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Marvel’s Next Short is About the Mandarin (Sorry, Loki Fans)


For a week now, many Marvel movie fans have been basking in the golden possibility that Loki might be getting his very own short film, perhaps detailing exactly how he took the throne of Asgard and particularly how he dispatched with Odin. It has now been revealed that the secret short accompanying the DVD release of Thor: The Dark World next month actually stars a different villain, with a similar gift for impersonation but a lot less power. Trevor Slattery, the face of the Mandarin.

The short will pick on Slattery in prison, where, screenwriter Drew Pearce points out, he’s basically got everything he ever wanted:

When we find Trevor at the beginning of this short, other than Tony, he’s the only one out of Iron Man 3 to get what he wanted. And even though he was arrested and beat up and had guns pointed at him, now he’s the celebrity that he always wanted to be and he loves it. He absolutely loves it. 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.

“All Hail the King” will also reveal new details about the Ten Rings, the terrorist group responsible for kidnapping Tony Stark in Iron Man, that were cut from Iron Man 3. And while Pearce is mum for spoiler reasons, he promises appearances from other minor Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, as well as some major developments in Slattery’s situation.

If it couldn’t be Loki, I’ll gladly accept more Trevor Slattery in my life, if only because that means more Sir Ben Kingsley‘s acting in my life.

(via Newsarama.)

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  • Kathryn (@Loerwyn)

    Yeah, just what we needed, a bigger reminder of the trainwreck of a villain that The Mandarin was.

  • Anonymous

    I loved how they handled the Mandarin in the movie so this makes me very happy. Making him out to be a LITERAL evil foreigner boogeyman as a nod to the grossness of his comic counterpart’s origin was fine meta if you ask me.

  • Travis

    Who thought that Loki was going to be in this? Ben Kingsley has been attached to this thing forever now.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi
  • Anonymous

    As great as it would be to get a Loki short, this is gonna be great. Ben Kingsley is fantastic, I really do like how they handled the Mandarin in IM3 for the most part (its not perfect, but its better than doing it exactly like the comic book Mandarin). This is going to be funny and informative and probably very well done.

    …I never thought of Trevor actually winning in the end of IM3, but now that they’ve mentioned it…

    And we’ll probably get some kind of Thor related short when Winter Soldier comes to DVD. Marvel seems to do their shorts based on the movie that came out before the one being released on dvd.

  • Ryan Colson

    A reminder of how fantastic and polarizing the twist was, even.

  • Ryan Colson

    I’d like the short to be a callback to Hulk’s Leader…

  • Kathryn (@Loerwyn)

    Hardly fantastic if you were polarised towards the negative ;)

    I mean it was just a whole waste of time. British dude as the bad guy (such originality) based on a rather questionable villain with basically no ties to him except possibly his outfit, and it turns out he’s basically just the face of an evil organisation, and the rest of the time he’s out of his nut on drugs and sex.

    I mean why invoke the potential racial issues at all? Why create this pseudo-terrorist for basically a paper-thin shield? It just seems so utterly wasteful, but also rather implausible (by that I mean implausible within the film universe).

  • Lisa Liscoumb

    Hmmm. This makes me hope that the short for the release of Captain America: Winter Soldier will be a Loki one. Can we start a petition now?

  • Travis

    So Super Hero Hype gets their hands on the list of special features.

    Brandon Connelly at BC lists them, bolds the Ben Kingsley connection, but throws in some Loki speculation at the end.

    Germain Lussier at Slashfilm writes a story on BC’s piece, leads with the Loki speculation and follows with the Ben Kingsley connection.

    Katharine Trendacosta at I09 sees the Slashfilm piece and uses “Is the next Marvel One-Shot going to be all about Loki?” as her freaking headline. Fails to mention Kingsley at all.

    Sam Maggs reports on all of this and, in spite of it being a pretty clear case of speculation that’s gotten way out of control, writes the story as though the Loki scenario is a legitimate possibility.

    Which brings is to today, where people are apparently disappointed that reality didn’t adjust itself to match the echo-chamber.

  • Anonymous

    The race thing works perfectly because it’s a literal deconstruction of the Mandarin. The Mandarin was a racist caricature relic of the Cold War era and was very much an evil snarling foreigner. So the film Mandarin ends up as a literal work of fiction designed to distract Americans by being a mishmash of non-American cultures right up to the obvious Arab Extremist cliche. It’s perfect commentary.

    It’s also worth nothing that most of the audience had no idea who the hell the mandarin was so the twist didn’t bother them, of course.

  • Travis

    I really liked that aspect of it, but I would have been happier if Kingsley had been the actual mastermind instead of the big bad being yet another one of Tony’s corporate rivals looking to sell super-weapons.

  • Brett W

    The twist didn’t work, not just because the Mandarin was a letdown, but also because the “big reveal” villain, Pearce’s character was so boring and mundane compared to the Moriarty-esque criminal mastermind the rest of the movie had promised us.

  • SuperFubar

    I agree with you. I don’t think the Mandarin has been a racial stereotype for a while now, and it wouldn’t be difficult for them to move away from those aspects of the character. Instead they turned him into a joke and cast a white man as the Mandarin.

  • Anonymous

    Might check this out, even though what they did to the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 was atrocious!

  • Anonymous

    THIS! SO THIS! If your going to knock Mandarin off, you better put an engaging villain in his place. But no, we got Blandy McBland.

  • Curuniel

    I’m ok with this. Thor 2 was basically full of extra Loki anyway, and while I think it was fanservice well handled, I also think that pushing it too hard will inevitably spoil a lot of the awesomeness. Plus, this growing habit of bundling extras from one franchise with dvds from another fits the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ strategy very well. I kind of love how comic book-y the crossovers and links are, and how well they’re doing in a Hollywood environment.

  • DonnaBrazileRocks

    I wholeheartedly agree. The interpretation of the Mandarin as a terrorist went from something that made me wary about the movie (as a Muslim I’ve personally become fatigued by terrorist villains) to the one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about after the movie was over. The specific way in which the vague Orientalist and villainous attributes were mixed up was definitely something to note, too. The supervillain-as-designed-by-think-tank was a really cool concept and I liked the way it spoke about how Westerners view Asia and “The East” in a way that reaches back to Tony’s origin as depicted in the first film and in the original comics.

    Also, at least in his first appearances the Mandarin was pretty much par for the course in terms of being a racial stereotype “commie” Marvel villain. So, even if an Asian actor was cast in the role, it would still have this legacy of deriving from a pretty insensitive place. So I think that doing what Iron Man 3 did to take an opportunity to comment on that legacy instead of trying to tiptoe and try somehow to bring the more nuanced character of the modern comics to life (which would be pretty hard considering how you have to incorporate a certain degree of realism to stay in line with the previous films) was a good idea and probably the right choice. Like, in context of the story, having the Mandarin be portrayed by a white man kind of adds to the spirit of the deconstruction. Like you said below he is the Eastern foreign bogeyman as thought of by the West.

    This was really rambly and unclear, but, basically, I thought it was a really clever thing for a superhero movie to do, and I loved it. I hope that the “political thriller” Captain America 2 keeps this kind of stuff up.

  • Anonymous

    I guess you could say that, compared to what many fans were hoping for, this particular Marvel Cinematic Short will be a bit… low-key.

    *sunglasses*

  • Anonymous

    1. Even if the early appearances of the Mandarin are considered racist, that doesn’t mean that a more faithful movie adaptation of the character has to be racist too. It’s the job of the writers, director, & cast to flesh out problematic characters so they feel like real people. (Modern comic incarnations of the character have also tried to mitigate his racist origins.)

    2. The twist isn’t novel. It was already used in Batman Begins. Having Aldrich Killian, an insignificant character in the comics, declare himself the real Mandarin felt like offensive cultural appropriation. I also have a problem with whitewashing R’as al Ghul (& Khan Noonien Singh, though he wasn’t a figurehead decoy in STID).

    3. Blaming war & terrorism directly on white entrpeneurs also goes back at least as far as WWI paranoia. I’ve seen this in a lot of well-intentioned fiction (including the first Iron Man movie) to point where it obscures the reality of terrorism. It’s just as problematic as xenophobic propaganda because it removes the cultures birthing freedom fighters from their own stories. Instead of demonizing or removing them altogether, we need stories to humanize them so the underlying problems can be understood & addressed. Why play up Stark industries having indirectly created the very inequitable circumstances overseas that led to the Mandarin amassing loyal followers without having a Mighty Whitey run their opperations?

    4. In the first two Iron Man movies, the Ten Rings are a genuine terrorist organization (one of them gives Whiplash forged documents in IM2). In IM3, Killian says he made up the Mandarin & the 10 Rings to cover up for his Extremis accidents. So did Killian really set up a Middle Eastern terrorist organization years ago just to get vengeance on Tony? Or was he just using their name & iconography without SHIELD or the real deal noticing? If the latter, it’s not a fulfilling end to the triology because Tony still hasn’t dealt with the looming Big Bad of his story set up in part one.

    5. Mandarin is Iron Man’s most influential villain becuase his 10 alien power rings make him distinct from all the foes that are wear copycat armor or are business rivals. Fans wanted to see an epic armor vs. rings fight to cap off the series. Favereau didn’t use Mandarin directly in his movies because he didn’t know how to approach the rings but didn’t want to commit to a “grounded” version of the character either. Thor & Avengers already introduced alien tech into the MCU, so there was no reason not to include the most iconic aspect of the Mandarin. Killian’s powers were more akin to C-list foe Firebrand, so he was not a satisfying version of the Mandarin no matter what he dubbed himself.

    6. The plot of Iron Man 3 felt choppy because they tried to mash two disparate plots together. They could’ve gotten two great IM movies if they had a non-decoy Mandarin & the 10 Rings (maybe with Fin Fang Foom as their ultimate weapon) in one & AIM (in yellow cleansuits led by MODOK) using Extremis in the other. It was kind of like how the Dark Phoenix Saga that fans had been waiting for got shortshrifted in X-Men 3 because of the Cure storyline was grafted onto it where it had no business being.

  • Rose Tyler

    This, so much. I will be very, very happy with a Loki short if one appears someday — but over-saturation is not a good idea, and we already got so much bonus!Loki in “Thor 2″ that I’d rather they held off more appearances for now. We’re only gonna get so many Loki stories — let’s space ‘em out, eh? I’d rather have a potential short to look forward to on a non-Thor DVD in future, rather than waste it on a DVD set that already has plenty of Loki goodness. And who wouldn’t want to check back in with Trevor? “Iron Man 3″ was all kinds of awesome. :)

    Besides, we all took the lesson of delayed gratification to heart, right?? –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_ubVVnWglk

  • Rose Tyler

    This, so much. I will be very, very happy with a Loki short if one appears someday — but over-saturation is not a good idea, and we already got so much bonus!Loki in “Thor 2″ that I’d rather they held off more appearances for now. We’re only gonna get so many Loki stories — let’s space ‘em out, eh? I’d rather have a potential short to look forward to on a non-Thor DVD in future, rather than waste it on a DVD set that already has plenty of Loki goodness. And who wouldn’t want to check back in with Trevor? “Iron Man 3″ was all kinds of awesome. :)

    Besides, we all took the lesson of delayed gratification to heart, right?? –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_ubVVnWglk

  • Dave

    Ben Kingsley is of Asian descent via India, actually. So there was a lot of unhappy speculation that they’d gone the “All people from Asia are the same!!” route when the casting was announced, but then that too was subverted! (I quite liked the twist, personally.)

  • Brett W

    But the character is still boring. And I see a movie like Iron Man to be entertained, not get meta criticism of American media. Now if Pearce’s character had been played by someone like Andrew Scott, or Benedict Cumberbatch or just someone, anyone with some charisma, it might have worked. But Pearce was dull as dishwater in that film.

  • Ryan Colson

    He was just a white guy, I’m still unsure how I feel about it but think overall it was great meta stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Which kind of hurts. I like Pierce in other films but this one he was just…meh.