Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, has gone on the record to defend Iron Man 3's controversial plot twist involving Mandarin.

For those who need a refresher, the Shane Black film teased the iconic character's on-screen debut. Fans were excited that one of Tony Stark's most infamous villains would be going head-to-head with Robert Downey Jr. However, halfway through the film, it was revealed that this version of Mandarin was merely an imposter — an actor named Trevor Slattery.

The twist served as a diversion away from the movie's true villain, Aldrich Killian. It turns out that Trevor Slattery was merely pretending to be the organized crime boss to make Tony suffer. Fans weren't thrilled with this decision, which felt like a bait-and-switch.

It was hyped up for so long that the Mandarin would play a key role in the movie, and they were disappointed that it all turned out to be a ruse. So Marvel Studios backpedaled. In the direct-to-video short film, Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King, it was revealed that the real Mandarin is still out there. Now, we know that we will meet him in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

But Feige still stands by the choice to introduce us to a fake Mandarin in Iron Man 3. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, he explained why the Mandarin couldn't have made his real debut in an Iron Man movie.

"We only wanted to do it when we felt we could do it supreme justice and really showcase the complexity of this character, which frankly we couldn’t do in an Iron Man movie because an Iron Man movie is about Iron Man," he stated. "So Shane Black, in his film and his script that he co-wrote, came up with this fun twist that we love to this day, and it turned out to be Trevor Slattery."

He wrapped up his point by teasing the real Mandarin's arrival in Shang-Chi, where he will be portrayed by Tony Leung Chiu-wai. "Just because that version wasn’t real didn’t mean there’s not a leader of the Ten Rings organization, and that is who we meet for the first time in Shang-Chi," said Feige.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released on September 3.

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