Perhaps phase 4 will see the real Mandarin drop in at long last.
Avengers: Infinity War may have confirmed Thanos as the greatest comic-book movie villain since The Dark Knight's Joker, so MCU phase 4 has a lot to live up to. The mad titan wasn't exactly the focus of Avengers: Endgame, but nevertheless, Josh Brolin makes his presence felt whenever on screen. He was teased throughout Marvel Studios' output for years, but once Infinity War reintroduced us to him in the first act, we knew why they'd let his grandeur build up. For years and years, we'll be talking about his impact on superhero cinema.
Phase 4 speculation has been in full effect after Endgame, but we're all waiting for Spider-Man: Far From Home before we make any concrete assertions. The trailer offers us a brief insight into a world without Tony Stark; his symbol lives on though, with Peter Parker determined to continue the Stark legacy. It's been confirmed as the final film in phase 3, so we suspect there may be a surprise reveal offered by a post-credits scene to set things up. We know how great the MCU is with surprises, but there's no telling who could surface in the final frames.
When looking back over the MCU's villains, Thanos truly stands out. However, it's for all the right reasons, unlike another — the Mandarin. The Iron Man 3 marketing teased Stark's arch nemesis as the most sincere and intimidating villain of the film series yet, and we couldn't wait to see the cocky hero finally feel the threat of someone so unique to the MCU. Most fans went in expecting to witness something they hadn't seen before and sadly they were right.
The Mandarin is without a doubt the most divisive superhero movie villain we've seen yet; why? It wasn't even the real Mandarin. There was a great deal of build up invested in their eventual encounter, but it's revealed that the character (played by Ben Kingsley) is merely an imposter named Trevor Slattery. Some found it to be a hilarious reveal, whereas the overwhelming majority felt it was an anticlimactic disappoint and a waste of potential.
Fortunately, we learnt soon after that the real Mandarin does exist within the MCU, but it's since been uncertain whether we'll ever see him reach screens. Although, as reported by Screenrant, Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige recently took to Reddit to answer a series of fan questions, one of which asked whether the real Mandarin would feature in future projects; he confirmed that he would.
It's exciting to anticipate his emergence, but it does seem a shame considering Iron Man sacrificed himself in Endgame. As Stark's nemesis in the comics, it'll be interesting to see how they'd incorporate him into the overarching narrative. Given the right treatment, fans could finally see the character portrayed effectively, but without Iron Man, it does seem that Shane Black's film made a regrettable mistake.
In other news, could Zac Efron join the MCU?
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