Trevor Slattery's back, and he's got some new friends and, perhaps, some old enemies.
A few months ago, we got confirmation that Iron Man 3 co-star Sir Ben Kingsley will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he called the project he was working on a "secret." Then Latino Review reported that Kingsley's secret Marvel project would be a Marvel "One-Shot" short film focusing on his post-Iron Man 3 adventures. Now we've got confirmation that Kingsley's one-shot is indeed on the way.
Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican revealed today that the upcoming short All Hail the King, which will appear on the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray in February, will indeed focus on life after Iron Man 3 for Kingsley's Trevor Slattery, the drug-addicted, out-of-work actor hired to play the Mandarin as a front for real villain Aldrich Killian's (Guy Pearce) Extremis-ridden schemes.
The short, written and directed by Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce, will feature Slattery enjoying a life of celebrity at Seagate Prison (there's a new piece of Marvel Comics continuity entering the cinematic universe), where he entertains the other prisoners and gets attention from a documentary filmmaker (Scoot McNairy) who's attempting to tell the story of what really happened in Tony Stark's last adventure while also delving into Slattery's past as an actor (he had a pilot for a Miami Vice-style show called Caged Heat in the '80s) and attempting to discover whether the Ten Rings terrorist organization that the Mandarin claimed to lead is a real group. If they are, according to Pearce, they're gonna be a little pissed.
“Imagine a real terrorist organization whose beliefs were long held and religious for thousands of years, and imagine a drunk, British actor coming along and essentially telling the world that he’s the face of your organization,” Pearce said. “I think they would be right to be quite angry.”
This theme recalls Latino Review's claim from back in October that the short would feature the real Mandarin turning up to seek revenge on his imposter. If the Ten Rings group is real, their leader could actually be the Mandarin, but Marvel's not about to spoil a big villain reveal like that just yet. What we do know, though, thanks to Pearce, is that this organization seems not only to be real, but also to have ties to Tony's past.
"There’s lots of exposition in lots of different cuts of Iron Man 3 that, in the end, kind of got snubbed out. It’s kind of said in Iron Man 3 but very briefly, Aldrich essentially took a thing that was real, historically real and culturally real, and co-opted it for his own means — essentially co-opting an ancient terrorist concept," Pearce said. "What [All Hail the King] does is show that everything in Iron Man 1 [involving the terrorist group] was canon all along any way. We kind of knew The Ten Rings were a real terrorist cell."
Breznican also notes that the short serves not only as an interesting coda for Iron Man 3, but as a possible entryway to Iron Man 4 ... if we get an Iron Man 4. Pearce isn't going that far, but he does acknowledge that All Hail the King generates some new possibilities in the universe.
"I think short movies in general, whether they’re Marvel ones or not, you kind of want them to feel like they’re opening you up to a bigger world," Pearce said. "Yeah, I definitely think there are – the non-spoiler way for me to say it — by the end of the short, there are definitely a lot of exciting other places that are brought up in it that could then go in the Marvel universe. You know, whether that’s an Iron Man movie or another one going into Phase Two or Three."
So, Trevor Slattery is definitely back for another (brief) turn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The question now is: Will the real Mandarin follow? We'll find out when the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray lands on Feb. 25.
For the full interview with Pearce, head over to EW. For a first look at the short, check out EW's photos from the film in the gallery below.