There’s an interview over at CHUD.com with Jon Favreau, director of the announced Iron Man movie in the works, with some more information on the “Mandarin” character:
Q: And he’s a tough character because in his original appearances he’s a racist caricature.
Favreau: There are certain fears and certain strengths the character evokes that are applicable, but of course you have to completely remove any of that short sighted cultural ignorance that leads to any sort of bigotry in the storytelling. That isn’t to say those fears and shortcomings of Iron Man as relating to that character aren’t relevant.
Think about what made the Mandarin someone everybody gravitated to – if you look at the message boards, overwhelmingly that’s someone everyone wants to see. He was intelligent, he was powerful, he was mysterious. He was always one step ahead. Despite his suit and technology, Iron Man was always the underdog. Mandarin always had this Machiavellian web he would fall into. He was based in China which was then mysterious because it was Red China. Today China is mysterious in other ways because it’s Global China. China is the economic powerhouse that is quickly catching up and will eventually surpass us.
A comic book movie that capitalizes on fears of China’s future economic domination. Fun. And so timely. The moment they announced the villain was going to be Mandarin, I knew this was bad news. I’m not planning on seeing this one. Not willingly at least.
I probably am going to see this, if only to see Mandarin’s portrayal. I’m sure there will be much to talk about…