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For other uses, see Mandarin (disambiguation)
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"Throughout my life, the Ten Rings gave our family power. If you want them to be yours one day, you have to show me you're strong enough to carry them."
―Xu Wenwu to Shang-Chi[src]

Xu Wenwu (Chinese: 徐文武) was a legendary and nearly mythical figure, who rose to power after discovering a set of mythical rings, and founded the army known as the Ten Rings. Wenwu established himself as a powerful warlord who conquered kingdoms over the millennia, the rings' power halting his aging process. In the modern-day, Wenwu continued seeking power, finding the ancient city of Ta Lo. He fell in love with Ta Lo's gatekeeper, Ying Li, and fathered Xu Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing. Despite swearing off violence to raise his family, Wenwu eventually reclaimed his rings when Ying Li was murdered at the hands of the Iron Gang. He trained Shang-Chi to be an assassin to avenge his wife's murder. However, Wenwu's two children would grow fearful of their father and eventually abandon him.

In the 21st Century, Wenwu discovered that Aldrich Killian had used Trevor Slattery to impersonate him, claiming responsibility for terrorist attacks. Enraged by the insulting moniker of the Mandarin, Wenwu had Slattery abducted and sentenced to imprisonment for tarnishing his name. Eventually, Wenwu would begin hearing his late wife's voice, urging him to free her from imprisonment in Ta Lo. Wenwu sought out his children to aid him, only for Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing to reject his request, siding with Ying Nan to stop his army. Through his attempts to rescue his wife, Wenwu unintentionally unleashed the Dweller-in-Darkness. In his final moments, Wenwu passed the Ten Rings down to Shang-Chi, before the Dweller drained his soul and killed him.

Biography

Early Life

Legendary Warlord

"He was a warrior-king. Inspired generations of men through the Middle Ages, perhaps even further back in time."
Jackson Norriss to Trevor Slattery[src]

Around one thousand years ago, Xu Wenwu discovered ten mysterious rings which gifted him with unmatched power and immortality. Possessing the power of the rings, Wenwu became a powerful warlord and founded the organization, known as the Ten Rings.[1] Wenwu's past was shrouded in mystery, but his followers had described him as being an ancient warrior-king that has inspired generations of men since the Middle Ages.

As the leader of the Ten Rings, Wenwu had become a myth to his followers, with only his most trusted men being aware that he really exists.[3] He eventually became synonymous with the moniker known as "Mandarin", which was an ancient Chinese war mantle, meaning "advisor to the King".[2] Although Wenwu was rather dismissive of the moniker, due to its association with oranges,[1] it became strongly associated with his persona, even among his own subordinates.[3]

Ten Rings' Crusades

Having established his name as a legendary and feared warlord, Wenwu traveled across Asia, building the power of the Ten Rings and conquering whatever lands he desired. Wenwu would lead his army to a castle, where the armies defending it, stood in fear as Wenwu approached alone, on horseback. As a sea of arrows were fired at him, Wenwu unleashed the power of his Ten Rings, blocking the arrows as he charged forward.

With the power of his rings, Wenwu launched himself through the air, and landed in the middle of the defending army, as he swiftly used the power of his rings to obliterate his enemies. Keeping his foes at bay, Wenwu eventually launched a massive power strike from his rings, which blew through the apposing army and obliterated the gateway into the castle. Wenwu and his army were swiftly victorious, and had claimed the castle in the name of the Ten Rings.

Wenwu watches Ten Rings soldiers training

Wenwu and his army would take control of another facility, which would become the Ten Rings Headquarters, where Wenwu would continue ruling over the Ten Rings, observing his army of soldiers training. Through the few hundred years, Wenwu would use his army's to continue building his power, as they assassinated their enemies and conquered more of the globe. However, despite the immense power he had gained, Wenwu would never be satisfied, and continued seeking more power.[1]

Search for Ta Lo

In 1996, Wenwu, not yet fully satisfied with his power, seeked out the village of Ta Lo, said to contain various mythical beasts, to expand his powers. Despite the forest itself attacking him and his men, he made it to village’s entrance, where he encountered a woman named Ying Li, who guardedthe entrance to Ta Lo. She and Wenwu engaged in a fight, where she displayed her own impressive combat skills, but the two immediately began to fall in love.[1]

Reunion with Ying Li

Having fallen for Ying Li, Wenwu returned where they would have dates at that same location and eventually fell in love. However, the villagers of Ta Lo would not accept Wenwu, fearing his past sins would have destroyed the village. As a result, Ying Li decided to leave Ta Lo with Wenwu.

Fleeting Peace

"The truth is, I've had many names throughout my life: "The Warrior-King", "Master Khan", "The Most Dangerous Man on Earth". For years, I thought that was all I was meant to be. But when I met their mother... everything changed."
―Xu Wenwu to Katy Chen[src]

Wenwu eventually married and had two children with Ying Li: a son named Xu Shang-Chi and a daughter named Xu Xialing. For a time, Wenwu settled down with his family, loving them enough to set aside his terrorist empire and even forsake the power of the Ten Rings in order to be with them.[1]

Losing his Love

However, one night, old adversaries of the Ten Rings, the Iron Gang, attacked the compound, and while Ying Li fought them off, she was killed by them.[1]

Ten Rings Return

Massacre of the Iron Gang

Wenwu bringing Shang-Chi on his mission

Enraged by the death of Ying Li, Wenwu made the choice to put all the rings back on, and seek out his revenge. To this end, Wenwu tracked down the members of the Iron Gang who had invaded his home and murdered his wife. Upon finding them, Wenwu brought Shang-Chi with him, so that he could witness him avenging his wife, as Wenwu and Shang-Chi calmly entered the bar where the Iron Gang had been hiding.

Wenwu furiously attacking the Iron Gang

Letting go of Shang-Chi's hand, Wenwu stepped over to the table where the Iron Gang were enjoying drinks, as he proceeded to power up his rings, and smashed his fist through their table, obliterating it and shocking the men. Before they could even react, Wenwu proceeded to slaughter the Iron Gang, using the power of his rings to launch them across the room with incredible force, all while Shang-Chi watched in shock, stepping aside as Wenwu launched a man into the wall beside him.

Wenwu brutally kills the final gang member

With the final wounded gang member lying by Shang-Chi's feet, Wenwu stepped over to him with his rings powered up, as Wenwu demanded to know where the Iron Gang Leader was so that he could kill him. However, as the gang member insisted that he did not know, Wenwu proceeded to kill him with a blast of energy to the head, all while Shang-Chi watched on. With his revenge partly satisfied, Wenwu then took Shang Chi's hand and left, while planning how he would find the gang's leader.[1]

Training Shang-Chi

Following this, Wenwu rededicated himself to the Ten Rings, and trained Shang-Chi in martial arts, with the assistance of Death Dealer.[1]

Stark Industries Technologies

"I understand you failed to obtain the War Machine Armor. Explain why you should leave this room alive."
"I-It's true, Mandarin. We did not succeed in capturing Rhodes. However, the conflict served its purpose. Our hidden agents analyzed the armor with every imaginable scanning device."
―Wenwu and Ten Rings Agent[src]

In 2009, the Ten Rings struck a deal with Obadiah Stane which involved purchasing the illegal Stark Industries weapons. The Ten Rings ambushed the United States Air Force convoy in Afghanistan and kidnapped Tony Stark, imprisoning him in their base, attempting to force him into making them weapons for them. However, Stark made a suit of armor and escaped. Stane later betrayed the Ten Rings and had Raza as well as multiple of his men killed.[4]

Wenwu targeted Stark and attempted to have him assassinated by using Ivan Vanko, sending his agent to arrange passage for Vanko to Monaco, although this failed.[5] Over the next year, the Ten Rings suffered numerous defeats at the hands of Iron Man, as Wenwu ordered his men to capture James Rhodes and his new armor. Although Rhodes managed to defeat the Ten Rings, to Wenwu's frustration, his men managed to obtain a valuable information needed to take Iron Man down.[6]

2012 Copycat Attacks

"Some years ago, a terrorist in 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]

In 2012, Aldrich Killian orchestrated the series of terrorist attacks against the United States of America, using the moniker of Mandarin. However, Trevor Slattery who portrayed Mandarin, completely twisted the legend of "the Mandarin", which absolutely infuriated Wenwu, who planned to reclaim his name. After Killian was defeated by Iron Man, Slattery was arrested and imprisoned in the Seagate Penitentiary, and Wenwu sent Jackson Norriss to break Slattery out and capture him.

Disguised as a documentary filmmaker, Norriss successfully infiltrated the prison and abducted Slattery into the Mandarin's custody. Norriss explained to Slattery the legend of the Mandarin, and had sworn that Slattery would suffer greatly for the insult done against him.[3] Norriss kidnapped Slattery and brought him to Wenwu himself who was intended to kill him, however, in the last moments, he witnessed Slattery's actor performance and changed his mind. Wenwu decided to keep Slattery as his personal "court jester" and imprisoned him at his headquarters.[1]

Shang-Chi's First Mission

Once Shang-Chi was fourteen years old, Wenwu decided that he would send him out to assassinate the leader of the Iron Gang, and thereby avenge Ying Li's death. However, despite completing his mission, Shang-Chi failed to return to the Ten Rings Headquarters, and chose to hide himself from Wenwu. Xialing would eventually defect as well. Wenwu used his vast resources to easily track down his children, but respected their decision to leave the Ten Rings and instead kept a close eye on them in their self-imposed exile.[1]

Family Reunion

Searching His Children

To be added

Returning back Home

To be added

Revealing The Secret Map

To be added

Preparing for War

To be added

Battle of Ta Lo

To be added

Legacy

Ten Rings' Leadership

"If my dad won't let me into his empire, I'm gonna build my own."
Xu Xialing to Katy Chen[src]

To be added

Personality

"我吃的盐比你吃的饭还要多。[7]"
―Xu Wenwu to Guang Bo[src]

A ruthless and calculating warlord, Wenwu led the Ten Rings with an iron fist, threatening his subordinates with death if they did not accomplish his orders, like when one of his agents failed in obtaining the War Machine Armor. His mystical rings gave him an insatiable hunger for power for centuries, aiming to be the Khan of the entire world. Nevertheless, Wenwu is not extremely cruel with his men: when his agent told him that he had got valuable information surrounding War Machine's battle suit, Wenwu simply spared him, demonstrating that he accepts any kind of useful progress on his plans. He also had great respect for the family, in a quest for power he met a woman named Ying Li, whom he married and had two children Shang-Chi and Xialing which led him to leave his cloak and focus on family life, but all that changed when a criminal organization called Iron Gang murdered his wife returned to his cloak to avenge her and take up the cause he thought he had left behind, training their children for their succession.

Having his style of leadership, Wenwu has demonstrated that he does not like to be imitated, being willing to punish those who had dared to impersonate him for their purposes. When the Mandarin fiasco engineered by Aldrich Killian incriminated the Ten Rings from Extremis-caused explosions and had Trevor Slattery posing as the leader of the Ten Rings, Wenwu resented them enough even after Killian died to the point of sending one of his most loyal agents to the Seagate Penitentiary to abduct Slattery.

Wenwu showed somewhat of a dry humor when joking about how the fake name Killian came up with to impersonate him was ridiculous and found it funny that USA was intimidated "by an orange dish", similarly he decided to spare Trevor Slattery from execution after being amused by his acting performances, instead deciding to keep Trevor as a prisoner and make him a jester for his court on an occasional basis.

Despite all, he greatly loved and cared for Ying Li, his late wife, and was willing to put side his organization away as living a normal life with her while raising a family. Ying Li was the best of him and the only woman he ever loved enough to become a better man and loving father. Sadly, her death caused him to take his position again and take vengeance on her murder. As a result, he became cold and distant towards his children, forcing Shang-Chi into a hellish training to become a dangerous martial artist while manipulating him, while also neglecting Xialing and not allowing her to train alongside her brother.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

This section requires expansion
  • Ten Rings Empowerment: The Ten Rings gave the user superhuman attributes when used. They increased Wenwu's strength, durability, speed, agility, and gained abilities include manipulating energy, and enabling him to live for thousands of years.
    • Superhuman Strength: Wenwu could easily break a table and throw a full grown man across the room. By transferring all ten rings into one arm, they greatly augmented his physical strength.
    • Enhanced Durability: Wenwu was able to survive car crashes and easily kept fighting after getting hit by Shang-Chi's blows.
    • Enhanced Speed: Wenwu was fast even to blitz the Iron Gang members and outrun his enemies.
    • Enhanced Agility: Wenwu was agile enough to stay put during his fight with Ying Li, who was an airbender.
    • Longevity: The power from the Ten Rings enabled him to stay in his prime despite being thousands of years old.
    • Energy Manipulation: Wenwu was able to use the rings' energy to punch the ground, use the rings to create a shield, and able to remotely control the rings when he is not wearing them.
      • Force-Field Generation: To be added
      • Energy Projection: To be added
      • Energy Whip: To be added

Abilities

This section requires expansion
  • Master Martial Artist: As the leader of the Ten Rings, Wenwu was an extremely skilled master hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, with more than a century's worth of training and combat experience, making him one of the most dangerous and best fighters on the planet. He had defeated and killed many enemies in his lifetime. Wenwu also trained his son Shang-Chi into one of the most dangerous martial artist in the world. He repeatedly defeated numerous opponents with ease and held his own well against Ying Li despite her great martial arts skills being complimented by her aerokinesis. When fighting Shang-Chi, Wenwu proved to be a superior fighter, able to easily gain the upper hand on and decisively defeat his son while he was using a Dragon Scale Staff, though Wenwu was using the rings. He was able to knock him down repeatedly and swiftly reverse Shang-Chi's brief dominance, breaking his staff and sending him into the ocean. Even after Shang-Chi acquired his aerokinesis, Wenwu was still able to fight evenly with him, managing to deliver multiple blows and counter Shang-Chi's moves, ultimately ending the fight in a standstill.
  • Whip Mastery: Wenwu proved to be highly skilled in using the energy whip which he conjured using the Ten Rings. He is able to easily take down multiple enemies with a single swing and can match Shang-Chi using the rings to conjure an energy whip of his own evenly.
  • Master Acrobat: Wenwu was highly skilled acrobat and gymnast due to years of training and experience. His acrobatic abilities was further enhanced by the powers of the Ten Rings. He was able to perform highly acrobatic feats when fighting against Shang-Chi and Ying Li.
  • Master Tactician: To be added
  • Bilingualism: Wenwu was fluent in his native Chinese and English.

Equipment

Weapons

This section requires expansion

Other Equipment

This section requires expansion

To be added

Vehicles

This section requires expansion

Facilities

This section requires expansion

Relationships

Family

Allies

Enemies

Appearances

Appearances for the Mandarin

In chronological order:

Trivia

  • In the comics, the Mandarin is a would-be conqueror who came across ten Makluan rings, whose power he used to build a criminal empire. Using a combination of superhuman martial arts abilities, alien science, Chi manipulation, and the ten energy-blasting Makluan rings, the Mandarin wages a never-ending war on civilization. He was also one of Iron Man's greatest enemies.
  • Shang-Chi's father in the comics was originally Fu Manchu, a Chinese doctor and criminal mastermind, who was an adaptation of the character of the same name from Sax Rohmer's novels. When Marvel lost the comic book rights of Fu Manchu, the character was reinvented as Zheng Zu, a powerful Chinese sorcerer and leader of the Five Weapons Society.
  • Wenwu is named after the Chinese dual concept of wen (civil administration) and wu (martial administration).
  • One of the many aliases that Wenwu claimed he had been called was "Master Khan." In the comics, Master Khan is a villainous sorcerer from K'un-Lun and an enemy of Iron Fist who was killed by Namor. The alias "Master Kahn" was also later used by the Mandarin in the comics.

Behind the Scenes

  • According to Jon Favreau and Jeff Bridges, the Mandarin was intended to be the primary villain in the first Iron Man. Kevin Feige revealed in an interview that early drafts of the film depicted the Mandarin as a younger individual, 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 the character of Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3.
  • The Mandarin was considered by Marvel Studios to be introduced in The Avengers alongside Shang-Chi in the post-credits scene as a tease for the Chinese market, but Beijing's development team shot down the idea as they didn't want the first Chinese character of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be a villain.[8]
  • Early versions of the story of Iron Man 3 featured the real Mandarin, but writer Drew Pearce suggested the idea that the film's Mandarin was an impostor during one of the writing sessions, conceiving the character that ultimately became Trevor Slattery. Director Shane Black detailed: "Who would be fool enough to declare that they're an international terrorist? If you're smart, whatever regime you're part of, you'd put a puppet committee and remain in your house".[9]
  • David Callaham has stated that Wenwu does not use the title of "The Mandarin" himself: "Our version of the character is not The Mandarin in the way that people are expecting him to be. "The Mandarin" is a title that has been applied to him in the past by people that don't understand his culture. But he's a much deeper character than I think a lot of people would expect." Destin Daniel Cretton followed on from this by stating: "It was for me the part of the Shang-Chi comics that I personally really connected to. It was really important for us to find the root of that anger and that pain. That was the goal from the get-go, and probably the number one fear of all of us was creating a Mandarin that was further contributing to the "Yellow Peril" type of stereotypes that are still flying around."[10]
  • Tony Leung revealed in an interview with GQ that he created a backstory for Wenwu in which he was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father and grew up without self-esteem as a result. Upon gaining superpowers, he wished to rediscover his self-esteem, though it caused him to become narcissistic and take his anger out on everyone else. These factors ultimately led to him being unable to love his children, due to his inability to love himself.[11]
  • In an early version of the story of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Wenwu survived.[12]

References

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