One of the big surprises at San Diego Comic Con in July was that The Mandarin, the real Mandarin, would be the villain in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Marvel even managed to get legendary actor Tony Leung to play him.
In an interview with The Observer, Destin Daniel Cretton talks about how they hope to break stereotypes; and The Mandarin is a good character to do that with:
“I think [Leung] brings a humanity that we need for that character,” the director explained. “We are not looking to contribute anymore to the Asian stereotypes that we have seen both in cinema and pop culture. We’re hoping to just show some different sides to both Asian-Americans and Chinese-Americans and Mainland Chinese characters. Tommy is such an incredible actor and I’m excited to have him help us break some of those stereotypes because that villain could easily become a punchline.”
As everyone knows, The Mandarin was a red herring villain in Iron Man 3, and Shane Black dismissed the original character as a “racist caricature” before the movie came out. Then the Marvel One Shot “All Hail the King” revealed that there was a real Mandarin out there somewhere, and fans have been waiting to see who it really is. We’ll all see him on the big screen when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters in February of 2021.