|Appeared in||Iron Man 3|
- "No more false faces. You said you wanted 'The Mandarin'... you're looking right at him. It was always me Tony, right from the start. I am the Mandarin!"
- ―Aldrich Killian[src]
In 1999, Aldrich Killian initially asked for Tony Stark's support for his project under Advanced Idea Mechanics, only to be shunned and ignored. After realizing that Tony had ignored his proposition, Aldrich decided to work on his own, creating an expansive business for himself.
Over the years, through his privately funded organization A.I.M., Killian created a team to further research and develop the Extremis virus, which imparts unusual levels of strength and resiliency to human subjects. One of these tests however back fired and resulted in the death of Chad Davis. Other tests however allowed him to recruit Eric Savin and Ellen Brandt to his cause. At some point he supposedly funded the Ten Rings using his image of the "Mandarin". To maintain this illusion he used British actor Trevor Slattery to portray the leader of a terrorist organization.
When Rhodey flew around the world in his new battle suit, destroying the terrorist cells of the Ten Rings organization, in which "The Mandarin" sent members of A.I.M under the disguise of Ten Rings members to capture him and his armor. Though they failed in their mission, one of A.I.M members returned to Miami and reported to "The Mandarin" that they're hidden agents managed to scan the War Machine armor, thus obtaining invaluable information for "The Mandarin" to use against Tony Stark.
After curing himself of his disability by using a dose of his own Extremis virus, he used his created terrorist persona known as "The Mandarin" to mask his failed experiments as terrorist attacks. Having appropriated the iconography of the terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings, Killian placed the blame of his illegal activities on the group while falsely designating his persona of "The Mandarin" as their de-facto leader. He orchestrated the attack at Tony's home, kidnapping Pepper Potts afterwards. Having Pepper Potts as his "trophy" and hostage, he injected her with the Extremis virus to further motivate and antagonize Tony.
After his men had abducted President Ellis, Killian had planned to orchestrate a live feed showing the murder of Ellis, only to have Tony Stark and James Rhodes to interrupt and attack their base with the help of Tony's J.A.R.V.I.S.-controlled Iron Man suits. In the ensuing battle, Tony finally found Pepper, only for her to be trapped under debris. Before he was able to rescue her, an angry Killian attacked Tony. Tony managed to distract Killian so as to allow him to rescue Pepper.
While Pepper seemingly died after falling to her apparent death, Killian approached Tony and taunted him for a one-on-one battle. The two engaged in a brutal fight with Tony switching between various Iron Man suits as Killian destroyed each one after another. As Tony was unable to attach any more extra armor onto himself, JARVIS sent the Mark 42 prototype to aid Tony in his battle. Tony then kinetically attached the armor onto Killian to stall his movements. After commanding the suit to pin Killian against the wall, Tony then activated the Mark 42's self-destruct function, thus blowing Killian up in the process.
After the scaffolding in which the two were fighting was destroyed, the battered Tony is confronted by Killian who is shown as surviving the explosion. Taunting Tony, he elaborated upon the revelation that he is the true culprit and that he is in fact "The Mandarin" and that the two should stop hiding behind "false faces". Just before he is able to attack Tony, Pepper attacked him from behind, having survived her fall with the help of her new found Extremis abilities. Just before Killian was able to retaliate, Pepper knocked him away. After ripping an arm off from one of the stray Iron Man suits, Pepper attached it to her herself and utilized its capabilities to finally end Killian for good.
Essentially a foil to Tony Stark in terms of personality, he was described as one of Tony's very own demons, in which Killian was a "mistake" that Tony had committed in his old life. Initially describing himself as one of Tony's greatest fans, Killian would grow to resent Tony after being shunned by the latter. While Justin Hammer wanted to be seen as Tony's superior, Killian wanted to be just like him, having originally idolized Tony. Acting as a parallel to Tony Stark, Killian is obssessive, arrogant, and immature in his dealings. He sees his creations not as a distraction but as his purpose, as he seeks to exploit war and death for profit. He also desired the women that were associated with Tony, having hired Maya Hansen and killing her when she displayed feelings for Stark, as well as describing Pepper Potts as his "trophy". His goals revolved around wanting to punish Stark by systematically giving him the same sense of desperation he felt 13 years ago.
By injecting the virus into himself, Killian's disability had been cured and he was able to utitlize the Extremis virus, thereby granting him super strength, durability, heat-based abilities and high-speed regeneration. He was shown as being able to breathe fire akin to that of a dragon. His body was adorned with dragon tattoos, adding to his Asian motif and further drawing the connection in which he was in fact the real "Mandarin".
Extremis: Hansen leading a 40-strong team of A.I.M scientists, developed Extremis. It completely healed Killian's body of his disabilities, much like the Super Soldier Serum did with Steve Rogers. Extremis enhances the body, upgrading strength, speed and durability to superhuman levels. Killian was shown to have the most advanced capabilities through his infusion with Extremis. Killian also seemed to have some skill in martial arts, as he was able to effectively fight Tony in hand-to-hand combat in correlation with his Extremis abilities: He tore through Tony's suits and managed to defeat him, despite Tony's skill in hand-to-hand combat and the powers his suit granted him.
- Enhanced Strength: Extremis enhanced Killian's physical strength, the full limits of which aren't known. However, he easily flipped Iron Man, as well as being able to tear through many of Tony's armors.
- Enhanced Reflexes and Agility: Extremis enhanced Killian's agility, balance, flexibility, dexterity, and bodily coordination to superhuman levels. This was demonstrated when he was able to dodge Iron Man's repulsors at point blank range.
- Enhanced Speed: Extremis enhanced Killian's speed, the full limits of which aren't known.
- Enhanced Durability: Killian's durability has been enhanced even more so than the average Extremis users, who themselves would receive only minor damage from lower caliber firearms (specifically Rhodey's 9mm handgun) and could survive blunt force trauma that would kill a normal human. Killian is able to survive being struck repeatedly by Iron Man and took a few shots from his repulsors. He also got back up (albeit with heavy injuries) after being blown up by a self-destructing Iron Man armor and thrown off of a crane. He is finally done in when Pepper detonates one of the Iron Man suit's tank buster missiles in his face.
- Enhanced Healing: Extremis gives the human body tissue regeneration capabilities. Killian was able to regenerate his left hand after Tony had cut it off during their fight with Tony wearing the Silver Centurion armor. Despite Tony managing to trap Killian with the Mark XLII and causing it to self-destruct, a weakened Killian still managed to rise from the resulting wreckage.
- Exothermic Reaction: Extremis allowed Killian to be able to consciously raise the temperature of parts of his body. Killian can control the extent that it might only scorch skin, or increased to the point where it can cause steel to turn into a molten state. Killian was able to heat the Iron Patriot armor to the point of forcing it to automatic-eject Rhodey. Killian was also able to melt through the Silver Centurion armor with ease forcing Tony to auto-eject out of the damaged armor. Killian's ability to generate heat in correlation with his enhanced strength also allowed him to punch, cut and tear through many of Tony's Iron Man suits.
- Fire Breath: Another interesting abilty, the ability to eject a stream of fire from the mouth, seemed to be unique to Killian, as none of the other Extremis enhanced superhumans demonstrated such power/control.
- Tony Stark - Idol turned Enemy
- Pepper Potts - Colleague and victim
- James Rhodes - Enemy
- Maya Hansen - Assistant turned Enemy
- President Ellis - Enemy
- Trevor Slattery - Ally and Pawn
- Eric Savin - Ally
- Jack Taggart - Ally
- Ellen Brandt - Ally
- Vice President Rodriguez - Ally
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 film)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 comic)
- Iron Man 3 Prelude (First appearance)
Behind the scenes
- Jude Law was considered for the role of Aldrich Killian.
- Aldrich Killian is the only Iron Man villian that doesn't use armor or any variation of a mechanical suit.
- This interpretation of the Mandarin seems heavily inspired by the comic Iron Man: Director of SHIELD (#15-28). Within the comic, not only does the Mandarin attempt to use Extremis-enhanced soldiers as a part of his plan to cleanse humanity, but he is also depicted as fighting shirtless during his battle against Iron Man, much like how Aldrich Killian is depicted in the film Iron Man 3.
- The revelation that Aldrich Killian is in fact "The Mandarin" as well as the main antagonist of Iron Man 3 is similar to the twist in the DC Comics film Batman Begins in regards to its principal antagonist known as Ra's Al Ghul. Both characters employed a double to disguise their true identities in order to avoid exposing themselves; with the difference being that Killian had hired Trevor to act out an idealized appearance of "The Mandarin" to manipulate the media and mask his illegal experiments as terrorist attacks, while the real Ra's Al Ghul had implemented the use of an expendable decoy to disguise his identity while acting as the mentor of Bruce Wayne. Ironically, both characters were portrayed as being of caucasian descent in their respective film versions (at least based on the ethnicity of their actors), despite both of the comic versions of the Mandarin and Ra's Al Ghul being originally inspired by the "Fu Manchu" stereotype. Also, Guy Pearce was considered to portray Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins, but the part ultimately went to Liam Neeson.
- Aldrich Killian is the second Iron Man main villain to survive a fight with Iron Man and be killed by Pepper, the first being Obadiah Stane.
- The dragon tattoos on Aldrich Killian's chest are a reference to Fin Fang Foom.
- Aldrich Killian in the comics was a very brief one-time character that only appeared at the beginning of the Iron Man: Extremis storyline. In that version he committed suicide out of guilt for letting Extremis get into the hands of terrorists and it was initially believed that he was the only conspirator before it was revealed that Maya Hansen was also involved as this plot was her idea to use Extremis against Iron Man as an attempt to renew their military funding.