One of the more tantalizing unrealized moments from Shane Black's terrific "Iron Man 3," that was revealed during the lead-up to the film's home video release: Ben Kingsley's Mandarin character (in actuality a druggy London stage actor named Trevor Slattery), mistakenly injects himself with the Extremis virus, a virus that turns people into human bombs (he thought it was just some really good shit). Slattery walks out onto the oil tanker where the big action set piece happens and spontaneously explodes. It's a shocking, wonderful moment and its deletion made us wonder if Marvel has other plans for the character. It turns out, they do.
Kingsley made waves last week when he told an Irish paper that he was in a "secret project" for Marvel. "I’m not allowed to say any more, you’re going to have to wait and see,” he told the Belfast Telegraph. "I was with many members of the crew that were involved in 'Iron Man 3.' It was lovely to see them again. It was great to be with this wonderful family. I think they have enormous taste as creative artists. There’s nothing lazy or gratuitous about their work. They are at the top of their game, and they’re great company to keep.”
Apparently, according to Latino Review, Marvel wants to make amends to those it offended with turning one of the Iron Man canon's most feared villains into a really clever punch line. In the short film (one of the "One Shot" minis that usually accompany Marvel home video releases but could easily be an added bonus to an episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") the real Mandarin comes looking for Slattery, appalled at the actor for disgracing his name. Who plays the real Mandarin? What bearing does this have on the Marvel cinematic universe considering the Iron Man character will more or less be confined to the "Avengers" movies for the next few years? Who knows. But it still sounds pretty cool.
The Mandarin reveal was one of the better surprises in summer movies this year, and while Marvel backpedaling is kind of a wimpy move, hopefully it will garner a nifty little short film. While you're waiting, why don't you watch a gag reel where Kingsley tries on a bunch of different, equally hilarious accents. It'll probably make you giggle.