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