The Iron Man 3 trailer was released recently. In it, there's a villain who seems to be targeting Tony Stark. It seems like he's trying to prove a point about superheroes - that there is "no such thing".

It seems to me like we're meant to understand that the villainous narrator is this guy:

a handsome dandy

He's got a distinctive tattoo on the back of his neck that almost looks like Captain America's shield:

enter image description here

He's also got some distinctive jewelry (though that isn't visible in the shot where he's taking off his hood, above):

enter image description here

Who is this guy? Are there any hints in the trailer about what existing Marvel villain we might be battling here? Are we going to roughly follow any existing Marvel plots, or are this story and its villain new territory?

What intel do we have on the Iron Man 3 villain?

  • It's Lo Pan. Will Jack team up with Tony?
    – John O
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 0:24
  • 16
    In hindsight, this is an amusing question. Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 2:47

4 Answers 4


The villain is Mandarin. He is a very famous rival of Iron Man and the Avengers.

From IronManOrigin

Another early enemy of Shellhead's was the Mandarin, an arch-criminal who just happened to be an Asian communist, part of the Yellow Peril craze of characters of the time. Over the years, writers have shaped the Mandarin into Iron Man’s arch-enemy, the Lex Luthor to his Superman. And what we see is that from his very start, going back to his creation in the jungles of Vietnam, Iron Man was juxtaposed to communism--a man of steel alloy representing Truth, Justice and the American Way, fighting for freedom and capitalism during the Cold War. But times change. And as a matter of course, the Mandarin has evolved from a diehard Red into an Eastern mystical character trading in the Black Arts. Recent storyline aside, he also renounces all technology, again making him a perfect enemy for our hero. And where does that put Iron Man?

More or less Iron Man represents technological evolution and Mandarin represents magical power.

  • 2
    Ooooooo... (TVTropes)
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 0:32
  • 7
    So, it has come to this. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 0:34
  • I claim favoritism on vote count :)
    – Ashterothi
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 5:41
  • Rest assured, I am nobody's favorite. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 16:04
  • Bam! An upset accept of the lower-voted answer! (This one gives me more background not only on Mandarin but on the conflict between Mandarin and Iron Man, both in-universe and in the culture at large.)
    – hairboat
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 15:25

The person pictured is The Mandarin. However, the Mandarin himself (i.e. the primary antagonist) is eventually revealed to actually be

Aldrich Killian - A researcher who helped develop the Extremis project.

He offers this quote:

Killian: You said you wanted the Mandarin. You're looking right at him. It was always me, Tony...

This is a fairly large deviation from the established comic canon, not least because The Mandarin is no longer a super-villain with fantastic abilities or rings of power.

  • 3
    So Jack, We meet again...
    – Ashterothi
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 23:55
  • 4
    Also worth noting that Mandarin has already been hinted at in the "Iron Man" film series; the terrorist organization in the first film was called The Ten Rings (ironman.wikia.com/wiki/Ten_Rings_(film)) Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 0:14
  • IMDB's counting skills seem even worse than JKR, Slytherincess, and Rat Army combined! That's only 3 rings! Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 14:13
  • @DVK There are 8 in that picture. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 16:05
  • in the wikipedia page from my answer it describes all 10 rings
    – Ashterothi
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 16:57

The Mandarin in the comics has superpowers that he gets from using the rings.

But in Iron Man 3, he is an intelligent and very powerful leader of the Ten Rings, a terrorist group meant to be named after the 10 rings he wears in the comics. But he has no superpowers.

The Ten Rings group is also shown in the first Iron Man as the terrorist group that kidnaps Tony at the start of the movie.


That character, as the other answers have noted, is the Mandarin; the film version of which is a relatively-mundane (no power rings or dragon-alien link) leader of a very organised vaguely middle-eastern terrorist organisation called the Ten Rings.

However, further information revealed in the film (and kept secret very well in the marketing material) shows that (WARNING: major, major SPOILER ahead)

The Mandarin is actually a drug-addled actor hired by the real villain of the piece, Aldritch Killian, in order to record some messages to claim responsibility for high-profile explosions, thereby manufacturing a terrorist threat and furthering his plans.
...and he's bloody marvellous, darling.

  • 4
    MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT! (I just wanted to add this, it could really ruin your experience if read before watching the movie ;)
    – Sentry
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 10:09
  • 1
    @Sentry - for the record, it ruins your experience even AFTER you've seen the movie.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:30

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