Originally Posted by sdc10
The iron man 3 prequel does show a character sitting in front of a 10 ring flag being called "the mandarin" by a subservant as well as being updated on their recent attacks. This characters face is not revealed at the time, however clearly it was supposed to be Killian after seeing the events in the movie. So it is established that Killian is indeed leading this terrorist group rather than just stealing their symbols and creating a fake leader.
well obviously killian was a terrorist. not disputing that. he was behind X number of explosions etc that killed innocent people. eveything trevor televised did happen, with the exception of the execution of that bald guy, who probably got killed by killian himself unbeknownst to trevor.
personally, until feige or black says that killian was behind everything in iron man 1, i'm gonna stick to what is shown in iron man 3 and go with the far more sensible theory that killian was a terrorist who used the 10 rings logo, along with a bunch of other iconography, to create a public persona that itself kept attention off him.
you gotta ask yourself why a prequel comic uses the phrase 10 rings over and over, yet is never once uttered in iron man 3. seems like the perfect call back to mention them, given their presence in iron man 1, and iron man 3 was not above call backs to previous films, so yeah.
that twitter ama with feige should have given us a proper answer, oh well.