|Appeared in||Iron Man 3|
- "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[src]
In 1999, Aldrich Killian initially asked for Tony Stark's support for his project under Advanced Idea Mechanics, only to be shunned and ignored. After realizing that Tony had ignored his proposition, Aldrich decided to work on his own, creating an expansive business for himself.
Over the years, through his privately funded organization A.I.M., Killian created a team to further research and develop the Extremis virus, which imparts unusual levels of strength and resiliency to human subjects. One of these tests however back fired and resulted in the death of Chad Davis. Other tests however allowed him to recruit Eric Savin and Ellen Brandt to his cause. He claimed to have funded the Ten Rings using his image of the "Mandarin". To maintain this illusion he used British actor Trevor Slattery to portray the leader of a terrorist organization.
When Rhodey flew around the world in his new battle suit, destroying the terrorist cells of the Ten Rings organization, in which "The Mandarin" sent members of A.I.M under the disguise of Ten Rings members to capture him and his armor. Though they failed in their mission, one of A.I.M members returned to Miami and reported to "The Mandarin" that their hidden agents managed to scan the War Machine armor, thus obtaining invaluable information for "The Mandarin" to use against Tony Stark.
After curing himself of his disability by using a dose of his own Extremis virus, he appropriated a terrorist persona known as "The Mandarin" to mask his failed experiments as terrorist attacks. Having appropriated the iconography and the name of the ruler of the terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings, Killian placed the blame of his illegal activities on the group while falsely designating the persona of his Mandarin as their de-facto leader. When Tony threatened the Mandarin in light of Happy Hogan being caught in one of Killain's experimental failures, Killian responded to Tony's taunts by attacking his house. Upon discovering that Maya Hansen attempted to save Tony due to him holding the knowledge of perfecting Extremis, Killian decides to kidnap Pepper Potts as leverage. Having Pepper Potts as his hostage, he injected her with the Extremis virus to further motivate and antagonize Tony to work for him. With Tony's continued refusal to help him, Killian decides to leave him in captivity while keeping Pepper as his personal "trophy".
After his men had abducted President Ellis, Killian had planned to orchestrate a live feed showing the murder of Ellis, only to have Tony Stark and James Rhodes to interrupt and attack their base with the help of Tony's J.A.R.V.I.S.-controlled Iron Man suits. In the ensuing battle, Tony finally found Pepper, only for her to be trapped under debris. Before he was able to rescue her, an angry Killian attacked Tony. Tony managed to distract Killian so as to allow him to rescue Pepper.
While Pepper seemingly died after falling to her apparent death, Killian approached Tony and taunted him for a one-on-one battle. The two engaged in a brutal fight with Tony switching between various Iron Man suits as Killian destroyed each one after another. As Tony was unable to attach any more extra armor onto himself, JARVIS sent the Mark 42 prototype to aid Tony in his battle. Tony then kinetically attached the armor onto Killian to stall his movements. After commanding the suit to pin Killian against the wall, Tony then activated the Mark 42's self-destruct function, thus blowing Killian up in the process.
After the scaffolding in which the two were fighting was destroyed, the battered Tony is confronted by Killian who is shown as surviving the explosion. Taunting Tony, he elaborated upon the revelation that he is the true culprit and that he is in fact "The Mandarin" and that the two should stop hiding behind "false faces". Just before he is able to attack Tony, Pepper attacked him from behind, having survived her fall with the help of her new found Extremis abilities. Just before Killian was able to retaliate, Pepper knocked him away. After ripping an arm off from one of the stray Iron Man suits, Pepper attached it to her herself, kicked a dropped missile at Killian and detonated it with a blast from the arm's repulsor, consuming Killian in the blast and finally killing him.
Killian was obsessive, arrogant and possessed a superiority complex, most notably after curing himself through Extremis. He came to treasure the notion of "anonymity" and had adopted it as his mantra in life; manipulating events in the shadows without anyone knowing about his true identity. His goal revolved around the idea of striving for perfection, further reflected in his desire to grant Extremis to those who are willing.
Powers and Abilities
By injecting the virus into himself, Killian's disability had been cured and he was able to utilize the Extremis virus, thereby granting him super strength, durability, heat-based abilities and high-speed regeneration. He was shown as being able to breathe fire albeit on one occasion. His body was adorned with dragon tattoos, further drawing the connection to his appropriation of the "Mandarin" and the East-Asian motif of the terrorist persona.
- Extremis: Hansen leading a 40-strong team of A.I.M scientists, developed Extremis. It completely healed Killian's body of his disabilities, much like the Super Soldier Serum did with Steve Rogers. Extremis enhances the body, upgrading strength, speed and durability to superhuman levels. Killian was shown to have the most advanced capabilities through his infusion with Extremis. Killian also seemed to have some skill in martial arts, as he was able to effectively fight Tony in hand-to-hand combat in correlation with his Extremis abilities: He tore through Tony's suits and managed to defeat him, despite Tony's skill in hand-to-hand combat and the powers his suit granted him.
- Enhanced Strength: Extremis enhanced Killian's physical strength, the full limits of which aren't known. However, he easily flipped Iron Man, as well as being able to tear through many of Tony's armors.
- Enhanced Reflexes and Agility: Extremis enhanced Killian's agility, balance, flexibility, dexterity, and bodily coordination to superhuman levels. This was demonstrated when he was able to dodge Iron Man's repulsors at point blank range.
- Enhanced Speed: Extremis enhanced Killian's speed, the full limits of which aren't known.
- Enhanced Durability: Killian's durability has been enhanced even more so than the average Extremis users, who themselves would receive only minor damage from lower caliber firearms (specifically Rhodey's 9mm handgun) and could survive blunt force trauma that would kill a normal human. Killian is able to survive being struck repeatedly by Iron Man and took a few shots from his repulsors. He also got back up (albeit with heavy injuries) after being blown up by a self-destructing Iron Man armor and thrown off of a crane. He is finally done in when Pepper detonates one of the Iron Man suit's tank buster missiles in his face.
- Enhanced Healing: Extremis gives the human body tissue regeneration capabilities. Killian was able to regenerate his left hand after Tony had cut it off during their fight with Tony wearing the Silver Centurion armor. Despite Tony managing to trap Killian with the Mark XLII and causing it to self-destruct, a weakened Killian still managed to rise from the resulting wreckage.
- Exothermic Reaction: Extremis allowed Killian to be able to consciously raise the temperature of parts of his body. Killian can control 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 was able to heat the Iron Patriot armor to the point of forcing it to automatic-eject Rhodey. Killian was also able to melt through the Silver Centurion armor with ease forcing Tony to auto-eject out of the damaged armor. Killian's ability to generate heat in correlation with his enhanced strength also allowed him to punch, cut and tear through many of Tony's Iron Man suits.
- Fire Breath: Another interesting abilty, the ability to eject a stream of fire from the mouth, seemed to be unique to Killian, as none of the other Extremis enhanced superhumans demonstrated such power/control.
- Tony Stark - Idol turned enemy; deceased.
- Pepper Potts - Colleague and killer.
- James Rhodes - Enemy.
- Maya Hansen - Assistant turned enemy and victim; deceased.
- Matthew Ellis - Enemy.
- Trevor Slattery - Ally and pawn; deceased.
- Eric Savin - Ally; deceased.
- Jack Taggart - Ally.
- Ellen Brandt - Ally.
- Vice President Rodriguez - Ally.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (2 films)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 comic)
- Iron Man 3 Prelude (First appearance)
Behind the scenes
- Jude Law was considered for the role of Aldrich Killian.
- Aldrich Killian is the only Iron Man villain that doesn't use armor or any variation of a mechanical suit.
- This interpretation of the Mandarin seems heavily inspired by the comic Iron Man: Director of SHIELD (#15-28), specifically the story arc called Iron Man: Haunted. In the comic, the Mandarin attempts to exploit Maya Hansen's possession of Extremis as a part of his plan to advance humanity's evolution, similar to Killian's scheme in Iron Man 3. Much like how Aldrich Killian is depicted in the film, the Mandarin is depicted as a businessman that wears a suit, often fighting shirtless when engaging in physical combat.
- 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, it would serve as the basis to Killian's character and his future designation as the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
- The revelation that Aldrich Killian is in fact "The Mandarin" as well as the main antagonist of Iron Man 3 is similar to the twist in the DC Comics film Batman Begins in regards to its principal antagonist known as Ra's Al Ghul. Both characters employed a double to disguise their true identities in order to avoid exposing themselves; with the difference being that Killian had hired Trevor to act out an idealized appearance of "The Mandarin" to manipulate the media and mask his illegal experiments as terrorist attacks, while the real Ra's Al Ghul had implemented the use of an expendable decoy to disguise his identity while acting as the mentor of Bruce Wayne. Ironically, both characters were portrayed as being of caucasian descent in their respective film versions (at least based on the ethnicity of their actors), despite both of the comic versions of the Mandarin and Ra's Al Ghul being originally inspired by the "Fu Manchu" stereotype. Also, Guy Pearce was considered to portray Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins, but the part ultimately went to Liam Neeson.
- However, it is revealed in All Hail the King that he merely appropriated the name of the Mandarin for his own goals.
- Aldrich Killian is the second Iron Man main villain to survive a fight with Iron Man and be killed by Pepper, the first being Obadiah Stane.
- The dragon tattoos on Aldrich Killian's chest are a reference to Fin Fang Foom.
- Aldrich Killian in the comics was a very brief one-time character that only appeared at the beginning of the Iron Man: Extremis storyline. In that version he committed suicide out of guilt for letting Extremis get into the hands of terrorists and it was initially believed that he was the only conspirator before it was revealed that Maya Hansen was also involved as this plot was her idea to use Extremis against Iron Man as an attempt to renew their military funding.
- The film version of Aldrich Killian also incorporates element of Mallen who was the terrorist that was given Extremis and was the primary villain in the Iron Man: Extremis storyline.
- Guy Pearce reveled to Total Films that he almost turned down the role.