In the MCU the Ten Rings are a terrorist organization, devoted to destroying world peace by any means necessary, led by The Mandarin. In the comic books though, they are also a series of rings worn by The Mandarin, each of which has a specific ability. Below we will have a look at both the organization and the rings themselves, as well as a brief look at The Mandarin.
The Mandarin was introduced in the comics in Tales of Suspense #50. He is a supervillain and the archenemy of Iron Man. He is characterized as a megalomaniac, who has attempted to conquer the world on multiple occasions but also has a strong sense of honour.
He is portrayed as a genius scientist with superhuman martial arts skills. His primary source of power, however, comes in the form of his Ten Rings that are adapted from alien technology. Each of these rings has a different power and is worn on a specific finger.
We have already seen The Mandarin in the MCU in Iron Man 3. This version of The Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, turned out to be an impostor. He was, in fact, an English actor called Trevor Slattery who was being used by AIM leader Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce).
Kingsley also reprised this role for the Marvel one-shot, All Hail the King, which follows on from the events on Iron Man 3. He is interviewed by Jackson Norris who reveals himself to be an agent of the Ten Rings. Norris kidnaps Slattery, stating he is taking him to meet The real Mandarin, who is displeased with his, and Killian’s use of his name.
The Mandarin will appear again in the MCU in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This will be the real Mandarin and he will be portrayed by Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, who has starred in several martial arts movies including Hard Boiled and The Grandmaster.
The Ten Rings Terrorist Organization
The Ten Rings is a terrorist organization who as previously mentioned have appeared or been mentioned in Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man 3 (2013), the MCU short “All Hail the King” (2014) and also Ant-Man (2015).
The history of The Ten Rings is shrouded in mystery. Members believe their leader, The Mandarin, has been influencing groups of people since the middle ages or even earlier, implying the organization is hundreds of years old. Some even describe the organization as “Faith”.
The Ten Rings aren’t your typical terrorists. They’ve raised secrecy to an art form. We still don’t have the first clue what’s really behind them.
The Ten rings have several branches that operate independently to each other. The leaders of each cell have no clue as to who the members of the other cells are except for one contact. Some of these cells have appeared in MCU to date.
Iron Man Trilogy
One of these cells was operating out of Afghanistan and is the group responsible for the kidnapping of Tony Stark, ultimately leading to the creation of Iron Man. It was while he was in captivity he created his first Iron Man suit when he was supposed to be making his Jericho missile. This cell shows up several times during the movie.
Who are these people?
They are your loyal customers, sir. They call themselves the Ten Rings.
In Iron Man 2, it is a member of The Ten Rings that aids Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) with his travel to Monaco to attack Stark during the Monaco F1. From which cell we are not sure.
As mentioned previously, in Iron Man 3, The Ten Rings are used by Aldritch Killian, as a decoy with, Trevor Slattery as the face of the Mandarin. Slattery would take responsibility for the “terrorist” attacks on the US but these were later revealed to be failed experiments of Killian’s Extremis program.
During the MCU short “All Hail the King” an agent of The Ten Rings, known as Jackson Norris, is sent by The Mandarin to collect and return Trevor Slattery to him.
There’s somebody who wants to meet you.
Do I know him?
No. You took his name and now he wants it back.
During the scene in Ant-Man where Darren Cross is presenting the Yellow-jacket suit to potential buyers, there is not only a HYDRA agent but also a member of The Ten Rings. He can be identified (just about in a deleted scene) by his tattoo on his neck of the Ten Rings logo. This is the agent that draws his gun to execute Hank Pym but is soon engaged in a fight with Ant-Man and knocked unconscious. He is later killed when Pym Technologies headquarters implodes.
Well, that’s all the clips we have seen so far in the MCU of the organization but what of the rings themselves?
The Ten Rings
Before we talk about the powers of the rings we first need to know how they came to be. The rings were originally ten cylinders of Makluan technology. The Makluans were a race of aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy who was dragon-like in appearance. Each cylinder contained the soul of a long-dead legendary cosmic warrior, trapped in a phantasmal state limited by there respective devices.
The cylinders found their way to Earth when the Makluan explorer Axonn-Karr landed his star-ship in China. He was later discovered by The Mandarin who became transfixed by them. He killed Axonn-Karr and took the cylinders which he wore like rings, one on each finger, learning how to control and use their power.
The Rings and Their Powers
- Matter-Rearranger Ring: aka the Remaker, this ring is worn on the right thumb. This ring allows the wearer to manipulate the atomic and molecular structure of matter. It cannot, however, transmute elements of affect objects encased in energy fields. It is able to create Poison Gas, Solidify Gas and also Rearrange costume and/or alter appearance.
- Impact Beam Ring: aka Influence, this ring is worn on the right index finger. This ring allows the wearer to generate and project beams of concussive force. It can create a Force Blast (Electron/Neutron) or high-intensity sound waves (Sonic Beam).
- Vortex Beam Ring: aka Spin, this ring is worn on the right middle finger. This ring allows the wearer to cause the air to move in a high-speed vortex. This vortex can be used as an offensive weapon, to move objects or to propel the wearer through the air.
- Disintegration Beam Ring: aka Spectral, this ring is work on the right ring finger. This ring allows the wearer to cast a beam of energy that destroys the bonds between atoms and molecules, causing inanimate objects to disintegrate. This ring requires 20 minutes to recharge after each use.
- Black Light Ring: aka Nightbringer, this ring is worn on the right little finger. This ring allows the wearer to create an area of pure darkness. This power is thought to be using Darkforce energy to achieve this.
- White Light Ring: aka Daimonic, this ring is worn on the left thumb. This ring allows the wearer to generate and manipulate electromagnetic energy. It can create Light Burst, high-intensity light to blind opponents. Gravity Field to encase enemies in a field of heavy gravity. Magnetic Levitation to utilize electromagnetic fields to manipulate objects. Image Projection to create holographic illusions.
- Flame Blast Ring: aka Incandescence, this ring is worn on the left index finger. This ring allows the wearer to project blasts of infrared to create flames or ignite combustible objects.
- Electro Blast Ring: aka Lightning, this ring is worn in the left middle finger. This ring allows the wearer to project blasts of electrical energy.
- Mento-Intensifier Ring: aka Liar, this ring is worn on the left ring finger. This ring amplifies the wearer’s psionic powers, allowing them to manipulate the thoughts and actions of others. It can create Mental illusions that affect all senses making the illusion feel real as well as Mental Paralysis.
- Ice Blast Ring: aka Zero, this ring is worn on the left little finger. This ring allows the wearer to project waves of intense cold and ice.
Now we have looked at who and what the Ten Rings are I wonder if they would be more powerful than the Mad Titan Thanos with his Infinity Gauntlet… Probably not. But I am intrigued to see how the rings and The Mandarin will be used in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten rings is due for release May 2021.
These are priceless, unearthly, alien artifacts, and that’s all you can muster? “Hm”? You are one of the very few men that have ever seen them without dying their next human instant. Relish it.