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What’s Going On With The Mandarin In ‘Iron Man 3′?

One of the most talked-about moments of the newly-released Iron Man 3 trailer is the first appearance of Ben Kingsley as classic Iron Man nemesis, the Mandarin. But is the movie Mandarin the same character as the one in the comic books…? Maybe not, according to the president of Marvel Studios.As MTV Splash Page points out, Kingsley’s Mandarin is not only clearly not Chinese — MTV describes him as “more ethnically ambiguous,” a fitting phrase for the actor who is of mixed Indian, English and potentially Russian descent — but also uses a pistol at one point during the trailer, an odd choice for a character who, in the comic books, has magic rings to help with the fighting. Maybe that’s because, according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, the movie Mandarin’s rings won’t do the same things as they do in the comics (Ice rays and fire beams are expressly ruled out), something that’s perhaps connected to the fact that the movie Mandarin won’t have an origin related to a crashed alien spaceship like his comic book counterpart.

For those who are worried that this’ll make the movie Mandarin a less interesting villain, there’s something else that Entertainment Weekly noticed in the trailer that might put paid to your worries: Why, exactly, does the character have a Captain America shield tattoo on the back of his neck? And why is there an “A” in the center of it? If that doesn’t make up for the loss of a freeze ray, I don’t know what will.

Iron Man 3 will be released May 3, 2013. Until then, you could always keep the speculation fires stoked by watching the trailer a few more times to see if you can pick up any other clues…

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