With Avengers: Endgame finally out in front of fans and Spider-Man: Far From Home's marketing secrets finally coming to light in the latest trailer, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a little less spoiler-phobic than it was a few weeks ago. That means the MCU's filmmakers can talk a bit more about what's been on their minds, and now Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has gotten in on that fun by taking the conversation directly to fans.
Feige, the famously secretive producer mastermind of the MCU, took to Reddit Wednesday night for an AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything) question-and-answer session. The page was, of course, flooded with questions from Marvel fans, many of them multi-part, about everything from the Marvel TV shows to the finer points of Endgame's plot to the future of the MCU. Feige was, of course, not going to reveal everything over the course of the evening, but he did manage to make a little bit of news along the way about one of the MCU's past villains.
Reddit user GentlemanGearGrinder asked Feige: "Are there any plans to incorporate the Ten Rings from the first Iron Man, or the 'real' Mandarin teased in 'All Hail the King' in the future?"
This could have been something Feige simply dodged or ignored, but instead he answered with one word: "Yes."
There's been a back door through which the Marvel supervillain known as the Mandarin could return to the MCU in some form for five years now, but no one in the MCU has really picked up the thread yet. In case you don't remember, the Mandarin was set up to be the chief villain in Iron Man 3, and was played by Ben Kingsley as the ruthless head of the Ten Rings terrorist organization. Late in that film, it was revealed that the "Mandarin" was actually Trevor Slattery, an English actor who'd been hired to play Mandarin by the film's real villain, Aldritch Killian (Guy Pearce), as part of a plot to distract from Killian's real plans.
The decision to make the Mandarin merely a fictional character within the realm of the MCU upset many fans who were looking forward to seeing Tony Stark's nemesis appear in all his live-action glory, but then the plot thickened. The Marvel One-Shot short film "All Hail the King," released in 2014, revealed that a real Mandarin does exist somewhere in the MCU, and that he would like to meet Trevor Slattery.
Now Feige's teasing that the real Mandarin will indeed be fodder for future MCU stories. The question is where the character fits in now, and we may already have an answer for that as well: Marvel's Shang-Chi film, which is moving forward with a writer at the moment, could be the perfect place to introduce an Asian supervillain like the Mandarin.
Sadly, we don't know any more about that at the moment, because Feige was content to stick to a one-word answer, but we did get more interesting tidbits from his AMAA. For instance, his favorite MCU meme is the Tony Stark eye-roll gif, and his favorite MCU moment is the "on your left" scene in Avengers: Endgame.
Feige also addressed a wide variety of other questions, including whether Stan Lee was able to see any of Endgame before his death (no, but he did get a "download of the full story" when he came in to shoot his cameo); how far ahead the MCU is planned (there's a "specific five-year plan at any given point" and a more general plan beyond that); and how exactly those Disney+ shows will tie in to the MCU. This was a particularly important question for many fans, particularly in the wake of the various Marvel TV shows on other platforms — including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the various Netflix series — growing increasingly distant in their connections to the MCU, and Feige had a clear answer.
According to Feige, the Disney+ shows will tie into the films "totally and completely."
To read more of Feige's responses to questions big and small, head over to his AMAA thread.