notably, Wenwu brazenly mocks the identify ‘Mandarin,’ saying that his enemies named him after “a chicken dish.” This is Marvel mocking their very own previous interpretations of the character, well acknowledging the elephant within the room.

Furthermore, Kingsley’s cameo as Slattery does the identical factor. Slattery talks to Shang-Chi about his time taking part in the faux Mandarin persona and calls the persona an “unflattering” rendition of Wenwu. He appears genuinely sorry for ever impersonating him.

Wenwu Tony Leung Shang-Chi

Wenwu has been increase his empire for over a thousand years.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

This is as a lot Marvel speaking as it’s Slattery: each are calling themselves out for the controversial portrayals of the Mandarin in “Iron Man 3.”

Not solely will we get an amazing new villain in Wenwu, however we additionally truly get to get pleasure from Killian and Slattery’s variations of the Mandarin much more now that they’re fakes.

The choice to brazenly mock their previous iterations of the character in-universe invitations audiences in on the joke. With “Iron Man 3,” we had been left on the surface. Now, we’re entrance and middle.

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