After Tony Stark has defeated an iron-suited Jeff Bridges and a bird-loving, whip-happy Mickey Rourke, who else will dare stand in his way? Good question. Director Jon Favreau thinks it should be The Mandarin, the arch-villain of the Iron Man comic universe.
If you heard "The Mandarin" and had no idea who he is, you're not alone. Not every superhero rogue's gallery can be Batman's, filled with all sorts of iconic foes. Sometimes, you've just got to sit back and accept that you don't get The Joker, you get some dude with a politically incorrect moniker and ten magical power rings.
The observant (and the geeky) already know that The Mandarin has made his presence already known in the current Iron Man movie universe. His private army was re-imagined as a terrorist group in the first Iron Man (even if their mystical ringleader was never mentioned by name) and he's apparently responsible for getting Whiplash to Monaco in Iron Man 2. It's only natural for him to make his grand entrance in the third Iron Man adventure since Tony's been ruffling his feathers for two movies now.
Favreau, though, is hesitant, mainly because of one aspect of the character:
"The problem with The Mandarin is, the way it's depicted in the comic books, you don't want to see that. He also has 10 magical rings, and it just doesn't feel right for our thing, so it's either tech-based or the rings are not really rings."
I disagree with Favreau on the whole "magic" issue. Do we really need another movie where Tony Stark fights yet another guy whole stole his technology and built a suit? A villain with true magical abilities is the next logical dramatic step. A scientist like Stark can comprehend and deal with a villain utilizing technology. How will he react to an opponent who is purely mystical? It'll make for interesting drama, for sure. Not to mention, if they plan on allowing the Norse God of Thunder to team up with Iron Man in The Avengers, they better get over being averse to magic real fast.