Depending on who you ask, Marvel‘s decision to do a “fake out” with the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), whom everyone assumed was the top villain in Iron Man 3, is either a fantastic bit of storytelling or an abomination of adaptation. Most critics and general audiences tend to think it’s the former, and now that Phase Four’s Shang-Chi movie is going to properly introduce the classic Marvel Comics antagonist with a bit of a more modern (and more appropriate) spin, fans are eager to see what happens. Including screenwriter Drew Pearce, who co-wrote Iron Man 3.
Pearce, who’s been doing press for Hobbs & Shaw, discussed the Shang-Chi news with CinemaBlend. Not only is he “excited” about the prospect of seeing Hong Kong actor Tony Chiu-Wai Leung bring the villain to life in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but he’s convinced it’s the only way it could have happened.
“There are modern interpretations of The Mandarin that I think can work in the context of, particularly of a Marvel movie that has a much more grounded basis in Asian culture and has, frankly, Asian filmmakers and other Asian actors in its ensemble, and driving the story. In our Iron Man movie, as you and everyone else knows, it was my feeling that if we did The Mandarin in many of the forms that he is most commonly known as, we were playing into the racial stereotypes that generated the character in the beginning.”
When the character first appeared in the pages of Tales of Suspense in 1964, it was practically a visual embodiment of the aforementioned racial stereotypes. In the last decade, however, a fare more modern (and less racist) version of the character has been introduced to readers.