Shane Black says Iron Man 3’s villain’s gender changed due to toys

iron man 3 guy pearce

In Iron Man 3, it was assumed that the Mandarin, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, was going to be the main villain. However, the filmmakers added a twist near the end by making Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian the real main antagonist. Now we have director Shane Black saying that he originally wanted to make the main villain a woman, but Marvel decided against it because the company thinks that the toy wouldn’t be a big hit.

“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,” Black revealed to Uproxx. “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 [Marvel Studios president Kevin] Feige. That’s Marvel corporate, but now you don’t have that problem anymore,” he continued.

When Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter was mentioned, Black said, “Yeah, Ike’s gone. But New York called and said, ‘That’s money out of our bank.’ In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian — and 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.'”

“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,” he added. “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.”

Whatever gender Killian was, angry Mandarin fans had a problem with the villain’s portrayal, and Black touches upon that. He said, “Marvel saw so many negative things they made a whole other movie just to apologize called ‘Hail to the King.’ In which they said, ‘No, no, the Mandarin is still alive. That wasn’t him. There’s a real Mandarin.’ The only reason they made that was an apology to fans who were so angry.”

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 10164 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.