"IRON MAN 3" SPOILERS AHEAD
So just who is The Mandarin?
As we saw in "Iron Man 3," Ben Kingsley played Trevor Slattery, a failed British actor who was pretending to be The Mandarin - the most dangerous terrorist in the world and the leader of the mysterious Ten Rings organisation.
While Slattery's take on the Mandarin was an apparent smoke screen thought up by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), the Ten Rings is a real group in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the subsequent short film "Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King," we see an incarcerated Trevor Slattery broken out of jail by a minion of the 'real' The Mandarin.
So who is the real Mandarin? Out doing promotion for "The Boxtrolls," Ben Kingsley teased to IGN that he might know. In fact it might be him after all:
"Has the Mandarin invented Trevor, or has Trevor invented the Mandarin? Which is which? The Mandarin could be so supremely intelligent that he could have said, 'You know what? I'll invent this actor, and he will be my mask.' You know, which is which? Who's pulling the strings.
Now, this is me just free-thinking here, but I would love to revisit that world. But Trev, bless him, may have made an indelible mark on that world. So everyone might say, 'Is it Trev under there?' So they'd have to approach it quite carefully, and so would I, but I would love to go back to that world, yeah."
Kingsley was also asked if he would ever return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in another role? He says:
"[They'll] always see Trevor in whatever figure [I do]. So, it's up to the powers that be to decide whether or not they'd want to introduce Trevor, whether or not they'd want to reintroduce the Mandarin."