‘Iron Man 3’ Writer Praises MCU for Waiting to Introduce Real Mandarin in ‘Shang-Chi’

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Marvel announced at Comic-Con it was officially setting “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” for Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The reveal included an exciting casting note: Tony Leung, the legendary Hong Kong actor famous for appearing in Wong Kar-wai films such as “In the Mood for Love” and “Happy Together,” is starring in the tentpole as the villainous Mandarin. The casting allows the MCU to introduce the real Mandarin after providing a fake out in “Iron Man 3,” which cast Ben Kingsley as the character but included a twist that revealed he was just an actor posing as the real Mandarin.

In a new interview with CinemaBlend to promote “Hobbs & Shaw,” screenwriter Drew Pearce said he’s excited the real Mandarin will properly debut in the MCU thanks to “Shang-Chi.” Pearce also wrote the Marvel short film “All Hail the King,” which centered on Kingsley’s sham Mandarin in prison. In the comics, the Mandarin hails from China and is often represented with a culturally-specific physical appearance. Pearce alluded to the fact that introducing the real comic book villain in “Iron Man 3” would not have been for the best given the lack of Asian talent involved in the movie.

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“You know, and 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,” Pearce said. “In our ‘Iron Man’ movie, as you and everyone else know, 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.”

Pearce suggested that with Asian filmmakers and Asian actors working on “Shang-Chi” there will be no way the Mandarin is introduced insensitively into the MCU. “Shang-Chi” is being directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the filmmaker behind “Short Term 12,” “The Glass Castle,” and the upcoming “Just Mercy.” David Callaham is writing the movie after working on scripts for tentpoles such as “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Zombieland: Double Tap.”

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” starring Simu Liu in the title role, is set to be released on February 12, 2021.

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