Marvel just released the first poster for Iron Man 3 (with Shane Black directing – yay!) via their Facebook page, plus a new batch of images, a teaser for the trailer (ugh), and a promo still of Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin (via Entertainment Weekly). I don’t know the names of all the different Iron Man armors, but I’m sure I can find a commenter or six who’ll tell me. How come all the armors have their hands at their sides, but the one third from right is all “come at me bro”? Possible clue of some kind?! Feel free to speculate while I draw this picture of Robert Downey Jr. with hearts all around it.
Meanwhile, here’s Ben Kingsley as “The Mandarin.” My God, is there any ethnicity Special K can’t play? What an actor.
Slightly spoilery description to follow:
Kingsley is not, of course, Chinese, but [Marvel chief Kevin] Feige says they wanted to blur the background of this version of The Mandarin. “It’s less about his specific ethnicity than the symbolism of various cultures and iconography that he perverts for his own end,” Feige says. From his samurai hair, to his royal robe, to his bin Laden-esque beard, and the AK-47 he keeps at his side, Kingsley’s interpretation is a hodgepodge of various warrior motifs.
That makes sense, except for the part where his name is “THE MANDARIN.” “This is our villain, Ein Berlinner. We couldn’t find a German guy to play him, though, so we got an Eskimo who loves a bargain and is always napping against a saguaro cactus.” Cool, that totally makes sense now.
“Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher,” The Mandarin snarled in footage from the movie previewed last July at Comic-Con. (Expect to hear a similar monologue in the Iron Man 3 trailer coming out tomorrow.)
“Lesson #1: Heroes – there is no such thing.”
That little speech played out over footage of The Mandarin’s black helicopters launching missiles into the seaside home that is Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man headquarters. As the structure detonates and collapses into the sea, all of his armor and equipment sinks with it.
In the comic books, The Mandarin was a Chinese exile who ventures into a remote, forbidden valley and discovers a crashed alien spaceship. Inside the ship are ten rings, each with a different power, which allow him to seek revenge on a world he considers unjust.
But this version of The Mandarin will not follow that same backstory, said Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios.
Iron Man 3 will be more about a clash of technology, Feige says and those who have been paying close attention to the previous two films know that The Ten Rings is a term for the terrorist group that kidnapped Tony Stark in the first movie, and gave the villain Whiplash some assistance in the sequel.
In that way, The Mandarin (who for a time was going to be the main villain in the first film) has been a part of the Iron Man series from the beginning, albeit as the off-screen manipulator. [EW]
All that sounds great, but I’m sure the fanboys will be happy is long as there’s lots of Gwyneth Paltrow.