From this week's Entertainment Weekly:
The Mandarin's backstory here will differ from the comics, where he is a Chinese exile who discovers 10 rings inside a crashed alien ship, each of which gives him a different power. The rings are still the source of his strength, but the alien subplot has been dropped. "Tony is earthbound and facing earthbound villains," Feige says. So they're just bling? "Not necessarily," he replies coyly.
Sounds like the rings are still significant, they're just not alien (or magic).