I was wondering if there was any relation between the villains of the first and third movie of the franchise. In Iron Man 1, the terrorists who abduct Tony belong to a group called the Ten Rings. While in Iron Man 3, Mandarin, the proxy antagonist is said to acquire his powers from an extraterrestrial entity called the Ten Rings (in the comics universe).
Is there any relation between the two, or is it a mere happy coincidence? It feels like there is a correlation because in the movies, Mandarin is depicted only as a terrorist with no super-natural powers whatsoever. So, it would make sense for him to be affiliated with the Ten-Rings terror cell or at least be associated with them. Does all this somehow really fit into the story arch?
Since the reason is almost certain to spill on to the comics universe, I am open to explanations referring it.