Director Shane Black is the first to admit that Iron Man 3 was a troubled production with one of the major problems -- in the eyes of some fans -- being how the movie dealt with the Mandarin storyline. Another problem was that it had a pretty weak villain in Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian.
But did you know that the third Iron Man movie was supposed to have a female villain? That's what Shane Black revealed during a candid interview with Uproxx.
Black said a female villain was actually in the cards until someone somewhere at the Marvel Studios food chain killed the idea deader than dead. Why? Because they thought a female Big Bad would not sell toys, so they they pulled a gender swap.
Not only that, but Black also said that Stéphanie Szostak and Rebecca Hall’s characters were meant to have bigger roles at one point or another during the development of the movie, but their roles had to be reduced.
“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.”
When Uproxx pointed to the fact that Ike Perlmutter, C.E.O. of Marvel Entertainment and the man infamously responsible for the lack of Black Widow toys out there, was no longer in charge of the movie side of things, Black added:
“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.” Just so you know, too, I’m a Kevin Feige fan. 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.”
Are you surprised to learn that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) was originally meant to square off against a female villain, and the reason why the idea was scrapped was because of toy sales?