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The Mandarin's Captain America tattoo ties in with his terrorist ideology
Noticed by astute fans in one of the film's early trailers was a star-spangled tattoo on the neck of Ben Kingsley's Mandarin, leaving many to mull the emblem's significance. Turns out, the ink stain is the Mandarin's way of subverting a classic American symbol.
"Shane Black had an idea of making him somebody whose background is unknown," said Feige. "We don’t know where he’s from at first, but he seems to be some kind of military officer that has gone off the reservation. He is starting to pull all of this iconography and symbolism from other cultures to his own ends to use them as symbols to pervert the symbol of the United States. He utilizes the moniker of the Mandarin and robes with dragons on them and uses South American sort of guerilla tactics to create this aura of fear of his terror organization. The Mandarin is sort of a very frightening, modern-day terrorist who has taken terror motifs from all over the world to use to his own ends. It was a very cool and relevant and scary idea."