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For other uses, see Mandarin (disambiguation)
For alternate versions of Aldrich Killian, see Aldrich Killian's Character Hub

"You simply rule from behind the scenes. Because the second you give evil a face — a bin Laden, a Gaddafi, a Mandarin — you hand the people a target."
―Aldrich Killian to Tony Stark[src]

Doctor Aldrich Killian was the founder and CEO of Advanced Idea Mechanics. When Tony Stark had refused to join his research, Killian participated in Maya Hansen's development of Extremis, amassing a group of Extremis-enhanced soldiers under his command. To mask his illegal activities as terrorist attacks, he adopted the legend of the Ten Rings and an idealized terrorist persona known as the "Mandarin" portrayed by Trevor Slattery to serve as his proxy, unaware that the person he impersonated actually existed. Killian had also conspired with Vice President Rodriguez in an attempt to take economic and political control of the United States of America for his own uses. However, after he had kidnapped both Pepper Potts and President Matthew Ellis, Killian was then confronted by Iron Man, Iron Patriot, and the Iron Legion, who thwarted his plans before Potts killed him with the Mark IX Armor.

Biography[]

Early Life[]

Youth with Disabilities[]

"You know what my old man used to say to me? One of his favorite of many sayings, 'The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.'"
―Aldrich Killian to Tony Stark[src]

Aldrich Killian was a scientific genius who grew up with a number of physical disabilities that he was never able to accept, and spent most of his life trying to overcome them in any way he could. His tenacity and blind determination in fighting for a better life were seen by some as irritating, since he often came across as obnoxious. Killian could not accept the cards he was dealt, and being as intelligent as he was, embodied a fierce real drive to change himself and become a different person. Killian was greatly influenced by his father and would often quote phrases the man told him, despite not thinking highly of him.[1]

Pitching A.I.M.[]

"You're not still pissed off about that Switzerland thing, are you?"
"How can I be pissed at you, Tony? I'm here to thank you. You gave me the greatest gift that anybody's ever given me: Desperation."
Tony Stark and Aldrich Killian[src]
Aldrich Killian crippled

Killian first encountering with Tony Stark

Killian was in attendance at the Bern 2000 conference on New Year's Eve, 1999 in Switzerland to present his think tank, Advanced Idea Mechanics, when he met Tony Stark. Killian expressed to be a fan of his work and asked for Stark's support in his project, only to be shunned and ignored by the latter in favor of paying attention to Maya Hansen. Stark lied and said he would meet Killian on the roof of the building, but he never came.

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Killian considers ending his own life

As New Years approached, Killian realized that Stark had deliberately ignored his proposition. Humiliated and depressed, he then briefly contemplated committing suicide. Afterwards, Killian's lonesome presence on the roof caused him to relish in his state of anonymity, in which he decided to work on his own in creating an expansive and covert business for himself. Although Stark never contacted Killian again, Hansen did call him and joined his work using her designs for a formula named Extremis, desperate to solve its flaws.

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Killian interviews candidates for Extremis

Over the years, through his government-funded organization A.I.M., Killian created a team to further research and develop Extremis, which imparted unusual levels of strength and resiliency to human subjects. Despite the success in the enhanced strength and healing, the subjects would often experience overheating and in certain cases of overuse, they would explode. However, they could be trained to use and control the heat.[1]

Manipulating the War on Terror[]

Extremis Experiments[]

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Killian doing experiments on Extremis

"Once misfits, cripples... you are the next iteration of human evolution. Everybody, before we start... I promise you, looking back at your life, there will be nothing as bitter as the memory of that glorious risk you prudently elected to forego. Today is your glory."
―Aldrich Killian to his Extremis subjects[src]

After curing himself of his disabilities through Maya Hansen's research on Extremis, Killian conducted many illegal experiments of the genetic code, of which several resulted in the explosions of his test subjects. Killian decided to masquerade his failed experiments as terrorist attacks, but he needed someone to fulfill the role of a supposed leader; a feared terrorist who would publicly take responsibility for said "attacks."[1] Killian researched the history of the Ten Rings, one of the most feared terrorist groups in the world, and how they were historically affiliated with a terrifying persona.[3] Hearing of this story, Killian made up the name of the "Mandarin", which he decided to give to his own fake terrorist.

Killian-Trevor

Killian sees Trevor Slattery as The Mandarin

Posing as a BBC producer,[4] Killian approached the failed actor Trevor Slattery, and offered him to portray the Mandarin, paying him in money and drugs. Whenever one of Killian's experiments with Extremis would fail, causing explosions and a great number of civilian casualties, A.I.M. would hack TV signals across the United States of America and relay TV broadcasts of the "Mandarin." Surrounded with the iconography of the Ten Rings, the "Mandarin" would constantly declare that these supposed "attacks" were "another lesson" for the American people.[1]

Meeting with Pepper Potts[]

Aldrich-Killian-reunited-with-Potts

Killian is reunited with Pepper Potts

"After years dodging the President's ban on 'immoral biotech research', my think tank now has a little something in the pipeline. It's an idea we like to call Extremis."
―Aldrich Killian to Pepper Potts[src]

In 2013, Killian approached Pepper Potts of Stark Industries to join his funding and research of Extremis. Potts met Killian in her office and was shocked at the physical change he had gone through since she last saw him, which he excused as physical therapy. Killian told Potts how happy he was to see her again and how great she looked. Although Happy Hogan remained suspicious, Potts insisted it was fine and went with Killian to discuss his pitch.

Aldrich Pepper

Killian explains Extremis to Pepper Potts

Killian explained that his think tank, A.I.M., was on the verge of a breakthrough with Extremis, a project which he was hoping for Stark Industries' backing in. Killian pitched the concept using a 3D live feed of his own brain, showing Potts up close how Extremis can upgrade a person's entire DNA. Killian greatly impressed her with his understanding of the human body and demonstration of how Extremis heals and regenerates cells at an extraordinary level.

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Killian leaves Stark Industries

With the pitch over with, Killian continued discussing the concept of Extremis. In the end though, it was an offer Potts declined due to believing the serum could be highly weaponizable, which Tony Stark would never support. Killian revealed that he had invited Stark to join A.I.M. thirteen years earlier but was turned down. He tried arguing that Potts didn't have to answer to Stark and could take his research in a new direction but she remained firm, declaring that Stark Industries would not be investing in A.I.M.. As Potts saw him out, Killian expressed his disappointment but gave her a kiss on the cheek before leaving with his bodyguard, Eric Savin.[1]

Using the Mandarin[]

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Killian is updated about the attack on Stark

"Alright, everybody. No talking and no eye contact, unless you wanna get shot in the face."
―Aldrich Killian[src]

By masking his illegal activities, Killian was able to conduct his experiments while perpetuating a new "War on Terror" that he could monopolize and control. When Tony Stark publicly threatened the Mandarin, Killian answered by sending his men to destroy Stark's mansion. Once the attack was complete, Killian received a call from Eric Savin informing him that the mansion was demolished and Stark had seemingly been killed, although his body had not yet been found. Killian then arranged for Trevor Slattery to broadcast a message as the Mandarin, claiming responsibility for the attack.[1]

Kidnapping Pepper Potts[]

KillianPepper-IM3

Killian successfully kidnaps Pepper Potts

"You think he's gonna help you? He won't."
"Having you here is not just to motivate Tony Stark. It's... well, it's actually more embarrassing than that. You're here as my..."
"Trophy."
Pepper Potts and Aldrich Killian[src]

Upon discovering that Maya Hansen had attempted to contact Tony Stark right before the destruction of his mansion, Killian decided to track her down and learned that she had escaped the assault with Pepper Potts. He arrived at the hotel where Potts and Hansen were hiding and attacked the pair, breaking the neck of the waiter who entered their room and choking Potts against the wall. Killian then demanded to know what Hansen was doing going to Stark after he threatened them. She proclaimed they needed Stark alive and ensured to Killian that by kidnapping Potts, it would motivate him to perfect Extremis before they launched the product.[1]

Capturing Tony Stark[]

Aldrich-Killian-Evil-Plan

Killian explaining his own plan to Tony Stark

"What's next for you in your world?"
"Well, I wanted to repay you the selfsame gift that you so graciously imparted to me: Desperation."
Tony Stark and Aldrich Killian[src]

Tony Stark was captured by Eric Savin when he broke into Killian's mansion and discovered the truth about Trevor Slattery. Killian imprisoned Stark in the basement and, having Pepper Potts as his hostage, he injected her with Extremis to further motivate and antagonize Stark to work for him. Upon meeting Stark, Killian described his plan to use the Mandarin as a figurehead for his campaign, allowing him to secretly control people using their fear. Killian then revealed the torture he was inflicting on Potts, blackmailing Stark with her survival in exchange for an improved Extremis.

Aldrich-Killian-kills-Maya-Hansen

Killian casually executing Maya Hansen

Suddenly, Maya Hansen tried to force Killian to set Stark free by threatening to take an overdose of Extremis, having a change of heart upon seeing the lengths he was willing go to torment Stark and Potts. Killian initially tried to change her mind but was quickly bored, so he casually shot and killed Hansen. As he left, Killian joked that with Hansen's death, a high-ranking position within A.I.M. was now available for Stark, to which the latter deemed him a maniac. Killian calmly declared himself a visionary, although he noted that he did own a maniac who would be broadcasting to the world again that night.[1]

Torturing James Rhodes[]

Aldrich-Killian-tortures-Rhodes

Killian tortures James Rhodes for his armor

"Once we get the Patriot installed, it'll take me nine... ten minutes for a takedown."
"Well, that's great. But the last time I looked, there was somebody inside of it."
Eric Savin and Aldrich Killian[src]

Killian's soldiers also managed to capture James Rhodes, as Killian needed to use the Iron Patriot armor to kidnap Matthew Ellis; however, Rhodes was still inside the suit and refused to leave and allow them to take it. After Eric Savin failed to cut open the armor, Killian used his Extremis powers to slowly heat up the suit, boiling Rhodes inside until the heat proved too much.

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Killian breathes fire to stop James Rhodes

Eventually, Rhodes was forced to leap out to try and fight his way out of the facility, kicking over Savin. Killian used his fire breath to stop Rhodes, who was so shocked he surrendered. Savin then threw Rhodes headfirst into a wall, knocking him out. Killian then began ranting about how he would soon gain control over the War on Terror, which would create supply and demand for soldiers and weaponry, leading to massive profits for A.I.M..[1]

Kidnapping of President Ellis[]

Alrich-Killian-Creepy-Grin

Killian speaks to the captured Pepper Potts

"It's a glorious day, Savin. This time tomorrow, I'll have the West's most powerful leader in one hand, and the world's most feared terrorist in the other. I'll own the war on terror!"
―Aldrich Killian to Eric Savin[src]

Killian ordered Eric Savin to use the Iron Patriot Armor to pose as James Rhodes and abduct Matthew Ellis. He planned to orchestrate a live feed showcasing Ellis' murder from the oil tanker Norco across the nation, further giving the American people belief that the Mandarin was responsible.[1] Killian's reasoning for killing Ellis was two-fold, on one hand he would get vengeance on Ellis for shutting down his research,[5] and on the other hand he would be able to install Rodriguez as President who would act as his puppet, effectively granting him total control over the United States. Killian had Pepper Potts brought to the Norco as well and spoke to her when she awoke from her torture, confessing that she was there purely as his personal "trophy".

Killian serious

Killian speaks to Matthew Ellis

Ellis then arrived, having been forced to wear the Iron Patriot armor, which flew him to Killian's location. Killian explained to Ellis how he intended to use the image of Roxxon Corporation ship, since the Norco was responsible for accidentally spilling a million gallons of crude oil off the coast of Pensacola, to kill Ellis by either drowning him in oil or blowing him up. Killian then had his soldiers string up Ellis while he wore the Iron Patriot armor and started broadcasting the image across America.[1]

Battle on the Norco[]

Aldrich-Killian-CookingInYourTurtleShell

Killian swiftly ambushes Tony Stark

"You really didn't deserve her, Tony. I was so close to having her perfect."
"Okay, okay! Wait, wait! Slow down, slow down! You're right, I don't deserve her. Here's where you're wrong. She was already perfect!"
―Aldrich Killian and Tony Stark[src]

Tony Stark and James Rhodes interrupted and attacked their base with the help of Stark's J.A.R.V.I.S.-controlled Iron Man suits. In the ensuing battle, Killian was hit by an explosion and found Stark trying to save Pepper Potts. He angrily attacked Stark, disabling his suit. Killian then pressed a heated finger on Stark's chest and began to melt the suit, aiming to kill him by overheating his heart while forcing Potts to watch. However, Stark managed to slice off Killian's arm and escape while he was in pain over his limb regrowing.

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Killian furiously fights against Iron Man

After Potts seemingly fell to her death in an explosion, Killian taunted Stark over his failure to save her and approached him for a duel. The two engaged in a brutal fight throughout the Norco, with Stark switching between various Iron Man suits as Killian destroyed each one after another. Eventually, Killian sliced one of Stark's armors in half, rendering the latter defenseless and at his mercy.

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Killian is restrained by the Mark XLII

Killian continued to mock Stark, claiming that he had almost made Potts "perfect" with Extremis. Before he could kill Stark, J.A.R.V.I.S. sent the Mark XLII prototype to aid him, but the malfunctioning armor crash-landed and fell apart upon impact. Stark then retorted that Potts was already perfect before kinetically attaching the armor onto Killian to stall his movements. After commanding the suit to pin Killian against the wall, Stark then activated the Mark XLII's self-destruct function, seemingly blowing Killian up in the process.[1]

Final Showdown and Death[]

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Killian declaring himself the Mandarin

"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!"
―Aldrich Killian to Tony Stark[src]

However, thanks to his Extremis powers, Killian survived the exploding armor, albeit heavily scarred. After the complex in which the two were fighting was demolished, he confronted an injured Tony Stark. Threateningly advancing towards him, Killian gloated of his crimes and asserted to be "Mandarin" himself, elaborating that the two should stop wearing "false faces."

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Killian about to be killed by Pepper Potts

Just then, Killian's monologue was interrupted when Pepper Potts attacked him from behind, having survived her fall with the help of her newfound Extremis abilities. As Killian tried to retaliate, Potts ripped a repulsor arm from the Mark IX suit and utilized its capabilities to blast him to the ground. She then threw an explosive bullet casing at Killian before detonating it in his face, killing him before his body could fully regenerate.[1]

Legacy[]

Remembered by Xu Wenwu[]

"Some years ago, a terrorist from America needed a boogeyman to bring your country to its knees. So, he appropriated Ten Rings. My Ten Rings. But because he didn't know my actual name, he invented a new one. Do you know what that name he chose? The Mandarin. He gave his figurehead the name of a chicken dish. And it worked! America was terrified. Of an orange."
Xu Wenwu to Katy Chen[src]

Almost eleven years after Killian's death, Xu Wenwu, the true leader of the Ten Rings, recalled how Killian had appropriated the name of his organization and had twisting his personality while giving figurehead Trevor Slattery the "Mandarin" moniker.[4]

Personality[]

"As I looked out over that city, nobody knew I was there, nobody could see me, no one was even looking. I had a thought that would guide me for years to come: Anonymity, Tony. Thanks to you, it's been my mantra ever since."
―Aldrich Killian to Tony Stark[src]

Aldrich Killian was in many ways the antithesis of Tony Stark, ranging from his motivations to his approach to technology, and described as a personal demon created by Stark's mistakes. He is introduced as an idealistic, albeit shy and socially awkward scientist, who is outwardly composed and friendly. Killian's physical disabilities and awkwardness hinder him from being taken seriously, leading him to be frequently overlooked, dismissed, or blown over by the scientific community. This fuels deep-rooted insecurities that set a precedent for his fragile mental health. Killian's long-fueled spiteful vendetta against Stark, his idol, stems from their encounter at the Bern 2000 event in Switzerland, where Stark made the promise of meeting Killian to discuss Advanced Idea Mechanics and never fulfilled it. After briefly contemplating suicide over what he perceived as rejection, Killian became more callous, and instead swore revenge against Stark, vowing to make him feel the same "desperation" he felt.

After subjecting himself to Extremis and overcoming his disabilities, Killian immediately became more confident. Killian was very charismatic, luring war veterans into subjecting themselves to the Extremis procedure under the promise of helping them overcome their limitations. Killian's master manipulation extended to persuading even Rodriguez, the Vice President of the United States, to join his cause. Throughout the progression of his failed Extremis trials, Killian became increasingly arrogant and later adopted criminal tactics to cover up his failures, apathetic to the lives lost along the way. Killian's brilliance and ingenuity were demonstrated remarkably not just through his research with Extremis, but masterminding a grander campaign to perpetuate the War on Terror and make some profit, while offloading his crimes to a public enemy, the Mandarin, to take credit for the "bombings" caused by the Extremis misfires.

Additionally, Killian's upper torso was riddled with tattoos of dragons and Chinese proverbs, which Killian later incorporated into the Mandarin character he wrote for Trevor Slattery. Having tattooed this on his own body, it is indicative that Killian is a believer in those philosophies.

Despite having taken up grander and more ambitious aspirations, Killian's wish to cause Stark and his loved ones suffering remained a constant and thus was very sadistic. After Killian's attempt to kill Stark in the destruction of his mansion failed, he went to the length of kidnapping his girlfriend Pepper Potts as leverage, later claiming her to be his trophy. While admitting this to a captive Potts, Killian subtly expressed he's had a crush on her, another of the many reasons Killian had to be jealous of Stark. Killian later admitted this to him outright during the Battle on the Norco, musing that he could've made her "perfect". To add further insult to injury against Stark, Killian also executed Maya Hansen — his own business partner and Stark's old friend — right in front of him due to not only her insubordination against Killian but partially to spite Stark, all the while being very unrepentant that he had killed someone. He frequently acted on impulse, not just in shooting Hansen, but also when he attempted to incinerate James Rhodes with his Extremis-inherited fire breath. In Killian's final moments, his calm demeanor dissipates after he survives the explosion of the Mark XLII armor which he was locked inside, violently raging at Stark while boasting he's the Mandarin.

Powers and Abilities[]

Powers[]

"You... you breathe fire? Okay..."
James Rhodes to Aldrich Killian[src]
  • Artificially Enhanced Physiology: Due to being enhanced by Extremis, Killian displayed various superhuman abilities, such as being able to regrow entire body parts, strength, enhanced healing factor, a touch able to melt Iron Man's armor, and the ability to channel the heat produced by Extremis to spit fire at James Rhodes. Killian was highly-skilled in martial arts, in which he was able to effectively tear through many Iron Man suits with ease and even best Tony Stark in melee combat.
    • Superhuman Strength:
      Shotgun 8

      Killian restraining Iron Man

      Extremis enhanced Killian's strength enough to almost match Iron Man's strength while using the armor. He was able to tear several Iron Man Armors with his bare hands.
    • Superhuman Agility: Extremis enhanced Killian's speed and agility to the point where he was able to effortlessly dodge many of Iron Man's repulsor attacks. During the Battle on the Norco, Killian used his agility to try to make a jump attack on Tony Stark, but Stark countered this attack by sliding under him.
    • Superhuman Stamina: The physiological enhancements brought by Extremis allowed Killian him to battle with Iron Man and his Iron Legion for an extended amount of time.
    • Superhuman Reflexes: Killian was able to easily dodge many repulsor blasts and attacks coming from Iron Man.
    • Regenerative Healing Factor:
      Extremis Regenerating

      Killian regenerating his arm

      Killian was able to heal his previous disabilities, as it was the primary original intention of Extremis. He was able to heal superficial wounds almost immediately, regrow severed limbs in a matter of seconds, and even withstand powerful explosions. Perhaps the most impressive feat was being able to heal back a wound from the Mark XLII armor explosion while Killian was inside the suit. His body healed back his body in mere minutes while leaving it a little burnt. While attacking Stark, the enemy brought out a sharp knife which sliced Killian's arm clean off, but Killian regrew his limb very quickly with little pain.
    • Heat Generation: Hosts of Extremis are able to consciously raise the temperature of parts of their bodies. The effect can be controlled to the extent that it might only scorch skin, or increased to the point where it can cause steel to turn into a molten state. In an attempt to get the Iron Patriot out of his armor, he generated enough heat with his hand to get the armor to open itself up due to the heat. However, the Extremis host can get so hot that they explode.
      • Fire Breath:
        Iron-man3-movie-screencaps

        Killian breathing fire out of his mouth

        An advanced control of Extremis granted Killian the ability to breathe fire, using it as an offensive power against James Rhodes when taking control of the Iron Patriot Armor.

Abilities[]

"After years dodging the President's ban on "immoral" biotech research, my think tank now has a little something in the pipeline. It's an idea we like to call Extremis."
―Aldrich Killian to Pepper Potts[src]
  • Genius-Level Intellect: Killian was a highly intelligent individual, known to be a genius while still young, and had an affinity for science. Despite his disability, he was able to develop Extremis. Initially being rejected by Tony Stark, Killian would self-improve his intelligence to the point that he managed to effectively start up A.I.M. and his Extremis project on his own. This rejection pushed Killian throughout his journey of perfecting the serum as well as trying to prove he was better than Stark.
  • Master Scientist: Killian had a natural gift for science ever since he was young and started to study many scientific fields in order to cure himself of his disability and manage to get revenge from Tony Stark, successfully becoming a great scientist. Alongside Maya Hansen, he was able to construct the Extremis, originally created to rewrite genetic code and allow to improve the performance of the human body.
  • Expert Businessman: Killian was an excellent businessman, as he was able to effectively manage A.I.M., a privately funded think-tank, and boost it to the point where it became one of the main Primary Systems Contractor for the United States Armed Forces and the United States Government. He was able to effectively impress Pepper Potts with his Extremis presentation as well.
  • Expert Combatant:
    Tony Stark vs Aldrich Killian

    Killian fighting against Iron Man

    During the Battle on the Norco, Killian proved himself to be highly accomplished in hand-to-hand combat, as he dueled Iron Man and was able to constantly one up him by using his Extremis abilities to target vital parts in the Iron Man armor to allow him to destroy a number of them, eventually culminating in Killian disabling all of Stark's available armors and leaving him defenseless and at his mercy until Stark was saved by Pepper Potts.

Equipment[]

Weapons[]

Other Equipment[]

  • Extremis: Killian used the Extremis serum to cure himself of his disabilities, and researched it by injecting it into other disabled soldiers. It gave him the ability to manipulate heat, breathe fire, and heal himself. He also used the serum to torture Tony Stark by injecting it into Pepper Potts.

Facilities[]

Relationships[]

Family[]

  • Father

Allies[]

Enemies[]

Appearances[]

In chronological order:

Trivia[]

  • In the comics, Aldrich Killian was one of the scientists who developed the Extremis virus, selling it to a terrorist group and committing suicide out of guilt later on.
    • The movie version is an amalgamation of his character, Mallen, and the modern version of Mandarin.

Behind the Scenes[]

References[]

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Aldrich Killian.
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The Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki has a collection of quotes related to Aldrich Killian.

External Links[]

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