If you're planning to see a comic-accurate portrayal of The Mandarin when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters next month, you may not want to hold your breath. According to David Callaham, one of the writers behind the film, Tony Leung is playing a version of the character fans will not expect. The word comes in Shang-Chi's cover story in Empire Magazine, where Callaham says Leung's role is a fresh take on the character.
"Our version of the character is not The Mandarin in the way that people are expecting him to be," Callaham tells the magazine. "'The Mandarin' is a title that has been applied to him in the past by people that don't understand his culture. But he's a much deeper character than I think a lot of people would expect."
The relationship between Leung's The Mandarin — who will go by Wenwu in the film — and Simu Liu's eponymous Shang-Chi is going to serve as the basis for the story.
"It was for me the part of the Shang-Chi comics that I personally really connected to," Shang-Chi helmer Destin Daniel Cretton adds. "It was really important for us to find the root of that anger and that pain. That was the goal from the get-go, and probably the number one fear of all of us was creating a Mandarin that was further contributing to the 'Yellow Peril' type of stereotypes that are still flying around."
The Mandarin, a longtime Iron Man villain, was originally said to be the overarching antagonist of Iron Man 3. As fans found out in that movie, however, Sir Ben Kingsley was simply playing a character named Trevor Slattery, who was acting as a stand-in for the real Mandarin. Now, some eight years of Iron Man 3 first hit theaters, fans will finally be introduced to the real deal — or as close to the real deal as one can get in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and produced by Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz, with Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Charles Newirth serving as executive producers. David Callaham & Destin Daniel Cretton & Andrew Lanham wrote the screenplay for the film, which is currently set for release on September 3rd.
What other characters do you think will end up popping up in Shang-Chi? Let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter to chat all things MCU!