We May Have Already Met Iron Man's Arch-Enemy

Did potentially-dead terrorist kidnapper and Jeff Bridges minion Raza have the future of the Iron Man movies hidden in plain sight in a key scene from summer's biggest vehicle for Robert Downey Jr.'s chest? That seems to be exactly what the actor behind said terrorist is suggesting in a recent interview. Find out more about the apparently important minor plot point you probably missed under the jump.

Faran Tahir's a busy man; besides an appearance in the last season of Lost, he's currently filming JJ Abrams' remake of Star Trek. But if you want to get him excited, ask him about his Iron Man role, and what importance it has to future installments in the series:

If you remember, one of my speeches is about Genghis Khan. So the people that know the story line know that [longtime Iron Man villain] the Mandarin is a descendent of Genghis Kahn. So there is that whole idea. Now through my [character's] obsession with Genghis Kahn, you can read in to it, but I think we wanted to leave it open. Because I think that there is a conduit to the Mandarin through the Ten Rings, [the terrorist group Raza leads of in the film]. Now, I don't know if in the coming movies, if my character becomes The Mandarin or if he is the conduit or right hand-man to him, but we wanted to leave that open.

But again, you can't have an Iron Man movie without The Mandarin references. That's why the terrorist group is called the Ten Rings [in the comics, The Mandarin wore a magic ring on each finger] and my character had an obsession with a gold ring with a red jewel that I wore on my finger. That's why I was twisting it and twirling it in the scene where I'm watching Tony Stark. So there is that linkage there and it is for the fans of the comic book.

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Admit it; you didn't catch any of that while you were actually watching the movie.

Mention of the Mandarin is interesting, because we know (courtesy of Marvel Comics' Mark Millar) that the villain was in earlier drafts of the first movie; does this mean that all the easter eggs that Tahir mentions are leftovers of that plan, or part of a long term set-up for a sequel? Tahir himself is hedging his bets:

There hasn't been any concrete talk, yet. I think what they are trying to do is figure out what is the smartest way to go. My guess is that at some point The Mandarin needs to be brought to the forefront. What route they end up taking, we don't know yet. Those conversations are actually on going as we speak... I think that as we go on in the next few months, as they get closer to figuring out what route they are going to take, we will know a little bit more about it.

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The second movie in the series - before the character takes a detour into The Avengers - is due in 2010, so don't hold your breath waiting for answers.

Actor Faran Tahir on 'Iron Man' and 'Star Trek' [Comic Book Resources]

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