We knew that the title of the next Marvel One Shot would be All Hail The King, and that led to a lot of speculation. Would it be about Loki following the events of Thor: The Dark World? I doubted it, especially because such a huge plot thread is intended for Thor 3. What did make sense was something about Trevor Slattery, the fake Mandarin, who famously played King Lear.
And yup, it's about him. And it actually does investigate the reality of the Ten Rings, believe it or not. Entertainment Weekly has run some photos from the short as well as an interview with Iron Man 3 and All Hail The King writer Drew Pearce where he drops plot details:
"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."
I like this as long as we don't end up in "There's a real Mandarin" territory. The idea of Ten Rings being real and something Aldrich Killian grafted his plans onto - or even took over - is cool. And, as Pearce says in the interview, it opens up new opportunities.
"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."
I like that a lot. One of the things that made the Agent Carter short great (besides being just a legitimately great short) was that it felt like a jumping off point, while previous Marvel One Shots had been spackling holes or connecting dots (see The Consultant, where they try to explain why Tony Stark is recruiting for The Avengers in The Incredible Hulk). The Marvel One Shots are morphing into something really cool, and I'm hoping they finally pull the trigger and start doing them on the big screen. I saw Agent Carter projected at Comic Con and it was a great experience; I talked to Marvel's Lou D'Esposito (he's a muckety muck at the studio as well as the guy who has been directing these One Shots) about it and it seems like they want to, but there are logistical issues. I have faith that Marvel can make it happen. Hell, I'd be psyched to go to a new Marvel movie if I knew it had an old-fashioned moviegoing structure - a short cartoon, a short film and the main feature. I know the realities of runtimes and multiple showings make this hard, but nobody believed you could do The Avengers the way they did either.
For more pics, go to Entertainment Weekly.