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Kevin Fiege talks Pepper Potts and the suit, love triangles, ratings, and more for Iron Man 3

Mar. 14, 2013by: Paul Shirey

Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege gave an interview toAbout.com, talking about various aspects of the film, including the love triangle between Tony, Pepper, and the suits, the conventions of the "damsel in distress," and the ratings rationale for the Marvel cinematic universe.  Compelling stuff.

On the "love triangle" in the film:

The love triangle in this movie is really between Tony, Pepper and the suits. Tony, Pepper and his obsession with those suits, and the obsession with technology. And, it’s sort of unique for a big superhero summer blockbuster franchise to have that kind of layers.

Yes, there’s a bad guy. Yes, the stakes are very, very high--the President of the United States is in danger. Air Force One is attacked. There are big stakes to this movie. But the real stakes are, is Tony going to be able to set aside the obsession to spend all day, every day in that workshop, tinkering with the suits in order to focus on, as he says in the trailer, the one thing that matters most - Pepper. And that actually is what the entire movie’s about.

On Pepper Potts and the conventions of the "damsel in distress" and suiting up:

I will tell you this. In this movie [Iron Man 3] we play with the convention of the damsel in distress. We are bored by the damsel in distress. But, sometimes we need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with "Is Pepper in danger or is Pepper the savior?" over the course of this movie.

In terms of where we go with future movies, we’ll see. In the comic books she does get a taste for the suit and becomes her own hero named Rescue, who doesn’t necessarily battle other people, but is on missions to help people and to save people. Will we do that down the line with Gwyneth Paltrow? Who knows. But her being in the suit is something we have been playing with since Iron Man 2, where we did some designs and it didn’t end up fitting in that movie. But the little taste you saw here [in an Iron Man 3 clip] is something that we’re certainly interested in.

On the "family appeal" vs. PG-13 dynamic of the Marvel films:

All of our movies are PG-13. I know parents who take their four-year-olds, and I know parents who won’t let their kids see them until they’re thirteen. So, that really depends on that. For us, there are things you can do if you are going by the letter of the law in a PG-13 movie...there’s a level of violence you can add, there’s a level of sexuality you can have, there’s a level of language you can have. We never go anywhere near the top of that. Because we don’t want to. Because that’s not what our characters are about.

When you have the amount of fighting and explosions, and some blood on his nose when he puts the suit on, we do want that. We want it to be real. Otherwise, it’s just a CG thing hitting a CG person. So that’s why we’re always in that PG-13 range. But, Jon Favreau on the first two movies, Joss Whedon on the Avengers, myself--we have kids. We want to be able to take our kids to these movies and to enjoy them. It’s really the level of intensity that determines whether parents are comfortable taking their kids to it as opposed to content, necessarily.

Interesting stuff from Fiege, as usual.  It seems almost a given that Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow will wear an Iron Man suit in IRON MAN 3, but they've been very careful about revealing that.  It would seem that Iron Pepper is going to be the audience "clap and cheer" moment for the film.  As far as the ratings go, I don't think there's room to go any higher or lower than a PG-13 for superhero films.  It's the same type of rating that is labeled to the comics on the racks, so there's no reason for it to be any different on film.  I don't need an R-rated IRON MAN or CAPTAIN AMERICA. I think that Fiege has, as usual, got the pulse of his brand and the audience it caters to. 

IRON MAN 3 hits theaters on May 3, 2013.

Extra Tidbit: Do you think the ratings should be higher or lower for the Marvel films or are you fine with where they are?
Source: About.com

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2:07PM on 03/15/2013

Break the PG-13 ceiling when appropriate

I think for grittier themed comics and heroes having a R rating is acceptable. What would Watchmen have been like with a PG-13 rating and by that same logic what would Constantine have been like with a R-rating? The same applies to characters like the Punisher, Lobo and really even a solo Wolverine film.

Of course having a PG-13 rating means a wider audience and more profit but sometimes toning down a character's image or themes does a disservice to the source material.
I think for grittier themed comics and heroes having a R rating is acceptable. What would Watchmen have been like with a PG-13 rating and by that same logic what would Constantine have been like with a R-rating? The same applies to characters like the Punisher, Lobo and really even a solo Wolverine film.

Of course having a PG-13 rating means a wider audience and more profit but sometimes toning down a character's image or themes does a disservice to the source material.
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9:27AM on 03/15/2013
I'm totally fine with how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rated. And I like the fact that they acknowledge it and say we intend to stay in the realm of PG-13. As was stated in the article, the material in the comics themselves are PG-13 at best, so no reason to go higher for a movie. And it's true, Marvel is trying to tap into their audience at multiple levels, keep the comic fans (of all ages) interested in the films. And keep the passive comic fans continually coming to the movie, or at
I'm totally fine with how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rated. And I like the fact that they acknowledge it and say we intend to stay in the realm of PG-13. As was stated in the article, the material in the comics themselves are PG-13 at best, so no reason to go higher for a movie. And it's true, Marvel is trying to tap into their audience at multiple levels, keep the comic fans (of all ages) interested in the films. And keep the passive comic fans continually coming to the movie, or at least bringing their kids to the movies. There's nothing wrong with a PG-13 action movie as long as it stays in the realm of PG-13. I think the problem usually comes when a PG-13 movie tries to push the line and come off as an R-rated movie.
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9:22AM on 03/15/2013
I'm totally fine with how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rated. And I like the fact that they acknowledge it and say we intend to stay in the realm of PG-13. As was stated in the article, the material in the comics themselves are PG-13 at best, so no reason to go higher for a movie. And it's true, Marvel is trying to tap into their audience at multiple levels, keep the comic fans (of all ages) interested in the films. And keep the passive comic fans continually coming to the movie, or at
I'm totally fine with how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rated. And I like the fact that they acknowledge it and say we intend to stay in the realm of PG-13. As was stated in the article, the material in the comics themselves are PG-13 at best, so no reason to go higher for a movie. And it's true, Marvel is trying to tap into their audience at multiple levels, keep the comic fans (of all ages) interested in the films. And keep the passive comic fans continually coming to the movie, or at least bringing their kids to the movies. There's nothing wrong with a PG-13 action movie as long as it stays in the realm of PG-13. I think the problem usually comes when a PG-13 movie tries to push the line and come off as an R-rated movie.
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9:13AM on 03/15/2013
Marvel's movie division has been very clear in the past about how they don't want to make R-rated movies. The argument is that they don't want to confuse audiences. The Marvel brand is supposed to be family friendly. It will be especially awkward if, as in the comics, Power Man and Iron Fist become part of the Avengers franchise. If a Power Man Iron Fist movie would then be rated R it could hurt the brand.
Marvel's movie division has been very clear in the past about how they don't want to make R-rated movies. The argument is that they don't want to confuse audiences. The Marvel brand is supposed to be family friendly. It will be especially awkward if, as in the comics, Power Man and Iron Fist become part of the Avengers franchise. If a Power Man Iron Fist movie would then be rated R it could hurt the brand.
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+3
7:18PM on 03/14/2013

Marvel Knights

I would eventually like to see the continuation of the more mature 'Marvel Knights' line. I think to truly do service to some of Marvel's heroes (i.e. Punisher, Deadpool, Luke Cage) you really need an R rating. Do I think we'll ever see this? Probably not. But I'm fairly certain there's a fan base for it and maybe if Marvel continues to be successful with unproven properties like Guardians of the Galaxy, they may be willing to take risks .
Only time will tell, but I'd sure as hell pay for an
I would eventually like to see the continuation of the more mature 'Marvel Knights' line. I think to truly do service to some of Marvel's heroes (i.e. Punisher, Deadpool, Luke Cage) you really need an R rating. Do I think we'll ever see this? Probably not. But I'm fairly certain there's a fan base for it and maybe if Marvel continues to be successful with unproven properties like Guardians of the Galaxy, they may be willing to take risks .
Only time will tell, but I'd sure as hell pay for an R-rated Wolverine sequel...
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9:08AM on 03/15/2013
Marvel's movie division has been very clear in the past about how they don't want to make R-rated movies. The argument is that they don't want to confuse audiences. The Marvel brand is supposed to be family friendly. It will be especially awkward if, as in the comics, Power Man and Iron Fist become part of the Avengers franchise. If a Power Man Iron Fist movie would then be rated R it could hurt the brand.
Marvel's movie division has been very clear in the past about how they don't want to make R-rated movies. The argument is that they don't want to confuse audiences. The Marvel brand is supposed to be family friendly. It will be especially awkward if, as in the comics, Power Man and Iron Fist become part of the Avengers franchise. If a Power Man Iron Fist movie would then be rated R it could hurt the brand.
6:56PM on 03/14/2013
There are certain comic book films that need to be R like The Punisher, Blade & yes even Ghost Rider or Daredevil, simply because they are much darker in tone. I have never had an issue with ratings anyway when it comes to these movie as long as they are fun & entertaining. So these movies being PG-13 does not take away anything from me at all.
There are certain comic book films that need to be R like The Punisher, Blade & yes even Ghost Rider or Daredevil, simply because they are much darker in tone. I have never had an issue with ratings anyway when it comes to these movie as long as they are fun & entertaining. So these movies being PG-13 does not take away anything from me at all.
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6:28PM on 03/14/2013

Interesting points about the ratings....

I have 6-year-old twin boys. They've watched all 6 Star Wars movies, the Avengers, Thor and Captain America. However I still don't feel comfortable with them seeing Iron Man 1 or 2 just yet. (or either of the Hulks, even though Hulk was their favourite thing about Avengers). There just seems to be a level of intensity to the violence inherent in the Iron Man movies that isn't in the rest of the Marvel roster, for the most part.
With that said, BRING ON IRON MAN 3 ALREADY.
I have 6-year-old twin boys. They've watched all 6 Star Wars movies, the Avengers, Thor and Captain America. However I still don't feel comfortable with them seeing Iron Man 1 or 2 just yet. (or either of the Hulks, even though Hulk was their favourite thing about Avengers). There just seems to be a level of intensity to the violence inherent in the Iron Man movies that isn't in the rest of the Marvel roster, for the most part.
With that said, BRING ON IRON MAN 3 ALREADY.
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4:13PM on 03/14/2013
A little disappointed you didn't put that screenshot of Pepper in her bra somewhere in this article...
A little disappointed you didn't put that screenshot of Pepper in her bra somewhere in this article...
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5:14PM on 03/14/2013
That's a fair criticism. I won't fail you again.
That's a fair criticism. I won't fail you again.
5:53PM on 03/14/2013
That's what I like to hear! You always come through, so I'll let this one slide
That's what I like to hear! You always come through, so I'll let this one slide
2:21PM on 03/14/2013
If it wasn't for Margaret Thatcher Pepper Potts could've had a way cooler superhero moniker.
If it wasn't for Margaret Thatcher Pepper Potts could've had a way cooler superhero moniker.
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9:27AM on 03/15/2013
That`s what I was wondering when I read this article. I thought she takes the name Iron Maiden in the comics, not Rescue. Fucking Margaret Thatcher!
That`s what I was wondering when I read this article. I thought she takes the name Iron Maiden in the comics, not Rescue. Fucking Margaret Thatcher!
+13
2:07PM on 03/14/2013

extra tidbit

ironman doesnt need to be rated R. the comics arent graphic. but the wolverine should be, hes a slicing up murder machine.
ironman doesnt need to be rated R. the comics arent graphic. but the wolverine should be, hes a slicing up murder machine.
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1:45PM on 03/14/2013
But yeah after all of the trailers, photos, and articles this film needs to come out already.
But yeah after all of the trailers, photos, and articles this film needs to come out already.
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1:44PM on 03/14/2013
No need to have these type of Marvel films rated R. I mean, push the boundaries a little when it comes the more exciting and intense situation, but other than that keep it simple and friendly.

No need to have these type of Marvel films rated R. I mean, push the boundaries a little when it comes the more exciting and intense situation, but other than that keep it simple and friendly.

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+7
1:43PM on 03/14/2013
Now they've got the rights to Punisher and Blade, I'd love to see some R-Rated incarnations of them that take place in the same universe as The Avengers movies, but are tonally and aesthetically dark and don't really come into direct contact with them. Like the flip side of the bright shiny, family friendly world that The Avengers live in. The dark, gritty, sweary, violent, blood stained alleys of the night. Daredevil could also fit in here if Marvel get him back, though probably doesn't need
Now they've got the rights to Punisher and Blade, I'd love to see some R-Rated incarnations of them that take place in the same universe as The Avengers movies, but are tonally and aesthetically dark and don't really come into direct contact with them. Like the flip side of the bright shiny, family friendly world that The Avengers live in. The dark, gritty, sweary, violent, blood stained alleys of the night. Daredevil could also fit in here if Marvel get him back, though probably doesn't need to be as blood soaked and R-Rated as the other two.

I think this shared cinematic Universe lends itself to playing outside of the family market, but certainly the current Avengers, and any others they bring into these current flock of movies, can easily, happily and succesfully stay PG-13.
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1:50PM on 03/14/2013
I agree Punisher and Blade should be rated R, but they could make Daredevil in the same vein and tone as Nolan's Batman films. A hard Pg 13 that borders on the line of being Rated R. Bit if it were R, I would also have no problem with it.

But I like your idea of having them take place in the same universe, but the darker side of it.
I agree Punisher and Blade should be rated R, but they could make Daredevil in the same vein and tone as Nolan's Batman films. A hard Pg 13 that borders on the line of being Rated R. Bit if it were R, I would also have no problem with it.

But I like your idea of having them take place in the same universe, but the darker side of it.
1:39PM on 03/14/2013
The ratings are fine. Fiege is right, over the top blood and violence and sex are not what the Marvel movies are about, its about the characters. Also, I have a 9 year old brother who loves all things Marvel, so I always go see these movies with him, and it would be shame if I wasn't able too.
The ratings are fine. Fiege is right, over the top blood and violence and sex are not what the Marvel movies are about, its about the characters. Also, I have a 9 year old brother who loves all things Marvel, so I always go see these movies with him, and it would be shame if I wasn't able too.
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1:39PM on 03/14/2013
I don't think that there is any reason that these movies need to be rated R. I think they do a great job toeing the line between kid and adult material.
I don't think that there is any reason that these movies need to be rated R. I think they do a great job toeing the line between kid and adult material.
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1:34PM on 03/14/2013

Good Stuff

per usual from Kevin, May needs to get here fast, the waiting is killing me
per usual from Kevin, May needs to get here fast, the waiting is killing me
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1:33PM on 03/14/2013
I'm fine where they are. It doesn't have to be rated R at all. TDK was dark and serious tone with a chaotic villain, and it's PG-13. Certain ones should be, like Punisher of course.
I'm fine where they are. It doesn't have to be rated R at all. TDK was dark and serious tone with a chaotic villain, and it's PG-13. Certain ones should be, like Punisher of course.
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