Who Is The 'Fake' Mandarin? Everything You Need To Remember About Trevor Slattery Before Shang-Chi

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" is bringing a new superhero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the Phase Four film has an interesting tie to one of the Marvel Studios sequels from Phase Two, thanks to the inclusion of both the real Mandarin (played by Tony Leung) and the fake Mandarin, who turned out to be an actor named Trevor Slattery (played by Sir Ben Kingsley) putting on a villainous front created by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) in "Iron Man 3."

If it's been awhile since you've watched the "Iron Man" sequel and you need a refresher on Trevor Slattery's place in the MCU before he returns in "Shang-Chi," we've got everything you need to know right here.

You'll Never See Me Coming

In "Iron Man 3," The Mandarin was portrayed as a bit of a theatrical terrorist leader in charge of the Ten Rings, the nefarious organization that was originally responsible for attacking and kidnapping Tony Stark in the original "Iron Man." There were various explosive terrorist attacks carried out across the United States, all claimed by The Mandarin as a way of teaching America a few lessons, as he menacingly explained in a series of videos addressing Tony Stark and citizens from an undisclosed location.

However, in a surprise twist, "Iron Man 3" revealed that The Mandarin was actually just a down-on-his-luck actor named Trevor Slattery who struggled with a drug addiction, legal problems, and carried himself with a nonchalant disposition that was nothing like The Mandarin at all. Aldrich Killian, founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), hired Slattery to portray The Mandarin and take responsibility for his failed experiments with Extremis nanotechnology that caused his human subjects to explode. Instead of an intimidating villain, Marvel Studios turned The Mandarin into a bumbling joke and a patsy for another villain.

This led fans to believe that The Mandarin didn't actually exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it actually upset some that such a prominent villain from Marvel Comics was being treated so dismissively. But Marvel Studios squashed that assumption (or maybe did damage control due to negative reactions) with a short film called "All Hail the King" that was released with "Thor: The Dark World" on home video and has been made available on Disney+ as a prelude to "Shang-Chi."

All Hail the King

In the Marvel One-Shot entitled "All Hail the King," Marvel Studios revealed what happened to Trevor Slattery after the events of "Iron Man 3." Though Trevor wasn't actually The Mandarin, he was still part of some illegal terrorist activities, so he was sent to prison. But thanks to his portrayal of The Mandarin, he amassed quite a fanbase amid the general public.

"All Hail the King" finds Trevor being interviewed for some kind of big person-of-interest piece by journalist Jackson Norriss (Scoot McNairy). In his cushy cell, Trevor answers some questions about his past, including a failed TV pilot for CBS called "Caged Heat." But the interview takes a surprising turn when Jackson informs Trevor about the Ten Rings, which is said to have laid dormant for awhile but is slowly rising back to prominence and power.

Jackson isn't simply a journalist, but a member of the Ten Rings who has come to kill Trevor for disrespecting the real Mandarin. More accurately, he's come to extract Trevor from prison and take him to meet The Mandarin, and it's implied that the villain will be dispatching with Trevor himself, even if the clueless actor still has no idea what's going on.

Where is Trevor Slattery Now?

You can imagine our surprise when Marvel Studios recently confirmed that Sir Ben Kingsley would be reprising his role as Trevor Slattery in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings." It's been seven years since "All Hail the King" arrived, and everyone had pretty much assumed that Trevor Slattery was dead at the hands of The Mandarin, even though we weren't sure when/if the villain would make a legitimate debut in the MCU. But it seems that Trevor survived long enough to appear in the upcoming Marvel movie that will introduce us to Tony Leung as the real Mandarin, who also happens to be the father of Shang-Chi.

We're not going to spoil what Trevor Slattery's role will be in "Shang-Chi," but let's just say that you'll be surprised by what he brings to the table. Since Kingsley's performance as Slattery has been one of the most entertaining in the MCU, regardless of how you felt about the Mandarin psych-out, having him back will be a delight.

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" arrives in theaters on September 3, 2021.