From the San Diego Comic-Con, director Jon Favreau has confirmed that super-villain the 'Mandarin', will appear in the upcoming Marvel feature "Iron Man".
The Mandarin is an oriental baddie inspired by the evil character from author Sax Rohmer's "Fu Manchu" 1920's pulp stories.
The Marvel character first appeared in the comic book series "Tales of Suspense" #50 (February 1964), starring 'Iron Man'.
The Mandarin's father was a wealthy man in mainland China. His mother an English noblewoman. Raised by his father's sister, he displayed scientific aptitude and became a Chinese government official, or 'mandarin'.
During China's revolution, the Mandarin was deprived of his position, palace and wealth. Looking to restore his position of power, he explored the forbidden 'Valley of Spirits', finding the remains of a starship, belonging to 'Axonn-Karr', a reptilian alien from the planet 'Maklu-4'.
The Mandarin studied 'Makluan' science and learned how to use ten rings he found in the starship, subsequently embarking on a quest for world domination.
Among his schemes was the sabotage of American missiles and spy planes built by 'Anthony Stark', aka 'Iron Man'. Stark donned his Iron Man armor and flew to China to investigate, becoming the Mandarin's principal enemy.
The Mandarin then constructed a gemlike device capable of broadcasting 'hate-rays', while assembling the 'Masters of Evil', including 'The Living Laser', 'Power Man', 'Swordsman', 'Enchantress' and 'Executioner'.
Although the Mandarin has no superhuman powers, he is an athlete with skills in martial arts, able to split wood, cinderblock and steel with his hands. When he surrounds himself with a protective force field, he can also split Iron Man's magnetic-beam reinforced armor.
The Mandarin's 'teleportation' technology, derived from Makluan science also enables him to kidnap people at will or teleport himself out of threatening situations.
But the principal personal weapons of the Mandarin are the ten rings he wears on his fingers, energy-conducting devices used to power Axonn-Karr's starship:
Left Pinkie - 'Ice Blast', able to encase anything into walls of ice;
Left Ring Finger - 'Mento-Intensifier', amplifying the Mandarin's mental energies, allowing him to control the minds of others;
Left Middle Finger - 'Electro Blast', unleashing lightning-like bolts;
Left Index Finger - 'Flame Blast', a flamethrower-like gout of flame;
Left Thumb - 'White Light', a laser-like beam;
Right Thumb - 'Matter Rearranger', which can rearrange the atoms and molecules of a substance;
Right Index Finger - 'Impact Beam', a blast of concussive or gravitational force;
Right Middle Finger - 'Vortex Beam', allowing him to fly by controlling air and wind;
Right Ring Finger - 'Disintegration Beam', requiring a twenty minute recharge between firings;
Right Pinkie - 'Black Light', creating areas of absolute blackness;
The Mandarin's continual use of the reptilian rings, which only he can command, eventually turned his hands green and scaly.
Marvel Studios has set a May 2, 2008 release date for "Iron Man".
Paramount Pictures will distribute.