Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has revealed that there are, in fact, plans to revisit an infamous hanging plot thread from the studio's Iron Man franchise.
During an AMA on the r/MarvelStudios subreddit, the producer was asked if any of Marvel's plans for the future involved the Iron Man series' Ten Rings terrorist group or their mysterious leader -- that is, the "real" Mandarin that was teased in the direct-to-video short "All Hail the King."
Feige simply responded, "Yes."
The Ten Rings was introduced in 2008's Iron Man as the militant group that kidnapped Tony Stark, setting into motion his transformation into the now-famous superhero. Iron Man 3 seemingly introduced the Mandarin, a classic Iron Man villain and the leader of the Ten Rings.
Over the course of the film, however, the "Mandarin" was revealed to be an actor named Trevor Slattery, who pretended to be the terrorist leader at the behest of the film's true antagonist Aldrich Killian, who ultimately assumes the Mandarin name for himself. For a short while, this twist seemed to be where the Mandarin's involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended.
That was, of course, until Marvel released the short film "All Hail the King" as a part of the home video release of Thor: The Dark World. "All Hail the King" revisits Trevor Slattery, who is visited in prison by a documentary filmmaker. The filmmaker reveals he is actually a member of the Ten Rings and that the true Mandarin is still out there. The short ends on a cliffhanger where Slattery is told he is going to be broken out of prison so he can meet the person he pretended to be.
Given how long it's been since this revelation, some Marvel fans assumed this particular plot thread had simply been abandoned. This new statement from Feige completely changes the conversation, all but confirming we will meet the actual Mandarin at some point down the road.
For fairly obvious reasons, Feige did not offer any specifics past his simple affirmation. It is worth mentioning that another redditor cited purported leaks that suggest the Mandarin could be the main villain of the upcoming Shang-Chi movie. For the time being, though, these rumors remain unsubstantiated.
As such, we'll have to wait for an official announcement from Marvel Studios regarding what the future holds for this character.