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Shane Black explains how Iron Man 3's villain was once very different

05.16.2016

ben kingsley, the mandarin, iron man 3, marvel cinematic universe, marvel studios

As much love as the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets these days and has over the years, there is one area of their operation that has been severely lacking for sometime now - the presentation of their female characters. We know The Wasp will finally be introduced as a co-headliner with Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel will be getting her due... but their track record hasn't been very good on the matter outside of these few steps forward. 

We've had the issue with a lack of Black Widow action figures to be found on toy shelves, regardless of the fact that she has been a serious component of the Avengers since their launch. There's been the empty promises of a solo Black Widow film that we've been hearing for years, only for us to be no closer to seeing such an idea realized. And now we may be getting some sincere insight into why things have shaken out like that for awhile... and, in turn, why we may be seeing changes on the horizon. 

In a new interview with Mike Ryan at Uproxx, director Shane Black gets into some of the changes that were made during the IRON MAN 3 process, and one of the big ones has to do with the film's villain. Now, before you jump in and start claiming that you told everyone that the Mandarin was going to be more like the source material, that's not it. In fact, Black does address some of what happened with the Mandarin, but originally they had ideas on having a female villain for the third IRON MAN movie... until it was axed...

All I’ll say is this, on the record: 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.

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.'

Let's remember... not too long ago, there was a major shake-up at Marvel Studios that essentially pushed Ike Perlmutter out and handed the reins to the operation almost entirely to Kevin Feige. In the past, it's been widely believed that much of the hold-up on seeing more women in prominent position in the MCU, either in the films or in the merchandise or what have you, has been Perlmutter's doing. With him out of the picture, Feige has had much more freedom to push those characters to the forefront, and we'll see how things keep going over the next few years... but Black really lends validity to the problems many have had with Marvel's operation for awhile and the archaic way of thinking that helped foster it. 

As for what he had to say about The Mandarin, since I know you want to know, here you go...

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.

 But if Marvel didn’t want you to present Mandarin the way you did, they would have stopped you.

Of course, they didn’t care. But when the blowback hit, they cared.

You had to know there’d be some blowback.

No, we didn’t. We didn’t know. We all thought they’d eat it up because it never occurred to us the Mandarin is as iconic to people as, say, the Joker in Batman.

You can see Shane Black's latest film THE NICE GUYS in theaters this Friday, May 20.

 

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Source: Uproxx

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9:08PM on 05/17/2016

Wow....waiting to hear the spin on this from the Marvel fanboys....

Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE Marvel fan, but not so much that I'm actively rooting against DC (or starting flame wars based on my belief in their superiority). But for all those folks who delighted in BvS being so poorly received (and how great Marvel is), here they are choosing a villain BASED ON TOY SALES!!!! That plus they were so clueless they didn't realize people would hate their Mandarin rip-off.

What's really sad is that I've never even read a Mandarin comic (saw a couple
Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE Marvel fan, but not so much that I'm actively rooting against DC (or starting flame wars based on my belief in their superiority). But for all those folks who delighted in BvS being so poorly received (and how great Marvel is), here they are choosing a villain BASED ON TOY SALES!!!! That plus they were so clueless they didn't realize people would hate their Mandarin rip-off.

What's really sad is that I've never even read a Mandarin comic (saw a couple animated episodes) and I was really disappointed, so I can't even imagine how pissed the hardcore Marvel fans really were. I don't care how much money that movie made (or what the reviews were), it was a complete piece of crap and probably the worst Marvel movie in Phase 1 or 2.
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10:28AM on 05/17/2016

The most ironic part....

Not only is it ridiculous that due to "toy" sales a movie script would be required to be changed but the biggest irony is that (aside from a lego/minimates) NO TOY WAS EVER MADE OF KILLIAN... EVER! Not Hot Toys, not Legends, not Universe, So I may have to call Bull S**T because not a dollar was gained on the change. The script works better with Iron Man fighting a "male" Killian and not a "female" Killian. Unless they went the direction of Potts vs female killian it wouldn't have worked!
Not only is it ridiculous that due to "toy" sales a movie script would be required to be changed but the biggest irony is that (aside from a lego/minimates) NO TOY WAS EVER MADE OF KILLIAN... EVER! Not Hot Toys, not Legends, not Universe, So I may have to call Bull S**T because not a dollar was gained on the change. The script works better with Iron Man fighting a "male" Killian and not a "female" Killian. Unless they went the direction of Potts vs female killian it wouldn't have worked!
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9:12PM on 05/17/2016
He might be telling the truth, but I would think it's a more likely scenario that Marvel realized they haven't had a female superhero (no, Black Widow doesn't count), but they were about to have a female super-villain. Kind of like having a black bad guy before they got around to introducing black heroes. I think somebody looked at that and said, NO!!!!!!!!
He might be telling the truth, but I would think it's a more likely scenario that Marvel realized they haven't had a female superhero (no, Black Widow doesn't count), but they were about to have a female super-villain. Kind of like having a black bad guy before they got around to introducing black heroes. I think somebody looked at that and said, NO!!!!!!!!
10:23AM on 05/17/2016
I didn't mind the Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3. Mostly because I was never a reader of the Iron Man comics, so the movies really serve as my main reference point for the character. I was never familiar with the Mandarin in the comics as he never does much outside of Iron Man storylines (at least that I know of). So for me, it was a blank slate they could do whatever they wanted with. Personally, I thought it served the story really well. But I understand why some fans felt slighted by the
I didn't mind the Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3. Mostly because I was never a reader of the Iron Man comics, so the movies really serve as my main reference point for the character. I was never familiar with the Mandarin in the comics as he never does much outside of Iron Man storylines (at least that I know of). So for me, it was a blank slate they could do whatever they wanted with. Personally, I thought it served the story really well. But I understand why some fans felt slighted by the change.

All of that said, Shane Black's comments only support what I've thought for a while. Marvel is just full of shit when it comes to female characters. They keep dangling the "possibility" of a Black Widow movie in front of us as their proof that they care about female characters. In the meantime, the only traction they've given to appeasing that fanbase is a half-assed Agent Carter show and Hope Van Dyne as a secondary character in Ant-Man. I know The Wasp will be more prominent in the sequel and Captain Marvel is on the horizon, but it seems like that only became a priority after there was some serious blowback towards Marvel for under-representing women in their movies.

Add to that, before Feige took over, Marvel was making decisions based on toy sales? Perlmutter really is an idiot! Ah well, I like hearing of these stories where little bits of information get out and let us know what's really going on behind the scenes. I can only expect more dodginess from Marvel on the female character front moving forward.
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9:14PM on 05/17/2016
BvS might have been a disappointment, but they added a strong, awesome female superhero in their 2nd film (and now have Harley starting an entire franchise).....so they did something right.
BvS might have been a disappointment, but they added a strong, awesome female superhero in their 2nd film (and now have Harley starting an entire franchise).....so they did something right.
8:16AM on 05/17/2016
I thought the Mandarin twist was funny, certainly, but didn't really help the film and had a negative impact on the Iron Man series. Had Killian been a woman I don't think that would have helped the film significantly, so whether or not that was the original plan is neither here nor there. The fact that they changed it to help toy sales is hardly surprising though.
I thought the Mandarin twist was funny, certainly, but didn't really help the film and had a negative impact on the Iron Man series. Had Killian been a woman I don't think that would have helped the film significantly, so whether or not that was the original plan is neither here nor there. The fact that they changed it to help toy sales is hardly surprising though.
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7:37AM on 05/17/2016
The reason that were still talking about Iron Man 3, is the fact that there's so many issues with the film.
The reason that were still talking about Iron Man 3, is the fact that there's so many issues with the film.
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1:16AM on 05/17/2016
Personally I didn't really care much about the Mandarin before the movie. However the trailers did such a good job of building up the character as a very real and terrifying threat for Tony. I was looking forward to a present day update of the character that seemed to pay homage to the one from the comics. However everything came crashing done once they made that stupid reveal. Honesty the worst part about it is the way they handled the reveal. The filmmakers treated the reveal and the
Personally I didn't really care much about the Mandarin before the movie. However the trailers did such a good job of building up the character as a very real and terrifying threat for Tony. I was looking forward to a present day update of the character that seemed to pay homage to the one from the comics. However everything came crashing done once they made that stupid reveal. Honesty the worst part about it is the way they handled the reveal. The filmmakers treated the reveal and the character as one big joke. The reveal MAY have worked better if they played it straight but nope lets have this guy turn into the most ridiculously annoying and stupid idiot ever. It's hard to take the movie seriously when the filmmakers clearly didn't. I lost absolutely all interest in the movie once that reveal took place. I put all of the blame solely on Shane Black. I can't for the life of me figure out why this guy is so popular with film fans. Like the commenter below who says Shane Black "can do no wrong". Ahaha seriously? Cuz he did pretty wrong in this film. He just comes across as an arrogant ass completely undeserving of his cult status
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9:42PM on 05/16/2016
Of course The Mandarin is iconic to Marvel fans, because he's the most recognizable villain in Iron Man comics since back in the day. But most of the disappointment comes from the fact that The Mandarin was teased since the very beginning of Iron Man with The Brothers of the Ten Rings.
Of course The Mandarin is iconic to Marvel fans, because he's the most recognizable villain in Iron Man comics since back in the day. But most of the disappointment comes from the fact that The Mandarin was teased since the very beginning of Iron Man with The Brothers of the Ten Rings.
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9:07PM on 05/16/2016
It's not that the Mandarin is as iconic as the Joker; it's that he's one of Iron Man's top villains and he actually was hinted at in the first film. You promise Sir Ben Kingsley chewing the scenery with a colourful villain and you replace him with a generic villain played by the good but less colorful Guy Pearce. Of course, people will be disappointed! It was so anti-climatic.

As for the gender-swapping, it was totally idiotic. Toy companies have way too much power over what shows in movies.
It's not that the Mandarin is as iconic as the Joker; it's that he's one of Iron Man's top villains and he actually was hinted at in the first film. You promise Sir Ben Kingsley chewing the scenery with a colourful villain and you replace him with a generic villain played by the good but less colorful Guy Pearce. Of course, people will be disappointed! It was so anti-climatic.

As for the gender-swapping, it was totally idiotic. Toy companies have way too much power over what shows in movies.
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6:54PM on 05/16/2016

Shane Black is AWESOME

He can do no wrong.
He can do no wrong.
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6:53PM on 05/16/2016
It would have been intesting to see Tony go up against a female villian. At least Guardians of the Galaxy had the courage to include one in their film.
It would have been intesting to see Tony go up against a female villian. At least Guardians of the Galaxy had the courage to include one in their film.
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6:51PM on 05/16/2016
This is not an example of what's wrong with Hollywood. This is an example of what's wrong with PEOPLE. The data is correct. Toys won't sell as well with a female villain. Why do you think that is?
This is not an example of what's wrong with Hollywood. This is an example of what's wrong with PEOPLE. The data is correct. Toys won't sell as well with a female villain. Why do you think that is?
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9:17PM on 05/17/2016
That's not true. I guarantee the Wonder Woman toys will sell. I have a teenage daughter. They want a woman to root for. . . . and more than 50% of the population is women.
That's not true. I guarantee the Wonder Woman toys will sell. I have a teenage daughter. They want a woman to root for. . . . and more than 50% of the population is women.
6:49PM on 05/16/2016

Fuck you Shane Black

"You had to know there’d be some blowback.

No, we didn’t. We didn’t know. We all thought they’d eat it up because it never occurred to us the Mandarin is as iconic to people as, say, the Joker in Batman

REALLY?!? So you didn't know Iron Man's biggest villain was as iconic to him as Joker to Batman. No not as many people knew Mandarin as know Joker. But not as many people knew Iron Man as know Batman. But that doesn't mean you go crapping all over every characters primary villain. Yes some
"You had to know there’d be some blowback.

No, we didn’t. We didn’t know. We all thought they’d eat it up because it never occurred to us the Mandarin is as iconic to people as, say, the Joker in Batman

REALLY?!? So you didn't know Iron Man's biggest villain was as iconic to him as Joker to Batman. No not as many people knew Mandarin as know Joker. But not as many people knew Iron Man as know Batman. But that doesn't mean you go crapping all over every characters primary villain. Yes some tweaks have to happen to bring some things into the modern day, but that doesn't mean you whitewash it and strip if of everything that makes the character the character.
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5:03PM on 05/16/2016

The Toys Won't Sell As Well if the Villain Is Female

This is the perfect quote to show what's wrong with Hollywood. Even in the era of massively improved Superhero Movies, major creative decisions still have to be based on projected toy sales. Iron Man 3 was one of the weakest Marvel movies in the modern era so maybe it wasn't so smart.
This is the perfect quote to show what's wrong with Hollywood. Even in the era of massively improved Superhero Movies, major creative decisions still have to be based on projected toy sales. Iron Man 3 was one of the weakest Marvel movies in the modern era so maybe it wasn't so smart.
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