All Hail the King
|All Hail the King|
|Directed by||Drew Pearce|
|Produced by||Kevin Feige|
|Screenplay by||Drew Pearce|
|Based on||Marvel Comics|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Edited by||Dan Lebental|
Walt Disney Studios|
All Hail the King is a 2014 American direct-to-video short film featuring the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) character Trevor Slattery, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on the home media release of Thor: The Dark World. It is a follow up and spin-off of Iron Man 3, and is the fifth film in the Marvel One-Shots short film series. The film is written and directed by Drew Pearce, and is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. It stars Ben Kingsley, Scoot McNairy, Lester Speight, and Sam Rockwell, with Kingsley reprising his role from Iron Man 3, and Rockwell reprising his role from Iron Man 2. In All Hail the King, a documentary filmmaker interviews the infamous fake terrorist Trevor Slattery from behind bars.
Trevor Slattery, having been captured at the end of Iron Man 3, is now being held in Seagate Prison. At the prison he is living luxuriously, with his own personal "butler" Herman, and other inmates acting as his fan club and protection. Slattery is interviewed by documentary filmmaker Jackson Norriss, who wishes to chronicle the events of the Mandarin situation seen in Iron Man 3. Norriss, trying to learn more about Slattery personally, recounts his past from his first casting as a child as well as his starring in a failed CBS pilot. Norriss eventually informs Slattery that his portrayal has angered some people, including the actual Ten Rings terrorist group, which Slattery did not know existed. Norriss tells him the history of the Mandarin and the terrorist group, before revealing that he is actually a member of the group. The real reason for Norriss interviewing Slattery is to break him out of prison so he can meet the actual Mandarin. Hearing this, Slattery still has no idea of the full ramifications of his posing as the Mandarin.
- Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery: An inmate at Seagate prison who is the subject of a documentary by Jackson Norriss. Kingsley reprises the role from Iron Man 3.
- Scoot McNairy as Jackson Norriss:
A member of the Ten Rings terrorist organization posing as a documentary filmmaker. In the comics the character's name is spelled 'Norris', while a video released as part of a viral marketing campaign for Captain America: Civil War in May 2016 revealed that a separate character named Jackson Norris in fact exists elsewhere in the MCU.
- Lester Speight as Herman: Slattery's butler and protector in Seagate.
- Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer:
An inmate at Seagate prison, who was a weapons manufacturer. Rockwell reprises his role from Iron Man 2. On Rockwell's cameo, Pearce explained that both Marvel and Rockwell were "on board" for it, but Rockwell was unable to do it due to production on the Poltergeist remake. However, during post-production of that film, Rockwell read the script for the short and called Pearce, saying that he was happy to participate if his scenes could be shot in an hour in Toronto. Pearce went to Canada, and "Rockwell came in and just nailed it."
Additionally, Matt Gerald portrays White Power Dave; Crystal the Monkey portrays the bar monkey; and Allen Maldonado portrays Fletcher Heggs, who has a tattoo of a chess piece on his face as a nod to the comics, where he is a minor character going by "Knight".
Drew Pearce, the co-screenwriter of Iron Man 3, and producer Stephen Broussard had the idea for the short All Hail the King during the production of Iron Man 3, to provide "a fresh take" on the Mandarin character. Marvel Studios and consultant Joss Whedon were positive about the short, reliant on Ben Kingsley's involvement. In October 2013, Kingsley said he was working on a secret project with Marvel involving "many members of the crew that were involved in Iron Man 3." This was later revealed to be the short, written and directed by Pearce.
Though some of the dialogue is written in response to critics of Iron Man 3's Mandarin portrayal, the story was written simply as an extension of the Ten Rings and Mandarin storyline featured throughout the Iron Man films. Pearce wrote the short to be ambiguous enough that the storyline could be further explored in future films or television series. On the Ten Rings, Pearce stated that he found the group to be a "very powerful" part of the MCU due to their introduction in the universe's first film, and noted that producer Kevin Feige was excited to see a member of the organization be "genuinely vicious". Because of this, Pearce worked to make the action in the short "real and brutal" to juxtapose the more comedic tone leading up to it, which he felt would increase the humor of Kingsley's Slattery anyway given that the character "does not respond to anything the same way any other right minded human being" should. Speaking about adding easter eggs and nods to the comics, Pearce noted that him adding them to the script did not necessarily mean that they were a part of Marvel's bigger plan for the MCU, and said that he enjoyed "stuff[ing] it full of MCU" and waiting to see if "some of it sticks and some of it remains just a kind of charming nod." The name Caged Heat was previously used by Marvel as the working title for Iron Man 3.
The short was filmed in Los Angeles, with Sam Rockwell's cameo filmed in Toronto on a set that was painted to match the Los Angeles shoot. Music for the short was composed by Brian Tyler, with the Caged Heat scenes composed by 1980s TV-music icon Mike Post. The main-on-end title sequence, which was created by Perception, was inspired by Dr. No, Charade, and Iron Monkey, as well as other Kung-Fu exploitation films.
All Hail the King was released on the digital download release of Thor: The Dark World on February 4, 2014, and on February 25, 2014 for the Blu-ray release. It was included on the bonus-disc of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two Collection" box set, which includes all of the Phase Two films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the other Marvel One-Shots. The collection features audio commentary by Pearce and Kingsley, and was released on December 8, 2015.
IGN's Cliff Wheatley gave All Hail the King a 9.4 out of 10. He said that it's "a return to the loveable personality of the hapless Trevor and a step forward for the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has its twists that should satisfy both lovers and haters of Trevor Slattery. But it’s the approach that Pearce takes with the material, from the kung-fu movie style credit sequences to the light-hearted tone that takes a sudden and jarring turn. Kingsley once again shines in the role of Slattery, aloof and ignorant, but more than happy to slide back into Mandarin mode if it will please his adoring fans. Pearce does go for some of the same jokes from Iron Man 3 in a sort of referential way, but it’s nothing too damaging."
Devin Faraci of Birth.Movies.Death called the short "another excellent short film from the folks at Marvel Studios", which he felt deserved to be shown in theaters rather than just released on home media. He felt that the character of Slattery "was used the perfect amount in Iron Man Three, and giving him more screen time here, in a side project, feels the right way to return to him. Kingsley is having a blast, delivering plenty of wonderful jokes and sinking right into the clueless, egocentric character who represents all of our worst stereotypes of actors." Faraci praised the Caged Heat sequence, as well as Rockwell's cameo, and positively stated on the Mandarin reveal, "rather than a retcon this feels like an expansion, a pulling back of the curtain to reveal more of the picture." Conversely, Andrew Wheeler of Comics Alliance criticized the short's presentation of homosexuality, given it was Marvel Studio's first attempt to bring LGBT concepts into the MCU.
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