Warning: Iron Man 3 spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 and are going to be a big baby about this, don’t read any further.
Aside from the general “boy, Robert Downey Jr. just really hates wearing that suit, huh?” musings during the film, the biggest talking point for Marvel fans and filmgoers after watching Iron Man 3 was the film’s clever handling of Iron Man mega-villain, The Mandarin. In the comics, The Mandarin is a megalomaniacal warrior who wears 10 aliens rings on his fingers to give him super powers, which doesn’t exactly transition well onto film. So Iron Man 3 director Shane Black pulled a clever bait-and-switch: at first we see Ben Kingsley as an Osama bin Laden-esque terrorist calling himself The Mandarin and assume this is the film’s real-world interpretation of the villain, before realizing seeing that Kingsley’s character is really just a drunken, buffoonish actor acting a media proxy for the real Mandarin, Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian.
Now here’s where it gets wacky: last week, news broke that Kingsley was filming some sort of “secret project” for Marvel, with Coming Soon noting that the actor state we were “going to have to wait and see” what it was. And now, the usually on-point Latino Review is reporting that the secret project is the next Marvel One-Shot short film (usually attached the Blu-Rays of their bigger films) in which “the real Mandarin” (not Aldrich Killian) will confront Kingsley’s character over how he and Killian tarnished his legacy, opening the door for a future appearance by the real Mandarin.
What do you think—can the Iron Man franchise pull off this villain fake-out twice?