Iron Man 3 director Shane Black dropped a heavy truth-bomb this week, after revealing that the film’s villain was originally going to be female.
Speaking to Uproxx, Black said: “There was an early draft of Iron Man 3 where we had an inkling of a problem, which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female. So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making. Now, that’s not Feige. That’s Marvel corporate, but now you don’t have that problem anymore.”
Harsh. According to Black, Stephanie Szostak and Rebecca Hall both had bigger roles in the early drafts but both of their characters ended up being reduced. The villain was originally going to be a female version of Aldrich Killian (played by Guy Pearce in the film).
“[Isaac Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Entertainment] is gone. But New York called and said, ‘That’s money out of our bank’… They didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian. I liked the idea, like Remington Steele, you think it’s the man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, ‘no way’.”
Last year, Walt Disney Studios more or less cut ties between Perlmutter and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, meaning Feige now has more creative freedom when it comes to Marvel movies, which will hopefully also mean we’re going to start to see more diversity throughout Phase Three.
“I’m a Kevin Feige fan,” added Black. “If you ever say anything about decisions made at Marvel, I hope you’ll qualify it by saying that Kevin Feige is the guy who gets it right. And I don’t know if it was Ike, I don’t know who it was. They never told me who made the decision, we just got that memo one day and it was about toy sales. That’s all I know.”