Millennia ago, an ancient Chinese man named Khan had found the Makluan Rings and used them to rule his dynasty as a ruler called the Mandarin. However, he wanted someone who he could give his rings to when he died, but his many children weren't worthy of them so he scattered the rings all over the globe and created tests to measure the virtue of the next owner of the rings. The rings are free to be taken, but they are useless until the tests are passed by a worthy individual, only then will the ring's power return.
1. First Ring
During Gene's childhood, his mother kept a Makluan Ring until he came of age. This ring was already active, because Gene was a Khan, and this ring was passed down in the Khan family. His mother disappeared soon after she married Xin Zhang, who claimed the ring for himself. In the present day, Gene successfully took back the ring and imprisoned Zhang.
2. Second Ring, Test of Wisdom
In Ancient History 101, Tony, Pepper, Rhodes, and Gene investigate the Temple of Wisdom in New Jersey, which had been explored by Howard Stark, but then abandoned when Obadiah Stane was put in charge, and they find a history book and a sword with an inscription on it on separate pedestals and dozens of Dreadknight statues. Gene thought that reading the book is the way to pass the test, so he opened it and reads the Chinese word for "begin", "Chong". The test begins and the group is separated. Tony and Pepper are together and Tony fights the animated Dreadknights as Iron Man. Gene and Rhodey find the history of the Makluan Rings and the origin of the tests. When more Dreadknights show up, Gene secretly knocks Rhodey out and fights the statues as the Mandarin. Tony learns that the key to passing the test is the inscriptions on the sword. Tony gets the sword and uses the translators in his suit's computers to pronounce the Chinese word for "end", "Jung". The Dreadknights are turned back into statues and the ring is reactivated. After they get out, the sword splits in two, revealing the map to the next ring.
3. Third Ring, Test of Courage
In the episode Hide and Seek, Tony and Gene search for the next ring in the Temple of Courage in Greenland. When they find a statue inside, Gene wants to activate the test, but Tony says that they should take the ring without beginning the test. Later, Gene, as the Mandarin, teleports back and attempts to pass the test. He unleashes the ring's guardian, Ultimo. Ultimo quickly tossed Mandarin aside and walked all the way from Greenland to New York to get the ring back. Tony, as Iron Man tries to fight it, but every attempt made it grow in size and power. Even when Iron Man gave it back, Ultimo continued to attack him because he was still "holding" a weapon (namely his suit). Iron Man discovers that true courage is to put down your weapon. When he turned off his suit, Ultimo shrunk to his normal size and give him the ring. The Mandarin appeared and took the third active ring from Iron Man. The map to the next ring is hidden somewhere on Ultimo's head.
4. Fourth Ring, Test of Temperance
In World On Fire, Tony, Rhodes, and Pepper go to the Temple of Temperance at the foot of Mt. Saint Helens. In the temple, there is a light and two containers one each side, one with ice and one with coal. When Pepper accidentally knocks the ice in the light, the ring's guardian, Firebrand, turns Rhodey into a fire monster and attacks Tony/Iron Man, thus beginning the test. Tony and Pepper learn that if they don't pass the test soon, the volcano will blow and trigger other natural disasters that will exterminate the human race. When Pepper ends up doing the opposite and puts the coal in the light, Firebrand leaves Rhodey's body and possesses her. Rhodey manages to call Gene and learns that both the ice and the coal must go in the light together, as temperance means not too much of any one thing. Once that was done, Firebrand leaves Pepper's body, the test is passed and the ring is activated. After leaving the temple, Tony realizes that he can't use the ring, but The Mandarin can.
5. Fifth Ring, Test of Sacrifice
In the season finale, Tales of Suspense, Zhang kidnaps Gene, Tony, and Pepper and go to the Temple of Sacrifice in Machu Picchu, Peru. In the temple, there are two hand switches, both of them right handed. Gene and Tony activate the test and bring the dragon Fin Fang Foom to life. Zhang and his Tong men flee, leaving Pepper with Tony and Gene. Pepper tries to pass the test by giving the dragon the Makluan rings, but it doesn't work. Gene passes the test by sacrificing himself to save Pepper, and allowing himself to be eaten by Fin Fang Foom . Inside the dragon, Gene finds his four rings, as well as the fifth. Fin Fang Foom is frozen solid and Gene escapes from the dragon's mouth. Gene then shows Team Iron Man that he is The Mandarin, and attacks Tony as Iron Man (Tony reveals to Gene that he is Iron Man during the test). As Tony is about to beat Gene, Gene tells him that he abducted Tony's father before the plane crash, and if Tony wants to see him again, he has to let Gene live. Tony stops attacking and Gene teleports away.
In Season 2, Gene Khan (the Mandarin) and his prisoner Howard Stark went to search for the other 5 rings, for Gene found out that Original Mandarin didn't have five but ten rings in the season finale.
6. Sixth Ring
Gene Khan and Howard Stark found the sixth temple and defeated its guardian, the Melter to claim the sixth ring.
7. Seventh Ring
Gene and Howard eventually found the seventh temple and defeated its guardian, the Sunturion, and take the seventh Makluan ring.
8. Eighth Ring, Test of Fear
Using the seventh ring's hypnotizing power to control Tony, Gene Khan, Tony Stark, and Pepper Potts travel to the eighth temple in Egypt. The eighth temple holds its guardian, the Grim Reaper. To pass the test, the riddle must be solved: "Who would master the future must endure the pain of the past". When Tony takes the ring out of the Reaper's mouth, it came to life as a specter. He strikes both Gene and Iron Man and they're forced to live their worst fears (in the form of dreams). Tony realizes that their fears are only as strong as you make them, and he wakes up. He snaps Gene out of his dream and they work together to destroy the Grim Reaper, but Gene escapes with the eighth ring in his possession. However, using the powers of his newest ring, Gene does save Team Iron Man from a sandstorm that was about to bury the temple.
9. Ninth Ring
The ninth temple was in the country of Latveria, the home of Doctor Doom. It is guarded by the Grey Gargoyle. It was destroyed by Doom and its ring was claimed by him. When Gene and Howard find out that the ring has been taken, Doctor Doom shows up and captures Howard Stark. Luckily, Gene escapes, teleports to the armory, and passes out. Tony/Iron Man took Gene's rings while he was asleep. When Gene wakes up, he tells Tony that Doom has his father, Tony gives him back the purple ring only, and Gene teleports them to Castle Doom. Doom captures Tony and Gene, and along with Howard, Doom gives them to Yogthulu, in exchange for his dead family. They brake free and accidentally trap Doom in Yogthulu's dimension. Unfortunately, Gene gets the ring and teleports away. Tony flies his dad back home.
10. Tenth Ring, Test of Worthiness
The tenth ring was in the temple in China, Gene's own country, who stated, "It makes perfect sense that this should end where it all began." It was guarded by the Makluan who gave the rings to the first Madarin. He tested Gene to see if he was worthy to have the tenth ring, and told the true history of the first Mandarin, "Khan," and the Makluans. Gene vaporized the Makluan after he sensed darkness inside of Gene, and claimed the ring, making him the most powerful person in the world as Mandarin.