Iron Man 3 is a very underrated entry in the MCU, at least going off of some otherwise solid rankings, and one of the reasons for that is the controversial use of classic Iron Man villain The Mandarin. In the movie, The Mandarin—leader of the Ten Rings, the organization that kidnapped Tony Stark in the very first movie—is actually an actor played by Ben Kingsley, and he’s actually a dopey drunk instead of the criminal mastermind that fans might’ve exepcted. However, in a short that Marvel released after the movie, Kingsley’s character was attacked in prison by the real Mandarin, establishing that a more comic book-accurate version exists somewhere out there in the MCU.
This week, during a Reddit AMA, Marvel Studios big boss Kevin Feige teased that we haven’t seen the last of the “real” Mandarin or the Ten Rings. Literally all he said was “yes” to a question about whether or not there are plans to return to that dangling thread, but another Reddit user pointed out that leaks from Marvel’s Shang-Chi movie have claimed that The Mandarin would be the villain. Very little about that movie has been confirmed, other than that Just Mercy’s Destin Daniel Cretton will direct, but this would line up nicely and give Shang-Chi a direct tie to a big part of the MCU if it’s true.
Also in the AMA: Feige dipped his toe into the conversation about when, exactly, Captain America became worthy of lifting Thor’s hammer. Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo have insisted that he’s been worthy of swinging Mjolnir around since at least Age Of Ultron, when he made the hammer budge at the big party scene, but that take doesn’t sit well with everybody (since it would be a lot more meaningful if Cap only became worthy after suffering through the dark days of Civil War and losing to Thanos in Infinity War). However, it seems like the Russos’ interpretation is official MCU canon now, with Feige saying, “we think he was always worthy and was being polite in Age Of Ultron.”
The rest of the AMA was a little bland, with Feige refusing to drop any huge reveals about The X-Men or Namor, but he did note that The Infinity Gauntlet is his favorite comic book story (if you can believe that) and that the character Martin Starr plays in The Incredible Hulk is the same person as the debate coach Martin Starr plays in Spider-Man: Homecoming. That’s more of a “sure, why not” reveal than anything, just like saying that Peter Parker is the kid in the Iron Man mask in Iron Man 2, but it’s a fun fact to annoy your friends with whenever one of those movies is on TV.