I really think people need to just wait and see on the Mandarin thing
If Killian is brought back, there's always a way to make that character cool. And we know that Extremis had regen capabilities...
To me, there are numerous things that make me question whether or not Killian even believed himself when he said that it was him all along. Looking at speech patterns and how he said it seems that Killian was almost hesitant to say that, yet wanted to take credit for it, maybe because of his big brain/ego... Which played right into Trevor's hands. Remember that Pearce is a talented actor and the way he says "it was me all along" almost sounds forced, unconvincing... possibly purposely delivered in that manner.
And although Killian says subtlety has had its day, I believe that Feige and co planted certain road signs that lay out the seeds of what Im3 will become by the end of phase 2... It could be all about perception now, and how Tony puts up egotistical defenses to safeguard his mind, so that he only has a panic attack and doesn't go completely insane... He represses the wormhole thoughts at some point in the story, that storyline is dropped. He makes it all about him not dying, but there could be other things he's repressed about the wormhole because he doesn't completely understand it, the little kid who asks him about the Wormhole, asks him how he survived the wormhole.. I think his mind is asking questions about the wormhole from a theoretical physics angle that he doesn`t understand completely, and thinks he maybe was disassembled and reassembled by going through the wormhole and the near death experience...
Consider that maybe Trevor did just Keyser Soze us all. And that "the greatest trick the devil ever played was making everyone
believe he didn't exist".
This is really lengthy and doesn't even begin to cover my thoughts on Trevor... but here goes.
When Trevor says he "handled it" to Coldblood, he doesn't need to be in character. And the character there more closely resembles the way he speaks in the deleted scenes.. I basically think subtlety hasnt had its day, like Killian does, And that there are very psychological elements to the movie, that could point to the Mandarin tricking people... He could be the ultimate deceiver, and maybe he was an actor, but that only added to his ability to be able to manipulate everyone. At any rate he seems to like acting as the Mandarin, and even snaps into à mode between the trevor persona and the Mandarin persona when he's in private with Coldblood, and then again when he says he gave Tony nothing. That is really ominous to me, near the end of the movie "Trevor" switches back to this private Mandarin mode, and says he gave Tony "nothing". Maybe he really did give him nothing, because he was crafting the act more than Killian let on. I'm saying Killian didn't wanna give Trevor full credit, but Trevor himself is up to a lot more than Killian. A very talented actor like that would be useful in deceiving people. Much more useful to the Masters than say Simon Williams, who might not have the acting/manipulation capabilities of a Trevor to be able to handle things, planning for things in advance, and able to panic and come up with a solution instantly... How did Trevor "handle" it? I think he fed Tony a well orchestrated act, and even deceived Killian and the entire audience. It would almost be like Tony had too much ego... and Killian did as well, they were similar in that regard. But maybe we never saw the real ego of Trevor because he was hiding behind many masks. Many alter egos, different personality modes and characters he plays, none of them the real mandarin yet. He simply toyed with Tony and studied his tactics imho, and was fighting Tony via remote, through others that were under the control of his mind/ability to convince people of things through acting..
Basically Mandarin won this round because he tricked Tony (and us) into thinking he didn't exist... Killian wasn't being subtle at all, he wanted to take full credit. Because of his ego, whereas Trevor the actor may be growing into the Mandarin alter ego, and at some point made it a part of him... He had to become it and it became him. The Mandarin is a suit that Trevor hides behind, he put it on for survival purposes and came out a changed man, he has this new third personality that commands things behind the scenes when the cameras aren't rolling.... Maybe he even convinced most of AIM and Coldblood that he was more important than just an actor in the beginning, and has slowly made Killian's men even question who is running the show. also I think the 10 rings group was definitely real at some point, even if they just stole the symbols. i really think Trevor planned a lot of this out, Maya asks Killian "what if you go hot?". Killian is so useless he may not even have his own backup plan, Trevor tries to misdirect Tony about the VP, when its the President they're after`and tries to give Tony nothing.
I also think a lot more is going on under the surface that will be explained later, for instance the stuff about Tony being "the mechanic". They needed his mind to fix Extremis... The think tank also knew they needed an extremely talented actor, and not SImon Williams, who is famous but a meh actor.. Killian did okay at hiding the fact that he was in charge of some of it, but it was obvious from the beginning Killian was pulling some strings. What if the president being "strung up" and not killed off is "how the Mandarin operates", like Coldblood said. They let them take the President back... he was strung up, and a lot of characters in the movie were strung along. However, maybe Trevor is the true puppet master, and when he "handled it" he knew Killian was already a goner and they had to move into a backup plan... Coldblood agrees to this, and secretly shifted allegiances to Trevor, found out about the prison break plan, and Coldblood survived the plane but ditched out for now.
Look at how commanding Trevor looks in some of the deleted scenes when he sets out to make movies, it's like a total personality shift, when you analyze Trevor it is almost as if there are more than two Trevors... In the deleted scenes he's behaving kind of like the Mandarin, but not really... Not his stage persona, at least. I could write up a whole essay on how Trevor could still be the Mandarin, but I think they left it vague and rushed through things at the end for Pearce to come back in case Kingsley doesn't... I don't think we'll see all of the 3 hour cut for a while, because it might reveal too much.
What if there are clues that Trevor is the real deal that were withheld from us, and he could have even tricked Killian into working for the Masters/Hydra... Hence the use of the word Master repeatedly in the movie, but like in The Usual Suspects Trevor may have tricked Killian into thinking "Keyser Soze" isn't the real Master... So Killian did a bunch of dirty work creating Extremis, thought himself to be the master, and Extremis will return (also hinted in deleted scenes).
When one head of aim is cut off (or explodes) maybe two grow in its place because it's attached to the body of the Hydra... And it really is "complicated" like Trevor said, and maybe even Killian doesn't have the acting abilities to be able to deceive on the level that Mandarin just did... I don't wanna fill people with too much hope, but there are some subtle things in the movie that point to the fact that Killian is/was serving someone else... At least in the beginning someone else was already part of his think tank, because he had the AIM shirt and was advancing that idea to the mechanic. And that maybe not all is what it seems in IM3... it can kind of be reversed like the aim/mia thing and flipped on its head, and could much more sense after phase 2 with some of these ideas.
It could be that by the end of Phase 2 Iron Man 3 can be looked at in two different ways, forwards and backwards... And that even little things like Killian and Trevor both being called the Master, and Killian referring to him as the Master while on the phone at AIm could be set up to be reversible like the AIM/MIA thing...
The goal, AIM's goal, the think thank's goal (that already existed in its earlier form in 1999 and was on Killian's shirt) was to advance their ideas through the Mechanic. Killian may have been working for someone else this whole time, and was only supposed to trick Tony into finishing Extremis...
Which Tony may do when he tells the story at the end... But his ego has repressed this/ left out parts of the story (the 3 hour cut as well), and in the end Tony has also deceived himself... Making Mandarin's deception all the more effective and setting Tony up/helping Ultron's prison break.
Maybe it is really complicated like Trevor said, and he's not a "double or a decoy" and is something much more than that, almost egoless because we've only seen bits and pieces of his various masks and backstories/cover stories.
Maybe he was a spy like we though early on with the Apocalyspe Now references and even Killian didn't know that Mandarin/Trevor had lost his mind to the Mandarin persona... Was shooting cameramen in between scenes in some of the behind the scenes stuff that no one will get to see now... Because subtlety won out over Killian's methods and Trevor is somewhat free in Prison... Killian, on the other hand, will be hunted if he returns and shows his face again...
Once you take credit for something you give it a face and paint a target on yourself.
Maybe Trevor deceived everyone, even Killian, into painting the target on AIM.... And then Killian took the blame/credit for his parts in the plan and it was all over. He painted a target on himself and subtlety flew out the window... I think killian has a temper and an ego that he can't balance with an ability to manipulate... And maybe Trevor even helped come up with the Mandarin character... He can improvise, "handle things". Killian created it, but it wasn't a part of him. He hid behind it, and so did Trevor. Like in The Usual Suspects the character of the mandarin was invented by one of them (or both), and each one may see themself as the true creator of the Mandarin persona.
This means that Trevor might want to take credit for making the Mandarin "real" or seem real. He was integral to the plans, and bought more time once things started blowing up. His whole act was very real, in the sense that he was able to convince people it was real. He may have had many tricks up his sleeve, ready to overthrow Killian from the get go. And this movie could be more like the backstory of how the Mandarin idea eventually becomes a part of Trevor..
Trevor's mind helped shape it and make it real, although Killian was battling for control via proxy and is painted as the brains, is he really? Maya invented Extremis, Killian is more of a businessman, a showman... And looks for research to fund, he's advancing scientific ideas to people, but he is not the inventor of the ideas, or the mechanic... or the Mandarin. He found ways to present his side of the plan, and carry out his objectives, but I believe both their minds created the Mandarin... "He's here and he's not here, it's complicated" could be seen to have multiple meanings, if this is the case.
And some of the loose and vague stuff at the end could be placed as such to leave room for what really happened later... Again I think Tony has been deceived into thinking things are simpler than they appear, and has repressed some of the details he can't understand, like how the wormhole works?
Did he already die for a second or two, what happened to his body as it went through the portal, what is in between the portal and the other side, what happened to his body at that time etc from a theoretical physics perspective.
Everything was a story he was telling Banner, and sometimes we leave parts out of stories for a reason we do not even understand, because the ego can be defensive. I'm saying there really is a reason Tony's story was boring, in the version of it he told to Hulk. That Tony has been Keyser Soze`d and they didn`t let the audience in on it except for very subtle clues.
There`s more I could go into.
The Mandarin was never really a part of Killian like it was with Trevor when he wore that costume...
The costume isn`t Trevor right now, because he put it on only to survive at first.
Started wearing masks to survive, and never shows his full self... I think Trevor was simply an act, and not an actor`s act, an ex spies act. He had Killian believing he was an actor, when he was actually an actor turned Hydra spy, sent to keep AIM inline. He knew what he was doing the whole time and planned everything out to deceive both Killian and Tony, because AIM won`t work willingly with Hydra all the time. For them it was more about supply and demand, for Hydra it was absolutely all about politics, and they wanted to get a man in the white house.
That`s something I definitely see carrying over to CA2.
I think that they wanted to control the presidency at this time.
And have already infiltrated Shield, preventing them from even looking into the whole Mandarin thing thoroughly...
All a plan of the Masters, guided and led by Ultron eventually, as Wardell said a long time ago.
The biggest trick the devil ever pulled is making the world think he doesn`t exist.
And we all create our own demons....