Perhaps the most controversial twist in the 13-year history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came in 2013's Iron Man 3, when it was revealed that Ben Kingsley's Mandarin wasn't actually a villain at all, but rather an actor named Trevor Slatter who was hired to play a fake version of the Mandarin. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings deals with the story of the actual Mandarin villain, as well as his Ten Rings organization, making Slattery even more of a joke. Rather than ignore the character, however, Shang-Chi actually utilizes Trevor Slattery as part of its story, bringing him back into the MCU fold for the first time in eight years.
WARNING: This story contains spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings! Continue reading at your own risk...
Marvel Studios actually spoiled the surprise return of Kingsley's Trevor Slattery at the red carpet premiere of Shang-Chi last month. After Kingsley was spotted at the event, he confirmed that his character was indeed making a comeback. So most folks going to see Shang-Chi this weekend know that Kingsley appears, but exactly how he returns is pretty interesting.
Everything about Slattery's appearance in Shang-Chi ties back to the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King, which is now on Disney+. In that short, a member of the real Ten Rings organization arrives to break Slattery out of prison and take him to the head of the organization so he can be killed. Well, as it turns out, that's exactly what happens.
About halfway through this new movie, Shang-Chi is thrown in the prison at his father's Ten Rings compound, along with Katy and Xialing. Down in the underground holding cell is where they find Trevor, who looks as though he's been in a prison for the better part of a decade. His hair and beard have grown out, he's even less mentally stable than he used to be, and he's ecstatic to find out that the mythical creature he's been hanging out with for years isn't just a hallucination.
Upon meeting Shang-Chi, Trevor explains that Wenwu had him broken out of jail and planned to kill him, but had a change of heart and decided to keep him alive. Trevor credits his acting ability for changing Wenwu's mind but we never really know for sure.
Perhaps the most surprising part of Trevor's return is that he isn't just a clever cameo in the film. Once he links up with Shang-Chi, Trevor sticks around for the rest of the story, taking part in the action and often providing comic relief.
Are you glad to see Trevor Slattery back in the MCU? Do you think he'll pop up again after Shang-Chi? Let us know in the comments!