Last week, we reported that the next Marvel One-Shot short film will be titled All Hail the King, although no story details were confirmed at that time. We had speculated that the short would center on Iron Man 3 star Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery, since the actor confirmed in November that he was working on a new special project for Marvel. Today, we have the first photos and plot details, which confirm that this latest Marvel One-Shot does center on Trevor, and is set just days after the events seen in Iron Man 3, with Slattery behind bars in Seagate prison for 'impersonating' terrorist Mandarin (or is he really Mandarin?). The jail has been used in the Marvel comics before, housing inmates such as Luke Cage, Comanche, Shades and Robert Rackham. Take a look at these photos of Ben Kingsley in his orange prison jumpsuit, then read on for more information about this short, which will be included on the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD released of Thor: The Dark World on February 25. How will this all tie into a potential Iron Man 4?
The 14-minute short was written and directed by Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce, described as an epilogue to the Marvel Phase Two sequel and a prologue to Iron Man 4. There were some fans who were furious about the bait-and-switch that Iron Man 3 employed, where we learned that Ben Kingsley is actually not The Mandarin, but a British actor named Trevor Slattery, hired by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) to act as the terrorist.
Drew Pearce said in an interview that the story follows a terrorist organization who also isn't happy with Slattery's portrayal of The Mandarin.
"Imagine a real terrorist organization whose beliefs were long held and religious for thousands of years, and imagine a drunk, British actor coming along and essentially telling the world that he's the face of your organization. I think they would be right to be quite angry."
The story begins as Slattery is interviewed in his cozy Seagate quarters by a documentary filmmaker, played by Scoot McNairy. As you can see in one of the photos, there is a poster for Slattery's play King Lear, which he said in Iron Man 3 was, "the toast of Croydon." The documentary attempts to explore Slattery's past, including a failed 1980s TV pilot that is similar to Miami Vice, while also trying to determine if The Ten Rings and the real Mandarin actually exists.
Here's what Drew Pearce had to say about how the story came together.
"I had spoken to Sir Ben a lot on set because Trevor was a tricky character that everyone was involved with right from the beginning. And it was always a huge risk. I was so grateful to him when he pulled it off after a year of truly worrying about whether we could land that turn. So, "The Further Adventures of Trevor" was something we had talked about on set all the time, and when we sat down to talk about what the short would be, it was Stephen [Broussard, executive producer of Iron Man 3] and Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios president] and myself and Joss Whedon and Jeremy Latcham [executive producer of Marvel's The Avengers.] So we kicked around a bunch of ideas and there were loads of them that we liked, and it was actually Joss who at a certain point went like, 'Or you could do the one that has Sir Ben Kingsley in it because you have access to Sir Ben Kingsley.'"
The writer-director said that his short also explores dialogue that was cut from Iron Man 3, where Aldrich Killian explains that The Mandarin was real.
"What it's doing on that level is, it reiterates a bunch of stuff that actually Shane [Black, director and co-writer of Iron Man 3] and I said in our interviews around the movie. There's lots of exposition in lots of different cuts of Iron Man 3 that, in the end, kind of got snubbed out. It's kind of said in Iron Man 3 but very briefly, Aldrich essentially took a thing that was real, historically real and culturally real, and co-opted it for his own means - essentially co-opting an ancient terrorist concept. What [All Hail the King] does is show that everything in Iron Man [involving the terrorist group] was canon all along any way. We kind of knew The Ten Rings were a real terrorist cell."
When asked if this is a setup for Iron Man 4, Drew Pearce had this to say.
"Oh, it couldn't possibly. [Laughs.] I think short movies in general, whether they're Marvel ones or not, you kind of want them to feel like they're opening you up to a bigger world. Yeah, I definitely think there are - the non-spoiler way for me to say it - by the end of the short, there are definitely a lot of exciting other places that are brought up in it that could then go in the Marvel universe. You know, whether that's an Iron Man movie or another one going into Phase Two or Three."
The writer-director also talked about Slattery's failed 1980s pilot entitled Caged Heat, which was Slattery's big break.
"It was a Magnum P.I. rip off pilot by CBS in 1985 and it was absolutely Trevor's big break, a KGB agent private eye let loose on Los Angeles, partly there to clean up the Russian mafia in Los Angeles, partly there because of the dark secret in his past. What's brilliant about Sir Ben is, he doesn't stay in character but he definitely stays in the zone, so whenever we would do the Dmitri stuff, the Caged Heat stuff, he would be asking me tons of questions about who Dmitri was - we were literally just shooting these shots for a title sequence, and he's like, "Why is he running from Russia? It's not just that he's coming to America, he's running from Russia." I was like, "Absolutely, there was this terrible thing - there was this drug bust that went wrong -" Suddenly I was writing Caged Heat!"
CLICK HERE to check out Drew Pearce's full interview.