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Spoilers ahead, especially if you haven't seen Iron Man 3 / Captain America 2 / Agent's of SHIELD season 3.

When I say the Mandarin I am not talking about Trevor Slattery, but Aldrich Killian.

Towards the end of Iron Man 3, Aldrich Killian says:

"You see, I've moved on. I found myself a new political patron, and this time tomorrow, he'll have your job."

Who is this new political patron?

I have heard a theory that Gideon Malick (who was on the World Council in Avengers 1 and one of the heads of Hydra in Agents of SHEILD) was after the Extremis project. This would explain how Hydra had access to the Extremis technology at the beginning of season one of Agents of SHEILD, but I haven't found any evidence to support this yet.

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The remainder of the movie makes it clear that he's talking about the Vice President. However, the VP is not Killian's boss, he's Killian's "patron". Killian is actually calling the shots, and the VP acting as a "puppet leader" on his behalf.

You'll note that, when Rhodes tries to warn the White House that someone is going to try to abduct the president, he gets in touch with the Vice President first. The VP takes the message, then refrains from telling anyone else about the danger.

We later learn that the VP's daughter is suffering from a debilitating disease that has no cure. Extremis is supposedly going to cure her, and the VP is working with Killian to become the President so he can push Killian's agenda in exchange for the drug.

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@KutuluMike has the answer you were probably looking for, however a later video implies that your question is a lot deeper than you realize.

Check out All Hail the King.

That was a short released by Marvel after Iron Man 3, and implies that The Mandarin is in fact not Killian, but someone else (perhaps closer to the comic book rendition of the Mandarin?). As far as I know, Marvel hasn't followed up on that since All Hail The King came out.

  • But is that new Mandarin still related to Aldrich Killian and thus an answer to the actual question? – Napoleon Wilson Jun 17 '16 at 19:06
  • All Hail the King was onlywritten after a lot of fans complained about IM3s rendition of the Mandarin, to try to keep them happy. It was not part of the original plan. – TheBloodyPoet Jun 17 '16 at 19:12
  • As per Napoleon's comment, the impression I'd been left with was that the Mandarin was not involved in the plot of the movie, and was simply angered that his name was being used. – Sean Duggan Jun 17 '16 at 19:38

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