Ant-Man deleted scene reveals huge Marvel Easter egg

Could we be seeing the return of an old villain?

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As you probably know, all Marvel films are stuffed full of references, nods and homages to other superhero movies, including some that haven’t even been made yet – but now it turns out even their deleted scenes have a few choice Easter Eggs. 

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Take this newly-released cut sequence from 2015’s Ant-Man, which focuses on Corey Stoll’s villainous Darren Cross as he tries to sell his shrinking technology to various insalubrious types. If you look closely (and listen to the commentary), you might just catch a reference to a villain from 2013’s Iron Man 3…

Did you spot it? Yep, that one creepy-looking potential buyer has a tattoo on his neck that closely resembles the Ten Rings symbol (below) of the Mandarin, the baddie portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the last of Robert Downey Jr’s solo superhero movies.

As you may recall, that film saw Kingsley’s charismatic terrorist unmasked as a front for evil scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), so the presence of the tattoo might seem a little strange – but there is an explanation. 

Since Iron Man 3 it’s been revealed (in Marvel short film Hail to the King, above) that there is actually a real Ten Rings organization this buyer could belong to and a real Mandarin (who may be more like his mystical comic-book counterpart, below, who is Chinese and gains mystical abilities from ten rings of power). Said Mandarin apparently wasn’t best pleased with his imitator, having him abducted at the end of the short film for unknown reasons that may play into one of Marvel’s other planned films.

The comic-book version of The Mandarin

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In other words, even if this scene was cut it seems like a future Marvel movie might see the arrival of the real, deadly Mandarin – and he might be sending lackies to buy shrinking serum, for some reason.