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Main Character Index > Villainous Organizations > Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.)


Spoilers for all works set prior to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are unmarked.

Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.)

Appearances: Iron Man 3

A scientific research and development company founded and owned by Aldrich Killian. They are the developers of Extremis, an advanced form of gene therapy that heals and regenerates injuries, deformities, and even psychological damage.

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Leadership

    Dr. Aldrich Killian / "The Mandarin" (Usurper) 

Dr. Aldrich Killian

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/killian_aldrich.jpg
"I'll own the War on Terror."

Species: Enhanced human

Portrayed By: Guy Pearce

Voiced By: Alfredo Gabriel Basurto (Latin-American Spanish dub), Luis Posada (European Spanish dub), Masato Obara (Japanese dub), Lionel Tua (French dub), Frédéric Paquet (Canadian French dub)

Appearances: Iron Man 3

"You gave me the greatest gift that anybody's ever given me: Desperation."

The founder and CEO of A.I.M., who steals the name of the Ten Rings' legendary leader for his own selfish and shortsighted ends.


  • 90% of Your Brain: Downplayed, but still there. When showing off the "live feed" of his brain, he makes a point to show off a small chunk of his brain that doesn't seem to be used very much. At least, not while he isn't using any Extremis powers.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: He's way better looking here than he is in the comics.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, Aldrich Killian felt guilty about creating Extremis and killed himself at the start of the story. In the movie, he is instead the very much alive founder of the villainous AIM organization and impersonating the MCU version of the Mandarin.
  • Adorkable: Before becoming a bad guy. Just look at the way he gushes when Tony talks to him.
  • Ascended Extra: Aldrich Killian was a minor character written out within the first few pages of the "Extremis" arc in the comics. The Iron Man 3 version is the main antagonist.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The leader of AIM, and the only Extremis Super Soldier who fights Tony to a stand-still in the Final Battle.
  • Ax-Crazy: Only when his blood is really up. Normally, he's rather friendly and calm.
  • Badass Boast: Near the end of the film, Killian gives us this, which doubles as a Blasphemous Boast given his theft of the Mandarin's name:
    "No more false faces. You said you wanted 'The Mandarin'...you're looking right at him. It was always me, Tony, right from the start. I AM THE MANDARIN!"
  • Badass Bookworm: He was always a brilliant scientist, but he also became an outstanding martial artist after embarking on his quest. He also has super-strength from Extremis.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: After his rise to power, Killain takes to wearing business suits.
  • Beard of Evil: Had one during the early stages of Extremis trials, as video evidence shows.
  • Beneath the Mask: Killian managed to rebuild himself, both physically and psychologically, into a good-looking, wealthy, confident ubermensch. In the scene where he admits Pepper is imprisoned as his trophy, the mask slips, and we briefly see the nervous, weak Stalker with a Crush he's always been.
  • Big Bad: He's closely involved with fighting Tony in the third film, over a petty joke of Tony's from years ago. In fact, he's the one behind nearly everything in the film, from Extremis to the fake Mandarin.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: At the beginning of the third film, it's not clear how much he is working with the Mandarin, but they clearly both have the same general "destroy Tony Stark" goal. In reality, while the Mandarin does exist (as revealed in All Hail the King), the one we see here is a fake, and Killian is behind the whole thing, using the fake Mandarin to cover-up his illegal experiments.
  • Big "NO!": Twice. First, when Tony Stark seals him in the Mark 42 armor to blow him up. Second, his last words as Pepper sends one of Tony's missiles at him.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Played with. He does call himself the Mandarin, but he's an impostor and only one of three people known to use the name. He's much closer to Mallen, but never uses that name.
  • Composite Character:
    • He invents Extremis like comics Aldrich Killian, but also has the fiery powers of Mallen, the villain of the "Extremis" storyline, and the dragon tattoos, martial arts skills, and Social Darwinist mindset of modern comic book incarnations of the Mandarin.
    • He also bears many similarities to Gregory Stark.
    • A few aspects of his character come from M.O.D.O.K., head of AIM in the comics. Fittingly, in the non-canon video game sequel, he becomes M.O.D.O.K. after his "death" in the film.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: What with being the founder of AIM (terrorist sponsor!) and all.
  • Create Your Own Villain: It's Tony Stark's petty joke back in 1999 that sets Killian on his Start of Darkness.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: The true mastermind of the film, leading the criminal organization AIM in drumming up fake terrorist attacks.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: He is killed by an Extremis-afflicted Pepper Potts, while in the comics, Killian's death is a suicide.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His whole vendetta is because Stark blew him off once thirteen years ago. His real crime spree is more of a combined cover-up for the failures of AIM's Extremis technology and scam/racket to create demand for the super-soldiers AIM can supply. Tony's decision to investigate and openly oppose him brings him even more directly into the line of fire.
  • The Dog Bites Back: It's not Tony who finishes him off. It's Pepper, whom he kidnapped and injected with Extremis.
  • Evil Counterpart: Killian is a brilliant and arrogant weapon designer like Tony Stark, who is attracted to Pepper and has experimented on his own body. However, he uses his creations for evil instead of atoning for past mistakes. Also in contrast, Killian was insecure and fragile, whereas Tony was just a jerk and so full of himself that he didn't notice his glaring problems.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: He's obviously trying to be the kind of villain who has a horribly and memorably sadistic sense of humor. The problem is that his jokes are dull and labored, even given their sadism.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Can generate temperatures of up to 3000 degrees with his skin (see Touch of Death below), and in one scene he breathes fire.
  • Evil Is Petty: Goes to extreme lengths to spite Tony just because the guy was a jerk to him back on New Year's Eve of 1999.
  • Evil Makeover: Became much more sharp-dressed after his Start of Darkness.
  • Evil Plan: The payoff of his plotting in Iron Man 3 is to monopolize the War on Terror by supplying both terrorists and the military that hunts them. On a personal level, he wants Pepper to be his trophy and Tony to suffer.
  • Expy: His status as a character who steals the mantle of the Mandarin makes him one of Xin Zhang from Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
  • Fanservice Pack: Thanks to the Extremis, he's gotten buff.
  • Faux Affably Evil: His initial charming demeanor only makes his true spiteful insanity all the more disturbing.
  • Foil: Tony is incredibly smooth, born into wealth, and has a heart of gold. Killian used to be a loser, had to work his way up to the top, and is a sociopath.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Goes from being a Hollywood Nerd to a Corrupt Corporate Executive who's the head of AIM. This trope is the MO of his plan — to everyone besides the audience and Tony, he's still just a nobody.
  • Genius Cripple: Before he co-created Extremis, he needed a cane to walk.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Averted. Co-writer Drew Pearce revealed that Killian's line "It was me, from the very start" just refers to his being the mastermind of the Extremis scheme. He was never the real Mandarin — he stole the name from the Ten Rings.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: His hatred for Tony comes from his jealousy over Stark's successes.
  • Healing Factor: The main power given to him by Extremis. It's powerful enough that he can regrow limbs in seconds and can even recover, albeit severely weakened, from being caught in an explosion.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: His development of Extremis backfires big time when Pepper offs him for good.
  • Hollywood Nerd: In 1999, he had buck teeth, wore big glasses, and is socially awkward. By 2013, he's an attractive, svelte man who also runs a scientific brain trust. However, it's just a facade for his true vile nature.
  • I Have Your Wife: He kidnaps Tony's girlfriend Pepper, and the President, so that the heroes will stay out of the way.
  • Karmic Death: He is killed by Pepper, who was given Extremis powers because of him.
  • Kick the Dog: He murders Maya, his chief Extremis researcher, for no reason other than to pile more misery on Tony.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When it turns out that the Mandarin we see on TV is just a fake, Killian's character becomes much darker to contrast with Trevor Slattery becoming progressively silly. Most humorous moments after The Reveal are few and far between, and the death count escalates.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Is this due to Extremis. During the final battle, he's able to keep up with an armored-up Tony in hand-to-hand combat (and at one point, dodge a rapid-fire barrage of repulsor blasts from Shotgun, Tony's fastest armor, with ease), and strong enough to easily rip Tony's armors apart with nothing but his red-hot hands.
  • Loony Fan: He was Tony's big fan back in 1999, but Tony saw him as a nuisance. He wasn't actually loony, but Tony, being a jerk at the time, just blew him off.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He's been preparing for this role for years, ever since Tony snubbed him. His ego means it's pretty clear from the start that he's behind some of the things happening to Tony. In fact, he's the real Big Bad behind all of the things that happen to Tony in Iron Man 3, and assumes the mantle of the Mandarin at the climax (though he's actually not the real one). The apparent Mandarin is just an actor he hired.
  • Meaningful Name: A Mandarin was the name for an ancient Chinese "advisor to the King". As "the power behind the throne", this makes the name sort of fitting for Killian, even though he turns out in All Hail the King to have merely stolen it from the real Mandarin. He was likely aware of the meaning behind the name and decided that it suited him well.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: His last name sounds like "Kill" + "Villain".
  • Nightmare Face: After surviving getting blown up by the Mark 42 armor, his face is horribly burnt with Glowing Eyes of Doom and Throat Light.
  • Playing with Fire: Killian is the closest thing to a fire-elemental supervillain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far, which is especially notable given that past Iron Man villains tended to have no superpowers and instead used Powered Armor, much like Tony.
  • Revenge Before Reason: He targets Tony Stark in retaliation for Stark's scorning of him and his projects in 1999, even though it's to the detriment of his main plans.
  • Race Lift: He's a Caucasian man based on modern incarnations of the Mandarin, who's half-Chinese and half-white, although All Hail the King reveals that he himself was never actually the Mandarin.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: After his Start of Darkness, he starts wearing business suits.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Pepper didn't recognize him at first; he says he spent five years with a personal trainer. Except that he actually gave himself a Super Serum makeover with Extremis.
  • Shrinking Violet: Originally, he was a shy and socially awkward guy.
  • The Sociopath: The only clear-cut one in the Iron Man series. Charming? Check, though in a superficial, Faux Affably Evil way. Manipulative? Check. Lack of morals or empathy? Double check — just look what he did to poor Maya. Grandiose sense of self-worth? The guy was trying to own the War on Terror and in a sense thought himself a god. Poor impulse control? He had that largely under control until Tony kinda blew him up — then again, poor Maya.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: During his Famous Last Words: "I AM THE MANDARIN!!!" Though he's really not.
  • Super Prototype: He uses one against Tony. Specifically, himself. The AIM videos Tony watches imply Killian was the first human test subject of Extremis. Later, Killian is the only one who manages to take Iron Man one-on-one.
  • Tattooed Crook: He has a set of dragon tattoos on his chest.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: He doesn't need his cane to walk in the present day, thanks to over a decade of physical therapy and/or his Extremis upgrades.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Went from a meek cripple to an unfettered Visionary Villain and a fire-breathing One-Man Army.
  • Two Decades Behind: In 1999, he has hippie-esque long hair and John Lennon glasses. In 2013, he wears a plaid suit and slicked-back shoulder-length hair.
  • The Usurper: He steals the identity of the Mandarin for himself and conducts terrorist attacks under the mantle of the Ten Rings. Needless to say, the real Mandarin is not happy about this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Goes from a calm Manipulative Bastard to a raging madman who screams, "I AM THE MANDARIN!!!"
  • Villainous Crush: Has a thing for Pepper, who previously shunned him but now finds him charming.
  • Visionary Villain: Claims he wants to use the dangerous Extremis virus to change science, medicine, and war as we know them.
    Tony: You're a maniac...
    Killian: No. I'm a visionary. But I do own a maniac, and he takes the stage tonight.
  • War for Fun and Profit: What he's trying to accomplish by offloading his deeds onto a fake terrorist. He seeks to insert himself between the two conflicting sides and profit from the gains he can create via manipulation.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He doesn't hesitate to murder Maya when she's about to perform a Heel–Face Turn. He also tries to kill Pepper, despite his feelings for her, when she breaks free from his control. Unfortunately for him, he's too slow.

Scientists

    Dr. Maya Hansen 

Dr. Maya Hansen

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maya_hansen_im3_3628.png
"I need Stark alive! He's the only one who can improve on the Extremis, make it into what I want, and you want!"

Species: Human

Portrayed By: Rebecca Hall

Voiced By: Graciela Gámez (Latin-American Spanish dub), Esther Solans (European Spanish dub), Kanako Tojo (Japanese dub), Marie Zidi (French dub), Pascale Montreuil (Canadian French dub)

Appearances: Iron Man 3

A scientist Tony Stark met (and slept with) in 1999. Her works with plants helped create Extremis.


Operatives and Test Subjects

    Eric Savin 

Eric Savin

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/savin_eric_0.jpg

Species: Enhanced human

Portrayed By: James Badge Dale

Voiced By: Carlo Vázquez (Latin-American Spanish dub), Toni Mora (European Spanish dub), Takuya Kirimoto (Japanese dub), Jean-Baptiste Marcenac (French dub), Louis-Philippe Dandenault (Canadian French dub)

Appearances: Iron Man 3

An Extremis-powered henchman working for Aldrich Killian.


  • Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, he's the cybernetic Anti-Hero known as Coldblood. Here, he's Killian's second-in-command and enforcer.
  • Bald of Evil: Notably, he's one of the only bald characters in 3, and sadistically cruel.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: He doesn't go by Coldblood, his alias in the comics.
  • Character Tics: Often chewing gum when wreaking havoc.
  • The Dragon: Serves as the villainous Killian's right-hand man.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: An ex-soldier turned Extremis supersoldier. Then he wears the Iron Patriot armor on top of it all.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Savin could be engaging in brutal combat while joking around, as such in the case when he asked Harley what he wanted for Christmas while holding him hostage, ready to kill him.
  • Healing Factor: Courtesy of Extremis. Doesn't save him when Tony blasts his midsection with a Unibeam.
  • Oral Fixation: Gum. He's almost always chewing it unless he needs to speak.
  • Slasher Smile: He quite clearly enjoys fighting.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Seated in the Stark Industries building, he has one leg dangling over one armrest and his head leaning on the other.
  • Smug Snake: He's quite arrogant, to say the least.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When using his Extremis powers.
  • Torso with a View: Tony inflicts this on him via Chest Blaster.
  • Touch of Death: His Extremis powers lets him generate temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees Celsius from his skin, allowing him to destroy anything he touches.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Casually takes Harley hostage to get something from Tony.
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    Ellen Brandt 

Ellen Brandt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ellen_brandt_im3_5212.png
"That's all you got? A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?"

Species: Enhanced human

Portrayed By: Stephanie Szostak

Voiced By: Gwendolyne Flores (Latin-American Spanish dub), Mar Nicolás (European Spanish dub), Miki Yamazaki (Japanese dub), Audrey Sablé (French dub), Catherine Hamann (Canadian French dub)

Appearances: Iron Man 3

A war veteran who becomes an assassin after her exposure to Extremis.


  • Ax-Crazy: She doesn't even bother to hide the fact that killing people is a ton of shits and giggles for her.
  • Blood Knight: She refers to "the smart way" and "the fun way." Her "fun way" is gruesomely murdering anyone who prevents her from capturing Tony.
  • Blown Across the Room: Is sent flying into a power line after Tony causes an explosion by microwaving a pair of dog tags in a room with an open gas valve.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Tony accidentally walks into her five minutes before they meet again to deal each other more injuries.
  • Dark Action Girl: She's quite efficient when it comes to hand-to-hand combat.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She lampshades Tony's own snark with more snark.
    Ellen Brandt: That's all you got? A cheap trick and a cheesy one-liner?
    Tony Stark: Sweetheart, that could be the name of my autobiography!
  • Empowered Badass Normal: An ex-soldier turned Extremis supersoldier.
  • Evil Redhead: Her hair's scarlet, and she's definitely got the evil part down. "Fiery" could be a more accurate word.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: If you look closely enough at the above image, you can see a scar on the side of her mouth.
  • Mythology Gag: The scars are probably a reference to her face in the comics having been burned off by Man-Thing.
  • Impersonating an Officer: She tries to impersonate Homeland Security after "arresting" Tony. Once the local sheriff doubts her, she decides to screw it and show her true colors.
  • Oh, Crap!: It takes a minute for her to realize what Tony's planning before she and the building go boom.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When using her Extremis powers.
  • Scars Are Forever: The scars on her face are still there despite Extremis giving her a Healing Factor powerful enough to regrow her lost hand. Maybe she wanted to keep them around.
  • Touch of Death: Her Extremis powers let her generate temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees Celsius from her skin, allowing her to destroy anything she touches.

    Jack Taggart 

Jack Taggart

Species: Enhanced human

Portrayed By: Ashley Hamilton

Appearances: Iron Man 3

A U.S. Army veteran who becomes addicted to Extremis.


  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: He doesn't go by Firepower, his alias in the comics.
  • Race Lift: In the comics, Jack Taggart is African American. In the MCU he's caucasian.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His Extremis powers flare when angered or alert.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: Consumes several doses of Extremis at the same time, causing him to explode and die in the process.
  • Touch of Death: His Extremis powers lets him generate temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees Celsius from his skin, allowing him to destroy anything he touches.

Collaborators

    Trevor Slattery / "The Mandarin" 

Trevor Slattery / "The Mandarin"

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mandarin_im3_5194.png
"Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. America, ready for another lesson?"

Species: Human

Portrayed By: Ben Kingsley

Voiced By: Paco Mauri (Latin-American Spanish dub), Mario Gas (European Spanish dub), Mugihito (Japanese dub), Féodor Atkine (French dub), Vincent Davy (Canadian French dub)

Appearances: Iron Man 3 | All Hail the King

A washed-up British actor whom Aldrich Killian hires to impersonate the mysterious leader of the international terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings. In his persona as the Mandarin, after years of plotting in the shadows, he seems to come after Tony personally in Iron Man 3.


  • Adaptational Mundanity: In the comic, the Mandarin's rings are alien weapons that give him various superpowers. In the movie, they're just regular rings that serve no purpose except to look cool.
  • Adaptational Wimp: He's missing his magic rings from the comics, and overall comes across as a Non-Action Guy. This is because he's just a figurehead set up by Killian, and Trevor is a coked-up narcoleptic drunken actor.
  • Affably Evil: Trevor turns out to be pretty friendly, if kooky as hell and more than a tad amoral.
  • Ambiguously Brown: In-universe, no one is quite sure about his ethnicity, since his name, tactics, clothes, and accent all come from markedly different cultures. Justified; he's deliberately designed to be the embodiment of what Americans consider an evil anti-American terrorist. While this trope still applies even after The Reveal, due to Kingsley's mixed heritage, one can say that the false Mandarin's mishmash of various cultural motifs was meant to play on this trope.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Befitting his immature personality, Trevor has a really short attention span. He falls asleep all the time and promptly interrupts his own reveal of AIM's plot to Tony and Rhodey to cheer on the soccer game he's watching on TV.
  • Attention Whore: As should be expected of someone who appears on TV to threaten an entire country. He can be seen waving to his "fans" even as he's taken away by the police at the end.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: All the buildup to fighting Killian is thrown out the window when Tony breaks into the Mandarin's hideout, skipping the middleman and going straight for the top. However, it's revealed "the Mandarin" is just an actor playing a fictional terrorist to keep the good guys distracted. Killian is the real Diabolical Mastermind and Big Bad.
  • Badass Baritone: He sports a deep, booming, gravelly voice. It's just the voice Trevor uses as the false Mandarin; in reality, he has a stereotypical "crazy old man" voice with a thick Cockney accent.
  • Beard of Evil: Has one very much styled like Colonel Gaddafi or Osama bin Laden. It also doesn't look like it's been well maintained, which makes even more sense once you find out that he's just a drug-addicted actor working for Aldrich Killian, and Slattery generally doesn't look after his health as well as he should.
  • Big Bad: Subverted; he's presented as the main antagonist of Iron Man 3, until it turns out "the Mandarin" is just a figurehead and smokescreen for Aldrich Killian.
  • Bi the Way: In All Hail the King, Slattery has undergone situational homosexuality in prison. He also admits he experimented while in drama school.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: He invokes this early on with his "What Is Evil?" moment. It somewhat applies when he's out of character, as the only things that really matter to him are his acting, drugs, and women. It barely seems to occur to him that he's doing something wrong.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He can be silly when he's not being threatening. This is because he's an actor, but he's talented enough that Aldrich Killian is willing to overlook that.
  • Canon Foreigner: Trevor Slattery doesn't exist in the main Marvel comics universe. Even before he was revealed as a fake, how this Mandarin related to the comics Mandarin was up for debate. He seemed like he should be considered the same character, but his blurrier origin story made it questionable at best.
  • Catchphrase: Tends to exclaim, "Bloody hell!" when he gets surprised, which is something that "the Mandarin", as he's presented, would never say.
  • Classically Trained Extra: Referenced by him in his speech to Tony. It's explained later that Trevor was quite a respected Shakespearean actor back in England. As Killian says, "His Lear was the toast of Croydon, whatever that means." This was presumably before drug addictions made him nigh-impossible to handle.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Outside of the Mandarin persona, he's a drug-addicted loon.
  • Cool Shades: In some of his videos, he wears sunglasses that make him look like an eccentric warlord in the vein of Muammar Gaddafi. The poster of him reclining with them on looks a lot more hilarious after The Reveal, at which point it just looks like Trevor had too much fun the night before and was still a bit high or drunk when he came in to pose for the photo.
  • Dirty Old Man: He enjoys hiring prostitutes. He offers them to Tony in a desperate attempt to save his own ass.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Played up as the mastermind behind events, but actually a total patsy who barely qualifies as a villain. The true mastermind is Aldrich Killian.
  • Decoy Leader: Despite pretending to be the Mandarin, he's nothing more than a patsy Killian created to distract everyone from himself.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: The self-styled leader of the terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings — except he's not. There is a Mandarin who is the head of the Ten Rings, and he's not happy that Trevor stole his identity.
  • Evil Brit: While he's really more amoral than evil, Trevor is a British actor who sports a thick Cockney accent and uses colloqualisms when not acting as the Mandarin.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Any of his broadcasts could count, but his "I consider myself a teacher" is the big one; however, that's just a role he plays. Trevor's real moment is when he rushes out of the bathroom, giggling like a kid, and tries to impress his prostitutes with the trivia about how fortune cookies aren't Chinese.
  • Expy:
  • Faux Affably Evil: Despite how politely he may speak, he still engineers terrorist attacks, plane crashes, and the burning of Tony's home to the ground — or so it seems. All of the aforementioned weren't his idea, and he turns out to be more Affably Evil.
  • Genius Ditz: This appears to be his real personality. Despite being a washed-up substance-abusing mess, Trevor is a skilled enough actor to at least play the role of a Diabolical Mastermind convincingly.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Subverted. The Mandarin is the leader of the Ten Rings, who are antagonists in the first Iron Man movie, but he doesn't get mentioned by name, let alone seemingly confront Tony, until the third movie. However, Trevor Slattery is not the Mandarin, leaving the real one still in the shadows.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He claims to have defected from a Western intelligence agency when he found their methods unconscionable; since that was all a lie, it doesn't count. He has a real one later, when he lends his speedboat to Tony and Rhodey after finding out the true nature of AIM's plans, though it's unclear how much force was required to make him do the favor.
  • Hidden Depths: There's a lot more to him than is visible at first glance. Or a lot less, depending on your point of view. Regardless of his copious flaws, he certainly is an astonishing actor.
  • Hookers and Blow: He tries to tempt Tony this way; it makes sense, as Killian tempted Trevor himself with drugs and prostitutes.
  • In the Hood: Wears an ornate hooded coat when he's in-character as the Mandarin.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Tony's life takes a considerably darker turn once he shows up. When he is outed as a fake, he promptly loses this status and hands it over to Killian.
  • Knight Templar: His Mandarin persona oozes this mindset: "Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher."
  • Large Ham: Ben Kingsley at his best and Killian lampshades it. A Justified Trope, since he's a stage actor in-universe.
    Trevor as the Mandarin: You'lll neverrr seee meeeee cominggggg.
  • Master Actor: He's an incredibly talented actor when he wants to be. Which is why he was chosen to play the role of the Mandarin persona in the first place.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In-universe example. Outside of the Mandarin persona, he's harmless and fairly friendly.
    • Subverted in the short All Hail The King, where it's revealed that he missed his own mother's funeral because he was waiting for his "big break" in America, cheerily admits to being a pathological liar, acts completely self-absorbed, and overall comes across as an amoral idiot.
  • Mouth of Sauron: He's a mouthpiece for Killian, who writes his scripts to help enflame the US State Department's war on terror fears.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The Mandarin gets many lines in trailers and ads that are never said during the actual film. This is most likely to hide his true nature even further, and implies that the Mandarin footage that we saw in the trailer is just B-roll footage that Killian has filmed for the video packages he then broadcasts on the air. Oh, and by the way, have you seen his Evil Overlooker status for the movie's poster in the main page of Iron Man 3? It's also to make you believe he is the Big Bad.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: He has the name of an imperial Chinese official, a samurai-style haircut, a Middle Eastern-looking beard, brown skin, wears East Asian clothing, wields modern weapons, and talks like a Baptist preacher. Apparently, his tactics are a mishmash of Chinese Art of War, South American guerillas, and Middle-Eastern terrorism, essentially being a hybrid of all of America's enemies in modern history. This is because, as an actor, he's taking cues from various movies.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Both inverted and played straight. Trevor is a scatterbrained nobody who pretends to be a terrorist mastermind. However, a deleted scene on the Blu-ray disc shows that Trevor's smarter than he acts (though still not very bright), and also wrote some of his own dialogue.
  • Obliviously Evil: He makes use of this more than once. He uses the fact that "the Mandarin" is just a role to beg for mercy; he honestly had no idea that people were being killed. This is probably why he's in a low-security prison in All Hail The King.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: After The Reveal, he serves up comedy to contrast with Killian becoming a Knight of Cerebus.
  • Puppet King: It's believed that some of the earlier Ten Rings leaders served as this to him, but it proves to be more the inverse. He's just a figurehead used to divert attention from Killian's plans, and the real Mandarin is still out there.
  • Race Lift: In the comics, the Mandarin is half-British and half-ethnic Mongolian, while Ben Kingsley is half-white and half-Indian. Subverted, however; this Mandarin is just an actor impersonating the real one.
  • Red Herring: He's just a patsy hired to divert attention from the real threat, Killian. Once a poor, struggling alcoholic actor, Trevor merely poses as the Mandarin in exchange for all sorts of amenities from Killian, including a mansion and a speedboat. Although he's an amoral sleazebag, he's far from truly evil. He even lends his speedboat to Tony and Rhodey, albeit through force.
  • The Reveal: The Mandarin as he makes it doesn't exist. He's a Red Herring for Killian, who claims to be the real Mandarin. However, in All Hail the King, it's revealed that both Trevor and Killian only stole the Mandarin's name. The real one's still out there.
  • Ring of Power: Invoked with his ten rings. In the comics, they give him alien technological energy attacks. In this version, they serve as a symbol of his leadership over the terrorist organization the Ten Rings. In truth, they are merely part of his costume.
  • Rogue Agent: Claims to be a former Western intelligence officer who ran morally questionable ops on behalf of the West, before he went "off the reservation" and started his own private war against America. He's actually a British actor.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Once he is revealed just to be a drunk, washed-up actor and Tony gets information about Killian from him, the comedy leaves with him for the rest of the movie, which changes the format drastically.
  • Short Hair with Tail: He has very short hair except for a topknot, which, surprisingly, he retains even when he's not in-character.
  • Stupid Evil: In All Hail The King, this is how he comes across. He is superficially charming but incredibly shallow and self-absorbed, doesn't seem to be bothered by the deaths of those around him (including his own mother), and is genuinely clueless as to why anyone would want to kill him even after they explain their reasons to his face. "Evil" might be a stretch, perhaps, but Trevor is certainly, at the very least, a Jerkass at his core.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In All Hail the King, he points a gun at Jackson Norriss's head, but hesitates to pull the trigger long enough for Norriss to take the gun from him.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In All Hail the King, he's let the fame go to his head and become an egotistical in-house celebrity with an attitude. It comes back to bite him hard.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: For a drunken British actor, he's remarkably composed and unfazed even while being repeatedly threatened with a gun shoved in his face. All the alcohol and drugs he's taken probably helped with that.
  • Villain Episode: He's featured as the lead character of the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King (an extra feature on the Thor: The Dark World Blu-Ray), taking place after the events of Iron Man 3.
  • Visual Pun: At one point, he's seen with a fruit bowl full of, you guessed it, Mandarin oranges.
  • Walking Spoiler: Knowing too much about him spoils the reveal that he's just an actor whom Killian hired to serve as a Red Herring.
  • What Is Evil?: He pulls the moral relativism card during his ultimatum in the first trailer.
    Mandarin: Lesson number one: Heroes. There is no such thing.
  • Wicked Cultured: He's quite cultured for a terrorist. It's not really surprising, since he's just an actor. Then again, he spends most of his time worrying not about intelligent matters, but about drugs, alcohol, sex, and football games...
  • Would Hurt a Child: He mentions in his first video that his attack on the air base in Kuwait specifically targeted the spouses and children of military personnel who were away on orders. Again, he didn't know the attack actually happened, since he's just the guy hired to be the patsy for Killian, the actual mastermind who had to cover up an Extremis agent exploding in the air base.

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