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 the 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, as soon as 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.


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 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, as he often came across as obnoxious. He could not accept the cards he was dealt, and being as intelligent as he was, he had a real drive to change himself and become a different person.[1] Killian was highly influenced by his father and would often quote phrases he said.[2]

Pitching Extremis

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

Killian first encountering with Tony Stark

On New Year's Eve 1999 in Bern, Switzerland, Aldrich Killian initially asked for Tony Stark's support for his project under Advanced Idea Mechanics, only to be shunned and ignored by the latter. Stark lied and said he would meet him on the roof of the building, but he never came.


Killian considers ending his own life

After his realization that Stark had ignored his proposition, Killian briefly contemplated on committing suicide. Afterward, his lonesome presence on the roof caused him to relish in his state of anonymity, in which Killian decided to work on his own in creating an expansive and covert business for himself.

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Killian interviews candidates for his Extremis

Although Tony Stark never contacted Killian again, Maya Hansen did call him and joined his organization, using her designs for a formula named Extremis. Over the years, through his privately-funded organization A.I.M., Aldrich Killian created a team to further research and develop Extremis, which imparts 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.[2]

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 disability through Maya Hansen's research of Extremis, he conducted many illegal experiments, 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".


Killian sees Trevor Slattery as The Mandarin

After researching 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", Killian decided to give that name to his own fake terrorist.[3] He found the failed British actor Trevor Slattery and paid him in money and drugs to play the Mandarin. Whenever one of Killian's experiments with Extremis would fail, causing explosions and a great number of civilian casualties, Killian's 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.[2] Unknown to Killian, however, the Mandarin was quite real and not just a legend as he believed.[3]

Meeting with Pepper


Killian is reunited with Pepper Potts

"Imagine if you could hack into the hard drive of any living organism and recode its DNA."
"It would be incredible. Unfortunately, to my ears, it also sounds highly weaponizable."
―Aldrich Killian and Pepper Potts[src]

Killian approached Pepper Potts of Stark Industries to join him in the funding and research of Extremis. Potts met Killian in her office and was shocked at the physical change he had gone through since she had last seen him, Killian told her how happy he was to see her 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 he'd come to Stark Industries intending for Potts and Stark to join his organization A.I.M., or at least invest in his concepts for world-changing ideas. Killian pitched his concept of Extremis by using a 3D hologram of his own brain and showed how Extremis can upgrade a person's entire DNA. Killian enthusiastically showed off his understanding of the human body and explained how Extremis heals and regenerates cells at an extraordinary level. Potts was impressed by the concept and the presentation.


Killian leaves Stark Industries

With the pitch over with, Pepper Potts and Aldrich Killian continued to discuss the concept of Extremis. In the end, it was an offer Potts declined due to believing the serum could be highly weaponizable, which she believed Tony Stark would never support, although Killian argued that Stark might not be the best person to vote on the matter, noting that he had invited Stark to join A.I.M. years earlier and had been turned down, but Potts stood by her word and told Killian that Stark Industries would not be investing in A.I.M.. When Killian left Stark Industries, he expressed his disappointment but gave Potts a kiss on the cheek before leaving with his bodyguard Eric Savin.[2]

Using the Mandarin


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 attack Stark's Mansion. Once the attack was complete, Killian received a call from Eric Savin informing him that Stark's mansion was destroyed 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.[2]

Kidnapping Pepper Potts


Killian successfully kidnaps Pepper Potts

"You think he'll help you... he won't."
"It's more, uh, embarrassing than that. You're here as my, uh..."
Pepper Potts and Aldrich Killian[src]

Upon discovering that Maya Hansen attempted to save Tony Stark due to him holding the knowledge of perfecting Extremis, Killian decided to kidnap Pepper Potts as leverage. Killian arrived at the hotel where Potts and Hansen were hiding and attacked the pair, killing the waiter who arrived at their room and choking out Potts while demanding to know what Hansen was doing going to Stark.[2]

Capturing Tony Stark


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 kept him captured and, having Pepper Potts as his hostage, he injected her with Extremis to further motivate and antagonize Stark to work for him. With Stark's continued refusal to help him, Killian decided to leave him in captivity while keeping Potts as his personal "trophy".


Killian casually executing Maya Hansen

When Maya Hansen had a change of heart upon seeing the lengths Killian was willing to do to torture Stark, she tried to convince Killian to set Stark free by threatening to an overdose of Extremis. Killian initially tried to change her mind, but was quickly bored and casually shot and killed her. As he left, he jokingly commented that a high ranking position within A.I.M. was now available, causing Stark to call 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.

Torturing James 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.


Killian breathes fire to stop James Rhodes

Eventually, the heat proved too much and Rhodes was forced to leap out and 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 gave up, Savin then pushed him 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.[2]

Hijacking of Air Force One


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 broadcasting the murder of Ellis across the nation, further giving the American people the belief that the Mandarin was responsible. He would next install Rodriguez as President, who would act as a puppet for Killian, effectively allowing him to take over the United States of America. Killian brought Pepper Potts with him and spoke to her when she awoke from her torture, confessing that she was there purely as his 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 the Norco, that was responsible for accidentally spilling a million gallons of crude oil off the coast of Pensacola, to kill Ellis by drowning him in oil or blowing him up. He then had his soldiers string up Ellis while he wore the Iron Patriot armor and broadcasted the image across America.

Battle on the Norco


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, Stark finally found Pepper Potts, only for her to be trapped under debris from an earlier explosion. Before Stark was able to rescue her, Killian angrily attacked him and disabled his suit. Killian then pressed his red hot finger on Stark's chest and began to melt the suit, getting closer and closer to his heart. Before Killian could execute him, however, Stark sliced off his arm and escaped while Potts fell onto a gantry.[2]

Showdown with Stark


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]

While Pepper Potts seemingly died after falling hundreds of feet into an explosion, Killian approached Tony Stark for a duel. The two engaged in a brutal fight 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 and Stark was left defenseless and at Killian's mercy.


Killian is restrained by the Mark XLII

Killian continued to mock Stark, noting that he almost had Pepper Potts perfect before she had died. Before he could kill Stark, J.A.R.V.I.S. sent the Mark 42 prototype to aid him in his battle, however, the malfunctioning armor crash landed and fell apart upon impact. Stark then told Killian that Potts was already perfect before kinetically attached the armor onto Killian to stall his movements. After commanding the suit to pin Killian against the wall, Tony Stark then activated the Mark 42's self-destruct function, seemingly blowing Killian up in the process.[2]

Mandarin Defeated

Aldrich killian

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 armour. After the complex in which the two were fighting was demolished, he confronted the battered Tony Stark. Advancing towards him, Killian was proud of his crimes and asserted to be "Mandarin" himself, elaborating that the two should stop wearing "false faces".


Killian comes face-to-face with Pepper Potts

Just before he was able to attack Stark, Pepper Potts attacked him from behind, having survived her fall with the help of her newfound Extremis abilities. Just before Killian was able to retaliate, Potts ripped a repulsor arm from the Mark VIII suit, attaching it to herself and utilizing its capabilities. After hurling Killian to the ground, Potts threw an explosive bullet casing at Killian before detonating it in his face, killing him before his body could fully regenerate.[2]


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


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 touchable to melt Iron Man's armor, and channels 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.

Killian breathing fire out of his mouth

  • 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.


  • 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.
Tony Stark vs Aldrich Killian

Killian fighting against Iron Man

  • 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.



Other Equipment




  • Father




  • In the comics, Killian was one of the scientists who developed the Extremis virus, sending it to a terrorist group and committing suicide later on. However, Aldrich Killian's character in the movie is an amalgamation of the characters Aldrich Killian, Mallen and the modern version of Mandarin.
  • In the non-canon video game Iron Man 3 - The Official Game it is revealed that Killian's 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 was considered for the role.[8]
  • 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.


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