Did You Notice Mandarin In ‘Iron Man’? Neither Did We!
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Sci-Fi Wire spoke to Faran Tahir — the man who played Raza in the first Iron Man movie — exclusively about his possible inclusion in future chapters of the franchise. The information that he offered was pretty interesting and suggested that maybe…just maybe, his character from the first movie was set up to take on the role of legendary Iron Man villain — Mandarin.

Tahir’s Raza character was the main man when it came to Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) captivity. The group that he was leading is part of the infamous Ten Rings organization, which is run by Mandarin. Also worth note from the movie is how Raza references Ghenghis Kahn — an ancestor of Mandarin’s — as well as plays around with a gold ring which held a red stone, as rings are where Mandarin’s powers came from.

Here’s what Mr. Tahir thinks about the whole thing:

We’re still talking about it. It hasn’t been finalized yet, so we’ll see. The character didn’t die in the first one, and it is part of a larger story. Iron Man’s biggest nemesis is Mandarin, and my character is the only reference to Mandarin. So we’re still trying to figure out how it’s going to fit. The things to consider, I think, are that if it is a bigger story, how much of it is exposed [and] when.

Is he the conduit to Mandarin? Does he become Mandarin? Is it just another leader of the Ten Rings, you know, thing? All the allusions [in] my first speech was all about Genghis Khan and all that, which is Mandarin’s thing, you know? So I think they have created the character and the storyline very wisely. To leave it as open as possible so whatever they need to, you know, pull from, they will.

One interesting bit that could be considered argument against all of this is something mentioned on Mandarin’s Wiki page, where it claims that the novelization of the movie includes a line from Raza saying “…the man whose ring I wear.” I’ve personally not read the novelization, so I can’t confirm this, but it’s worthy of mention none-the-less.

I’m sure you kids have a much stronger knowledge of the Iron Man mythology than myself, so what do you think? Could Raza become super-baddie Mandarin in Iron Man 3?

[Source: via io9]


  1. im glad someone else noticed it. i figured it was just and Easter egg.

    Comment by Will — April 13, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  2. Yep, this was speculated quite a bit before the release of the movie. If he indeed is not the Mandarin, then he works for him. The ring thing I figured was a pretty big arrow pointing to “Yes, I have something to do with the Mandarin.” I too know very little about Iron-lore, so any knowledge I got was from pre-film hype blogs.

    Comment by Slipstream — April 13, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  3. Yeah, alot of people picked up on the 10 rings thing (or maybe just nerds like me…), but I thought that the book at least had strongly suggested that Raza was a lieuteneit, but not the head guy. I thought it would be awesome if we see more of the 10 rings in Iron Man 2 as an overarching enemy, so that all the clues will be there for the Mandarin to have been the overarching enemy all along. The 10 rings came from all over the world, so it wouldnt be hard to think of some baddies in IM2 as part of it.

    And the character is called the Mandarin. Kind of hard for a Middle Eastern guy to pull that off.

    Comment by CaptainOtter — April 13, 2009 @ 11:40 pm

  4. Yea, it was a dead give away from jump. When I saw it the theaters I was like “Huh, Mandarin. Well, there’s the sequel.”

    Comment by Handgun Jesus — April 14, 2009 @ 9:18 am

  5. You didn’t notice it? Really? You didn’t see the reference when the terrorist group was called by it’s name? The Ten Rings?


    Comment by Incredibutt — April 14, 2009 @ 11:04 am

  6. I hope that’s not The Mandarin. It would mean they watered him down even more than they did Doom in the FF movie. The Mandarin should be this super-badass martial artist even at the early stages of his career. If he’s just some guy who can be owned by a jury-rigged clunker-armor, then he’d be one of the most anti-climactic villains EVER!

    Comment by Michael — September 28, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

  7. I did some digging when I saw the Mandarin villain in the Iron Man 3 trailer. And, well, there you have it.

    Comment by Matthew Steven Embrey — March 5, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

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