According to director Shane Black, Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian wasn’t always the main antagonist of “Iron Man 3.” In fact, Black had plans for a female villain, until Marvel nixed the idea because they believed the toy wouldn’t sell as well if it was a woman.
“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’s name was brought up, 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.”
As to fan backlash over his version of the Mandarin, he revealed, “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.”
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan and more, “Captain America: Civil War” — the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — is now in theaters.
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