The first Iron Man movie hinted that his ultimate foe would be the Mandarin, the Fu Manchu-esque villain who's long tormented Tony in the comics. But maybe we've already met the movie Mandarin? Spoilers below.
The Iron Man movie signaled it would avoid some of the more embarrassing/troubling aspects of The Mandarin by putting his organization, the Ten Rings, in Afghanistan rather than China or Vietnam. It was hinted that Ten Rings was some sort of criminal organization that sought regional geopolitical dominance. But the main member of Ten Rings we met in the first movie was Raza, the thug who kept Tony prisoner in that cave with the improbably self-sacrificing scientist.
But now Faran Tahir, who played Raza in the first movie (and who plays a Starship captain in the new Star Trek movie) says he might be back for Iron Man 3:
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?
And not surprisingly, Tahir says he'd be delighted if his character turned out to be the Mandarin, the Big Bad of the Iron Man saga. But of course, the movies could also bring him back to serve as the real Mandarin's henchman. Just, please, keep the Sax Rohmer overtones to a minimum. [Sci Fi Wire]