Disney Adding "Chinese Elements" to Iron Man 3; Does that Mean The Mandarin?
Posted 04.16.12 by Chris
It's not surprising that Hollywood studios want a bigger presence in the Chinese movie market. Chinese audiences spent $2B going to the movies last year and have shown a hunger for US movies — the 3-D re-release of Titanic made a record $58M in China on its opening weekend. So it makes sense when Disney announced today that it was partnering with a Chinese firm to produce its upcoming Iron Man 3.
But the announcement also revealed some key information about the direction of the movie. Disney and the Beijing-based DMG said the Chinese company will invest in Iron Man 3. As part of the deal, portions of Iron Man 3 will also be filmed in China. Stanley Cheung, Disney's general manager for Great China, said this at a news conference:
We know Chinese audiences love Iron Man. So we are going to add Chinese elements and a Chinese story into Iron Man 3.
What "Chinese" elements and story could he be referring to? There have been hopes that Iron Man's long-time nemesis, The Mandarin, would show up in the sequel. Ben Kinsley signed on to the movie, but it's been reported that he will not play the main villain... So that definitely opens the door for Mandarin. Does today's announcement mean the odds have improved for The Mandarin showing up in Iron Man 3?
In the comic books, The Mandarin is a wealthy Chinese scientist and martial arts expert who, by backing the warlord who imprisoned Stark, was indirectly responsible for the creation of Iron Man. If the character is to appear in Iron Man 3, he would need to be updated. As THR points out, when introduced in 1963, The Mandarin was a communist Chinese ruler. Mandarin's backstory of using 10 alien rings to gain his superpowers might also need to be changed since Marvel and Disney will want to avoid any similarity with The Green Lantern. Though he's not directing, Jon Favreau said he wanted Mandarin to be the baddie in Iron Man 3. Though one legitimate question is will a Chinese audience want to see a Chinese bad guy?
Guess we'll have to wait to see who Tony Stark will do battle with in Iron Man 3.
Next Showing: Iron Man 3
Opens May 3, 2013