Iron Man 3’s Extremis is “the next level of Iron Man”

Marvelk Studios’ Kevin Feige on Extremis, bio-tech and Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian

Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3

It’s no secret that Warren Ellis and Adi Granov’s Extremis story arc has cast a long shadow over the Iron Man movies, inspiring the origin story in the first film and the tone of Tony – Granov even came on board to produce storyboards and armour designs. Speaking exclusively to SciFiNow, Marvel Studios president and Iron Man 3 executive producer Kevin Feige reveals how Guy Pearce turned a background character into a supervillain, and why it was finally time to adapt Extremis…

Talk about the character of Killian and bringing in Guy Pearce.

We’ve been fans of Guy Pearce for years, and have wanted to cast him in almost every movie we’ve done, and this was the one where the timing worked out perfectly. Aldrich Killian, the character he plays, is somebody who is from the comics; it was a kernel of a character in the comics that we have expanded in a very big way in this movie.  We always want, with the Tony Stark films, to have a character that represents a certain angle of his persona and Killian is somebody who wants to be a mover and a shaker; he wants to be a leader in industry.

Killian heads a brain-trust organisation called AIM that is developing Extremis, which is something that taps into human DNA and is able to reprogram it to regenerate limbs, enhance strength and cure wounds. But it also could change the whole world, which is what Killian intends to do with it.

When you have Guy Pearce in scenes with Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr, the level of acting is times three. He’s such an amazing and dedicated actor across the board. Killian is a character that will surprise people in seeing what Guy has brought to this part.


Extremis is based in bio-tech, correct?

Yes. When we were developing Iron Man, a comic-book came out called Extremis. It was written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Adi Granov, and from the cover of the first issue we realised it was the next level of Iron Man. It worked perfectly, and the timing was perfect. We felt it was tonally something we could use to build the movie off of. We actually ended up hiring Granov to come on board and help in the initial designs of the Iron Man armour for the film. 

The tone of the relationship between Yinsen and Tony Stark, the idea of a bigger, bulkier version of the Mark 1, all of that came from that storyline. In that storyline there is Extremis, which is a biological enhancement and sort of a biological weapon that people ingest and are able to do basically superhuman and spectacular things. With each film we thought, “Should we do Extremis?” My gut was, it’s a part three. So as we started developing Iron Man 3, we ended up pulling from that greatly.

Iron Man 3 will be released on 26 April 2013. Read an exclusive interview with Robert Downey Jr and screenwriter Drew Pearce in this month’s SciFiNow.