After the events of Avengers: Endgame, it looked like all of the Iron Man storylines had been wrapped up. Tony Stark died saving the universe, and earlier in the MCU, we learned that the Ten Rings and the Mandarin were a false front for Aldrich Killian…except they weren’t. The Marvel One-Shot, “All Hail the King” revealed that the Mandarin and the Ten Rings were real and they were less than pleased with Trevor Slattery using their name. But since then, the Ten Rings seems to have largely phased out the MCU, a terrorist organization rendered even smaller by the galactic events unfolding in the series.
But it looks like we’re not done with them just yet. In a Reddit AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything), Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said that the Mandarin and the Ten Rings are in the MCU’s future:
Without going in to details about developing projects, 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?
It makes sense to keep the characters around since they’ve been part of the MCU since the beginning and not every movie can be at the cosmic stakes. Sometimes you want a superhero to destroy a terrorist organization, and so why not have it be the Ten Rings? But since the Mandarin and Iron Man are so linked in the comics, I can’t help but wonder if The Mandarin will resurface to fight a new Iron Man. Riri Williams, perhaps?
If you’re wondering how far ahead Feige thinks about these things, he revealed that they usually have a five-year plan with broader goals beyond that:
“We usually work with a specific 5 year plan at any given point but often have a general plan that extends much, much further.”
So perhaps within the next five years, we might see the “real” Mandarin even if Trevor Slattery was an utter delight.