I’ve been spending my past few weeks deep being a diligent member of society and giving the government my money. Also, I saw some movies. Also, I tried to make some movies. Then Dick Clark died and I got on the internet and told people that it was my opinion that Mondo posters are kind of a rip-off and I’m sure Austin is nice, but when there’s great, unlimited, cheap-to-free art out there, why do we all do posts about expensive fan art that’s made artificially rare?
But I’m not here to talk about Austin or Sin City, I’m here to talk about Caged Heat, a production that kicks off next weekish and will later move to go film in China a bit as part of a US/China hybrid production deal.
These sort of things are always interesting because China is horrible to film. I don’t think anyone would argue that politically censoring work is good practice in the arts. Yeah, A Serbian Film might be edited to come to America, but it’s not like China editing Chow Yun Fat out of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels because he reflects bad on China is nearly the same thing.
Point is: if you want to film in China, you play by China’s rules. And not only are they filming in China, but they’re casting bad ass Chinese people.
Caged Heat also recently added Guy Pearce to the movie, and rumors are Jessica Chastain will sign on, joining Ben Kingsley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Don Cheadle. Caged Heat will be directed by Shane Black.
Really the only problem Caged Heat has is that its title will eventually be “Iron Man 3” and the Iron Man mythology has this villain called The Mandarin and China wouldn’t like that at all.
*Now is the time to get off the ride if you don't want to know anything at all about Iron Man 3*
So, it’s time to ask the question: is the Mandarin the villain of Iron Man 3? Disney/Marvel came right out of the gate confirming Latino Review's Extremis tip then immediately saying "no Mandarin."
That lead BadAss Digest to do the best fan conjecture I've read about Ben Kingsley's villain where they suggest he's going to be part of another Marvel super-corporation Roxxon (since Stark Industries is obviously involved and Justin Hammer got wasted in Iron Man 2, there's really only one super-corporation left in the comics universe).
That theory made total sense, but it's not going to get me to shake Jon Favreau's words in 2010 when he told MTV that you "have" to do The Mandarin, but that Iron Man 3's plot would be based largely off of what happened in Cap, Thor and Avengers.
"He has 10 magical rings — that just doesn't feel right for our thing. So it's either tech-based, or the rings are not really rings. But maybe with Thor and all those others, you'll introduce magic to that world and it won't seem so out of place."
Heck, Marvel even released unused Mandarin concept art from the FIRST movie. You "have" to do Mandarin.
Things are different now, for sure, and "magic" is making a big push into the Marvel Universe (stay for the mid-credits scene in Avengers), but I still think this is all a bit left of center. There was that character in Iron Man 2 that was credited as a 10 Rings agent and there was Raza in Iron Man who worked for the 10 Rings and even referenced Genghis Kahn. Raza was played by Faran Tahir - NOT a Chinese actor.
Ready? Ready for the geek theories?
Guy Pearce and Jessica Chastain create Extremis for Ben Kingsley, the head of a huge multi-national corporation (they've been key parts of both Iron Man films thus far, so someone challenging Stark International with, let's say a headquarters in China). Secretly, Kingsley also controls the 10 Rings, a group of super-terrorists.
Kingsley uses Extremis as a weapon against both China and Stark Industries as form of magic. People with Extremis in their veins in the comic got Captain America-like strength and agility, but also fire and electricity powers.
Kingsley is revealed as The Mandarin (a totally NOT CHINESE MANDARIN), and defeats armored RDJ in battle, causing Chastain to adapt Extremis to the Iron Man armor.
Meanwhile, the 10 Rings is finally ready for it's endgame (take over the world, blow it up, I'd like to think maybe it's just exactly the same plot as Tomorrow Never Dies) and The US Government (in the movie it will be War Machine and Black Widow) and the Chinese Government team up to take on Mandarin and just when it looks like Ben Kingsley is going to win...
Debut Extremis armor.
None of this is confirmed, by the way. Not like we confirmed Extremis and the name of the other villain(s) in Avengers.
During a Disney sizzle presentation: "Shane Black called the movie a "technological thriller" and "crisis movie", set in the world of "international war, arms, and terror." He went on to suggest the film's villain would frighten modern audiences and put Tony Stark through the wringer."
There have been agents of the 10 Rings in the other two Iron Man movies.
10 Rings is a group of terror cells that will most likely be ethnically Middle Eastern, Ben Kingsley is their villain, he might very well be The Mandarin if the narrative is structured around US/Chinese cooperation. It's not like China can do anything besides block the Wikipedia page for The Mandarin. As long as you don't put Ben Kingsley in a fu manchu, I think the world would be happy to pretend that the racist origins didn't exist.
And, yeah, Scar Jo says she's not in Iron Man 3, but it would be great if they stranded her where ever Bucky fell off that train in Captain America so she could dig up Winter Soldier and push us into Cap 2.
Take all this as you will.