Sounds Like Iron Man Won’t be Fighting the Mandarin Anytime Soon…

The Mandarin Comic BookIf you’re wondering if billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark aka Iron Man will ever battle the evil machinations of his greatest enemy The Mandarin anytime soon, you can probably stop wondering now. He definitely won’t be fighting the Chinese villain in “Iron Man 3″, that’s for sure, especially with this news that Marvel has partnered up with Chinese-based company DMG to fund the sequel.

The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment today announced the intention to co-produce IRON MAN 3 in China. Under the arrangement, DMG Entertainment will make an investment in the production of IRON MAN 3, manage the Chinese co-production process, and jointly produce the film in China. The Chinese portion of IRON MAN 3’s production will run through DMG Entertainment in coordination with Marvel Studios’ production and creative teams. DMG will also distribute IRON MAN 3 in China in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company China.

“The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film,” said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. “The co-production of IRON MAN 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title,” he added.

“We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring IRON MAN to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way. We are confident that Marvel’s stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China’s fast-growing film marketplace” said Rob Steffens, General Manager of Operations and Finance for Marvel Studios

In case you’re wondering why Chinese money and guaranteed more Chinese theater screenings for “Iron Man 3″ means no Mandarin in the “Iron Man” franchise, it’s a pretty simple explanation: the Chinese vet every movie that runs in their country, and any movie where the Chinese are portrayed as bad guys are no-gos. (See: the recent “Red Dawn” remake fiasco.) Then again, the Mandarin is supposed to be half-English, so…

The Mandarin, of course, was hinted at in the first “Iron Man” movie, as the Ten Rings terrorist organization that kidnapped ol Tony Stark and led to him becoming Iron Man in the first place. This, though, would seem to jive with previous reports that Ben Kingsley was in talks to play the villain in “Iron Man 3″, and that it would not be The Mandarin.

Written and directed by Shane Black, “Iron Man 3″ is scheduled to boot-jet its way back into theaters in May 3, 2013, with shooting expected this Summer in the States and China once Robert Downey Jr. and company have wrapped the worldwide promotional junket for “The Avengers”, which will feature ol Shellhead as one of the main heroes. (And yes, the irony that there will be no Mandarin for a film that’s being partially shot in China does not escape me one bit.)

The Mandarin and Iron Man Comic Book