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For other uses, see Mandarin (disambiguation)
"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, right? 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]

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 created an idealized terrorist persona known as the "Mandarin" portrayed by the actor Trevor Slattery to serve as his proxy, unaware the real Mandarin actually existed. Killian had also conspired with Vice President Rodriguez in an attempt to take control of both the United States of America and the War on Terror, and manipulating them for profit. However, after Killian had kidnapped both Pepper Potts and Matthew Ellis, he was then confronted by Iron Man who managed to defeat his plans with the assistance of the Iron Legion and Potts.

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. Killian's tenacity and blind determination in fighting for a better life were seen by some as irritating, as 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.[2] Killian was highly 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 present 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's work. 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 briefly contemplated committing suicide. Afterward, 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 privately-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

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Killian just before one of his soldiers explodes

"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]

After curing himself of his disabilities through Maya Hansen's research of 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."

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Killian sees Trevor Slattery as The Mandarin

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 the man called the "Mandarin", a name he decided to give to his own fake terrorist.[3] He found the failed British actor Trevor Slattery and paid him in money and drugs to portray the Mandarin. Whenever one of Killian's experiments with Extremis would fail, causing explosions and a great number of civilian casualties, his men would hack American TV signals 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] Unbeknownst to Killian, however, the Mandarin was quite real and not just a legend as he believed.[3]

Meeting with Pepper Potts

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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]

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 Killian 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.

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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' support 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 Potts 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. 13 years earlier but was turned down. He tried arguing that Potts didn't have to answer to Stark and had the ability to 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 Tony 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

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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 attempted to contact Tony Stark right before the destruction of his mansion, Killian decided to track her down and learned 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. Hansen 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

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Killian explaining his own plan to Tony Stark

"Anyway, the point is, ever since that big dude with a hammer fell out of the sky, subtlety's kinda had its day."
―Aldrich Killian to Tony Stark[src]

Tony Stark was captured by Eric Savin when he broke into Aldrich Killian's Mansion and discovered the truth about Trevor Slattery. Killian held Stark captive in his mansion and, having Pepper Potts as his hostage, he injected her with Extremis to further motivate and antagonize Stark to work for him. Upon meeting an imprisoned Stark, Killian revealed his intentions of using the Mandarin as a figurehead for his campaign, allowing him to secretly rule the populace with fear. Killian then revealed the torture he was inflicting on Potts, subtly blackmailing Stark with her survival in exchange for an improved Extremis.

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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 torture Stark and Potts. Killian initially tried to change her mind, but was quickly bored and 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. As Eric Savin failed to cut open the suit, Killian used his Extremis powers to slowly heat up the suit, boiling Rhodes inside.

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Killian breathes fire to stop James Rhodes

Eventually, the heat proved too much and Rhodes was forced to leap out to try and fight his way out of the facility, kicking over Eric 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 now had control over the War of Terror and would create supply and demand for the weaponry, leading to massive profits for A.I.M..[1]

Hijacking of Air Force One

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Killian speaks to the captured Pepper Potts

"What do you want from me?"
"Uh... nothing, sir. I just needed a reason to kill you that would play well on TV."
Matthew Ellis and Aldrich Killian[src]

Killian ordered Eric Savin to use the Iron Patriot armor to pose as James Rhodes and abduct Matthew Ellis. He then planned to orchestrate a live feed showcasing Ellis' murder from the oil tanker Norco across the nation, further giving the American people the belief that the Mandarin was responsible. Killian would next install Rodriguez as President and his puppet for Killian, effectively allowing him to take over the United States of America. Killian joined Pepper Potts at the Norco and spoke to her when she awoke from her torture, confessing that she was there purely as his personal "trophy".

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Killian speaks to President 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's 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

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Killian swiftly ambushes Tony Stark

"Ooh, is that hot in there? Stuck? Feel a little stuck? Like a little turtle, cooking in his little turtle suit? She's watching. I think you should close your eyes."
―Aldrich Killian to 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 found Stark trying to save Pepper Potts and angrily attacked him, disabling his suit. Killian then pressed a heated finger on Stark's chest and began to melt the suit, aiming to kill Stark by overheating his heart while forcing Potts to watch. However, Stark managed to slice off Killian's arm and escape while Potts fell onto a gantry.[1]

Showdown with Stark

IronManVsMandarin2-IM3

Killian furiously fights against Iron Man

"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 to Tony Stark[src]

After Pepper Potts seemingly fell to her death in an explosion, Killian taunted Tony 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 42 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 42's self-destruct function, seemingly blowing Killian up in the process.[1]

Killian Defeated

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Aldrich 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 explosion, albeit heavily scarred by the exploding armor. After the complex in which the two were fighting was demolished, he confronted the battered 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."

BurntKillian-IM3

Killian comes face-to-face with 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 VIII suit and utilized its capabilities to blast him to the ground. Potts then threw an explosive bullet casing at Killian before detonating it in his face, killing him before his body could fully regenerate.[1]

Personality

Aldrich Killian was in many ways the antithetical of Tony Stark; described as a personal demon created by Stark's own actions. In dealings and interactions with his business associates, Killian was immature, arrogant, and unpredictable in his words and body movements to the point of expressing anger, violence and even killing someone whilst retaining his original composure and whimsy to intimidate and unnerve his enemies and allies. Primarily though, his plans revolved around hurting Stark. Killian idolized him once, but the rejection he suffered seemed to break his mind completely as he wished revenge on his former idol. Killian also surrounded himself with women connected to Stark, including Maya Hansen and Pepper Potts, claiming that Potts was indeed his trophy over Stark. He revolved himself and A.I.M. around a mantra of anonymity that he developed in Switzerland, operating in A.I.M. and advancing Extremis within the shadows whilst handing a public enemy, the Mandarin for the explosion caused by the Extremis misfires.

His upper torso was riddled with tattoos of dragons and Chinese proverbs, akin to the philosophy of the teachings and studies of the Mandarin, perhaps a reason for why he chose the Mandarin as a disguise for Extremis' explosions or it was just simple coincidence.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

Due to being infected by the Extremis virus, Killian displays 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.

Shotgun 8

Killian restraining one of Iron Man's armor

  • Superhuman Strength: Extremis enhanced Killian's muscles to the point of being 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.
  • Regenerative Healing Factor: 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.
  • Exothermic Manipulation: 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.
Iron-man3-movie-screencaps.com-10193

Killian breathing fire out of his mouth

"You... You breathe fire? Okay."
James Rhodes to Aldrich Killian[src]
  • Fire Breath: 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

  • Genius Level Intellect: Killian was a highly intelligent individual, known to be a genius while still young, and had an affinity for science. 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.
  • 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.
  • Expert Martial Artist: During the battle of Norco, Killian proved himself to be highly accomplished in hand-to-hand combat, as he dueled Iron Man and was able to constantly outfight 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 destroying all of Stark's available armors and leaving him defenseless and at his mercy.

Equipment

Weapons

Other Equipment

Facilities

Relationships

Family

  • Father

Allies

Enemies

Trivia

  • In the comics, Aldrich Killian was one of the scientists who developed the Extremis virus, sending it to a terrorist group and committing suicide later on.
    • The movie version is an amalgamation of his character, Mallen and the modern version of Mandarin.
  • The non-canon video game Iron Man 3 - The Official Game revealed that his consciousness had been "downloaded" by A.I.M. prior to his physical death and uploaded into a new, enhanced form: M.O.D.O.K.[4]

Behind the Scenes

  • Kevin Feige revealed in an interview that early drafts of Iron Man depicted the Mandarin as a younger individual (a contemporary to Tony Stark) who would have business dealings with Stark Industries. Though this idea was eventually omitted to further push Obadiah Stane as the main antagonist of the film as opposed to the Mandarin, some of the traits for the character were incorporated into Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3.
  • Shane Black revealed that Killian's role in Iron Man 3 was originally set to be played by a female character who was pulling Killian's strings from behind; the plot point inspired by the Remington Steele television series.[5] However, the idea was rejected because a female character would not sell as many toys. Ironically, no Killian action figures were produced.[6]
  • An early draft of the Iron Man 3 script had Killian using Extremis-enhanced pheromones to seduce Pepper Potts, filming himself having sex with her and then broadcasting it across the world while Tony Stark shopped for homemade weapon supplies.[7]
  • Before Guy Pearce was cast as Aldrich Killian, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jude Law were considered for the role.[8] Although, Jude Law would portray Yon-Rogg in Captain Marvel.
  • The movie's depiction of Killian was initially described by Shane Black as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of the Mandarin, but the release of Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King has proven otherwise.[9] However, in 2016, Black confirmed in an interview with Uproxx that All Hail the King was made as an apology to fans who were angry about the Mandarin twist.[6]
  • Chris Brewster was a stunt double for Guy Pearce in the role of Aldrich Killian.

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.

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