Thanks to Shang Chi & The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Marvel villain The Mandarin has finally been granted a detailed live-action storyline. Previously, the villain had only been big in the comics, having first appeared in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #50 by Stan Lee and Don Heck. Away from the pages, The Mandarin had also been featured a few times in animated movies and TV shows.
Fans who’ve been impressed by The Mandarin in the latest MCU movie might feel the need to explore other productions in which he is one of the characters. Of the few that are present, some are better than others not only in terms of quality but also by the level of character development that that long-term Iron Man foe is given.
7 The Marvel Superheros (1966)
The Marvel Superheroes marked the first time any Marvel characters were featured in a TV show or movie. The show ran from Monday to Friday, with a different Marvel hero being featured each day. The Mandarin only appeared in two of Iron Man’s segments.
The first-ever Marvel screen offering hardly has a case for inclusion among the most influential shows of the ’60s because of its quality. The stories were lifted directly from the Silver Age Of Comics stories rather than being adapted. The images used were also those of the comics, thus classifying the series as a “motion comic.” Due to these factors, modern-day viewers would find it hard to watch.
6 Iron Man: The Animated Series (1994 – 1996)
The show aired in indication on many networks and was popular at the time of its release. The Mandarin was also Iron Man’s main adversary, with other Marvel villains being rarely featured.
While Iron Man: The Animated Series provides enough satisfaction for fans of The Mandarin, it isn’t among the best Marvel offerings because it felt disjointed. The first season veered away from the comics while the second remained faithful to them. This was a result of the switch to a new studio (Rainbow Animation to Koko Enterprises). And while the episodes of the first season were independent, those of the second season were linked.
5 Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers
The series falls under the anime category and was produced by the Walt Disney Company Japan. Loki was the main antagonist, with The Mandarin featuring briefly.
Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers was specifically made for children between the ages of 6 and 12, hence it might be hard for adults to enjoy it. Still, it was very relatable to children of this age group since the main characters were a group of kids teaming up with the Avengers to prevent Stark’s newest technology from falling into the wrong hands.
4 Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors
The made-for-TV movie focused on less popular Marvel characters such as Ms. Marvel and Lockjaw. In it, Victor Kohl aka Exile was chosen as the host of the 5th ring, effectively becoming Mandarin-Five.
In Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, fans not only got to see a different version of The Mandarin, but also a more brutal one. This was evident from the fact that Kohl killed his family members after acquiring the ring and almost wounded Inferno. Liberties were also taken with the storyline, with most proceedings being those that lovers of the comics were unfamiliar with.
3 The Invincible Iron Man (2007)
The direct-to-video animated movie was based on some of the best Marvel comics for essential reading, mostly from Stan Lee’s Classic Marvel Universe. In it, a whole new dynamic was introduced where The Mandarin had 5 rings instead of 10. And even after being defeated, his descendant, Li-Mei, took over as the new Mandarin.
Production-wise, The Invincible Iron Man was a blast as everything from the quality of animation to the plots were solid. The Mandarin also had more screentime than even Iron Man, thus making it one of the few Marvel animated movies and TV shows where the villain was given the most priority. Despite being all over, the focus wasn’t just on his strength.
2 Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload (2013)
Lego productions rarely disappoint and neither did Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload. It was mostly the Loki show, with the villain facing off against most of the Avengers. This wasn’t surprising since it was released right after the first Avengers movie where Loki was the main villain. At some point, Loki teamed up with The Mandarin to attack Stark’s mansion.
Despite only consisting of 5 episodes, the series had enough action sequences and fresh storylines to leave any Marvel fan satisfied. There was not only a maximum overload of heroes, from Thor to Wolverine, but also an abundance of villains, from Doctor Octopus to Venom, all backing up Loki in his devious schemes.
1 Iron Man: Armored Adventures (2009 – 2012)
Airing on Nicktoons, the series which lasted only two seasons was a big improvement from those that came before it. Here, The Mandarin was a teenager and so was Iron Man. The young Mandarin, going by the alias of Gene Khan, tried to force Howard Stark to help him harness the power of the Makluan rings, but was unable to do that so he befriended a young Tony Stark.
Many factors made Iron Man: Armored Adventures a superior offering. First, the costumes designs were just as iconic as some of the best Iron Man costumes in the MCU. There were also very many differences from the pages, which made the show a whole new experience. For example, Howard got to see Tony become Iron Man. Tony also created his armor at home rather than while trying to escape.