While the script for Madhouse’s kinetic anime take on Iron Man was produced by the prolific animation house, the rough story was put together by Brandon Auman – writer on the late lamented Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series and writer and story editor on Iron Man: Armoured Adventures.
Auman spoke exclusively to SciFiNow about reinventing Tony Stark the superhero as Tony Stark the gundam pilot, as well as the film’s links to Iron Man 3, in the feature-length Iron Man: Rise Of The Technovore…
Iron Man, of all the Marvel pantheon, certainly seems the richest in terms of anime-friendly ideas (mechs, bio-tech, dog fights, cyberpunk). How much did that inform your story, and the choice of the Technovore?
It informed a lot of it. That’s what Madhouse was looking for… those elements which appeal to both a Japanese and American audience. And they delivered generously, I think.
The Technovore has popped up in Iron Man: Armored Adventures and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes too. Is it satisfying to see this character take on a life far beyond the comic?
Well, I feel that it worked in the ’90s comic perfectly, and in some ways it was probably a little ahead of its time. It’s a very modern villain, adaptable; you can make it your own. It’s very different from other villains. I think it works better visually… amorphous monsters are always best if you see them writhing about, attempting to consume, take over, or what have you.
How did the writing process with Madhouse work? Was there a lot of back and forth? Did anything in Rise Of The Technovore turn out differently than you hoped?
Well, I wrote the story, not the script, but of course as a writer you want to do everything. You want to craft every draft, you want control over how things play out, but my job was over after I turned in my initial story treatment. There are many elements of the story that remained the same, and some that are different, or simply elements that play out differently. Zeke is much younger, his looks and motivations feel more anime. The ending was changed quite a bit, but all of those changes were to be expected. Madhouse wanted to make it their own, and I had no problem with that. I think the final film is awesome.
There’s a definite Marvel Cinematic Universe vibe too, Do you see Rise Of The Technovore fitting in between the films? Where there any specific movie moments you returned to inspire the interplay between, say Tony and Pepper, Tony and Rhodey etc?
That MCU vibe was more Madhouse than me. I didn’t write the suitcase armour or Hammer drone/Mandroids. I wrote the treatment before Avengers and Iron Man 3, so I had no idea what they would do with those characters. It was written as a standalone film, more in the vein of the comics universe. But that said, I really enjoyed those references! I thought turning the Hammer drones into Mandroids was a brilliant move. But to me, it’s still a standalone piece.
It must be pretty fun to write Frank Castle and have him be the man without restraint we all know and love. What made you decide to bring him into the Rise Of The Technovore?
I just thought it would be a fun cameo, to have Tony Stark’s complete opposite pop up to help for a short scene. The characters are so different in so many ways; high society vs antisocial, tech smart vs military smart, cocky vs grim, etc. I figured it would be fun. The Punisher scenes are my favourite in the film.
Between this, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Iron Man: Armored Adventures, you must have a pretty good handle on Tony Stark. How does the Rise Of The Technovore Tony differ from all the other incarnations of Tony you’ve played around with?
Well, I consider him closer to the comic version, while in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes he is a bit more MCU, and the Iron Man: Armoured Adventures Tony is a obviously a complete reinvention. But I love all the different incarnations of the same character… he’s not only one of my favourite comic-book characters; he’s one of my favourite fictional characters as well. He’s the archetypal scientist turn hero; truly the ultimate version of that.