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Shane Black shares which Iron Man storyline Marvel and Disney consider off limits

04.22.2013

IRON MAN 3 is looking to be the darkest film based on the Marvel character to date, but director Shane Black shared that there is a limit to how dark Disney is willing to go with their superheroes. We have seen some pretty gnarly stuff in THOR and THE AVENGERS, but violence does not seem to be the type of dark that concerns the House of Mouse. Even though these are PG-13 movies, the studio is shying away from one of the most famous arcs in Iron Man comics.

In an interview with Comic Book Movie, Black explained there is one story he really wanted to tell but was told that it was not going to happen.

“The drinking. Even if you look at the websites of the mommy bloggers they say, you know, 'Watch out, mom's! Tony drinks in this movie!' It's amazing. There's one or two scenes in this movie where he picks up a drink and it'll be in those blogs...I think we were just told by the studio that we should probably paint Tony Stark as being kind of an industrialist and a crazy guy, or even a bad guy at some points, but the Demon in a Bottle stuff of him being an alcoholic wouldn't really fly. I don't blame that.”

Back after the first IRON MAN hit theaters, Jon Favreau discussed that being an iconic story that he wanted to get on the big screen. Fast forward to today and Shane Black's words reek of studio involvement. Again, I understand that Disney needs to make things marketable, but alcoholism is also a real world problem that they could display on the big screen as a cautionary tale. If SUPERMAN III were made today, we never would have seen a drunk Superman with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Ask any comic fan and they will tell you how integral "Demon in a Bottle" is to Tony Stark's evolution as a character. There are ways to achieve the same psychological development while excluding the hard liquor, but they won't have quite the same resonance with fans.

IRON MAN 3 opens everywhere on May 3, 2013.

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12:07AM on 04/24/2013

What ?

Didn`t they already cover his alcoholism in iron man 2 ? i was kinda getting tired of it we get the dude is a narcissist with daddy issues and a drinking problem
Didn`t they already cover his alcoholism in iron man 2 ? i was kinda getting tired of it we get the dude is a narcissist with daddy issues and a drinking problem
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10:08PM on 04/23/2013
I can totally understand Marvel & Disney being wary of tackling the Demon In A Bottle storyline. I don't feel like it has to be tackled as a major theme in a superhero movie. We got a bit of a taste of it in Iron Man 2, that's probably enough. For those that disagree, feel free to go watch Hancock again. :)
I can totally understand Marvel & Disney being wary of tackling the Demon In A Bottle storyline. I don't feel like it has to be tackled as a major theme in a superhero movie. We got a bit of a taste of it in Iron Man 2, that's probably enough. For those that disagree, feel free to go watch Hancock again. :)
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10:26AM on 04/23/2013
In the comics the demon in the bottle arc worked great, it helped form the character. That being said, in Iron Man 2 the drunk Tony scene and fight with Rhodey was just plain uncomfortable to watch and the Demon in the Bottle arc didn't really get explored as alcoholism, and addiction. I think it would be cool if they had a scene where he and Pepper maybe mentions his "recovery" at least to resolve that former behavior, or perhaps his challenges with the role and pressure of being a hero.
In the comics the demon in the bottle arc worked great, it helped form the character. That being said, in Iron Man 2 the drunk Tony scene and fight with Rhodey was just plain uncomfortable to watch and the Demon in the Bottle arc didn't really get explored as alcoholism, and addiction. I think it would be cool if they had a scene where he and Pepper maybe mentions his "recovery" at least to resolve that former behavior, or perhaps his challenges with the role and pressure of being a hero. We'll see what happens in Iron Man 3. Notice he did drink in The Avengers when he was confronted by Loki.
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8:35AM on 04/23/2013
I wonder what RDJ's opinion would be on this, having combated his own fair share of demons over the years. One of the reasons he was inspired casting for Tony Stark.
I wonder what RDJ's opinion would be on this, having combated his own fair share of demons over the years. One of the reasons he was inspired casting for Tony Stark.
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3:16AM on 04/23/2013
They pretty much handled that in Iron Man 2 anyway & I get thats it's part of the Tony Stark story, but even I felt that party drunk scene felt a little out of place. Not every comic book storyline needs to be put in the movies. Marvel is on cloud 9 with their flicks & I am looking forward to Phase 2 starting with Iron Man 3
They pretty much handled that in Iron Man 2 anyway & I get thats it's part of the Tony Stark story, but even I felt that party drunk scene felt a little out of place. Not every comic book storyline needs to be put in the movies. Marvel is on cloud 9 with their flicks & I am looking forward to Phase 2 starting with Iron Man 3
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1:11AM on 04/23/2013

I saw Iron Man 2 on TV

It was better than I remembered, probably because the awkward moments with Tony getting advice from his long dead father were peppered with commercial breaks. It gave me time to suspend disbelief while in the theater I was thinking "WTF?! Did his father know Tony was going to need a replacement heart one day?" Anyway, after flipping the channel to MTV and coming back we were brought back into the action at which point I could just accept that Tony was all better. Yeah, it was weak, but the
It was better than I remembered, probably because the awkward moments with Tony getting advice from his long dead father were peppered with commercial breaks. It gave me time to suspend disbelief while in the theater I was thinking "WTF?! Did his father know Tony was going to need a replacement heart one day?" Anyway, after flipping the channel to MTV and coming back we were brought back into the action at which point I could just accept that Tony was all better. Yeah, it was weak, but the whole "demon in a bottle" storyline should have taken several movies to be resolved and the problem was that, in the meantime, you had a superhero that was an alcoholic. In retrospect, I'm surprised the original story got past the Comics Code Authority: I can only assume that they had any specific rule against characters drinking in the comics.

In retrospect, the whole subplot worked as a metaphor: Tony didn't believe that his father loved him. When he found out that his father did love him it made him feel better. The whole business of him creating a new element was just Jon Favreau talking down to the teenaged boys in the audience.

Oh, one more thing: they probably wouldn't have wanted Tony's alcoholism to be a subplot in the Avengers which we all agree was just pure fun.
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11:33PM on 04/22/2013
Substitute with jelly beans or some other G-rated drug!
Substitute with jelly beans or some other G-rated drug!
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8:18PM on 04/22/2013

not surprised

I don't think anyone is really surprised that Demon In a Bottle is off limits. Too bad - but not surprising. If I had my druthers - they would have filmed Demon as the second film, and the only storyline that would be offlimits would be the one where Tony goes bad and gets replaced by a teenaged timelost version of himself.
I don't think anyone is really surprised that Demon In a Bottle is off limits. Too bad - but not surprising. If I had my druthers - they would have filmed Demon as the second film, and the only storyline that would be offlimits would be the one where Tony goes bad and gets replaced by a teenaged timelost version of himself.
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7:51PM on 04/22/2013
It's a shame that they wouldn't consider doing the iconic storyline because it would be great to see Tony go through this transgression on screen and the fact that it's an important aspect in him becoming who he is as Tony Stark and as Iron Man. I think it would give Tony more depth as a character than he already has. I'm not saying going through a drinking problem gives you more depth, but it would show him being more human in some ways and how even someone as smart, rich, and successful as
It's a shame that they wouldn't consider doing the iconic storyline because it would be great to see Tony go through this transgression on screen and the fact that it's an important aspect in him becoming who he is as Tony Stark and as Iron Man. I think it would give Tony more depth as a character than he already has. I'm not saying going through a drinking problem gives you more depth, but it would show him being more human in some ways and how even someone as smart, rich, and successful as him could succumb to the bottle.

I can understand why Marvel and Disney wouldn't want to do it, but those reasons could easily be justified with enough care and quality towards the subject.
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8:57AM on 04/23/2013
You could have just said "i agree"
You could have just said "i agree"
+12
7:03PM on 04/22/2013
Stupid. That's a great storyline that would give kids a good lesson not to drink.
Stupid. That's a great storyline that would give kids a good lesson not to drink.
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7:03PM on 04/22/2013

The Gallagher

Kind of a letdown, especially after there were rumblings about the Demon in a Bottle storyline appearing Iron Man 2, and then all we get is a tipsy Stark throwing melons around. Somebody already said it, but it would indeed be difficult to do it in a Disney-owned franchise without coming off as preachy or after school special-ish, but it'd be nice to see a few elements of that storyline. Like any superhero franchise, though, it would be awesome to see a hard-R version of Iron Man, Batman,
Kind of a letdown, especially after there were rumblings about the Demon in a Bottle storyline appearing Iron Man 2, and then all we get is a tipsy Stark throwing melons around. Somebody already said it, but it would indeed be difficult to do it in a Disney-owned franchise without coming off as preachy or after school special-ish, but it'd be nice to see a few elements of that storyline. Like any superhero franchise, though, it would be awesome to see a hard-R version of Iron Man, Batman, Wolverine, or Luke Cage, but it would probably piss off more people than it would please.
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6:13PM on 04/22/2013
Please don't mention Superman 3. I do a decent job of pretending that "film" doesn't even exist.
Please don't mention Superman 3. I do a decent job of pretending that "film" doesn't even exist.
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8:31PM on 04/22/2013
Maybe if enough of us work together we can collect and burn all copies of it in a glorious bonfire
Maybe if enough of us work together we can collect and burn all copies of it in a glorious bonfire
+8
6:09PM on 04/22/2013

Ha!

Knew it before i even read the article. It's too bad though. Doing stories like Demon in a Bottle are the exact stories that would help make these movies a bit more dramatic and a little less effects spectacle. One thing i had actually been hoping for/looking forward too would have been seeing Downey Jr. tackle that role in these movies.
Knew it before i even read the article. It's too bad though. Doing stories like Demon in a Bottle are the exact stories that would help make these movies a bit more dramatic and a little less effects spectacle. One thing i had actually been hoping for/looking forward too would have been seeing Downey Jr. tackle that role in these movies.
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+16
5:33PM on 04/22/2013

Unfortunatly...

...I think the closest thing we'll get to Tony Stark dealing with alcoholism in a Disney film was when he got drunk at his birthday party in Iron Man 2.
...I think the closest thing we'll get to Tony Stark dealing with alcoholism in a Disney film was when he got drunk at his birthday party in Iron Man 2.
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+8
5:30PM on 04/22/2013

Unfortunatly...

...I think the closest thing we'll get to Tony Stark dealing with alcoholism in a Disney film was when he got drunk at his birthday party in Iron Man 2.
...I think the closest thing we'll get to Tony Stark dealing with alcoholism in a Disney film was when he got drunk at his birthday party in Iron Man 2.
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5:13PM on 04/22/2013

There's only one big problem

and that's that parents are more impressionable than their children. Alcoholism is a real world issue, but parents want to keep their children from that, especially when they're seeing a superhero they all look up to. That's fine, but they make a bigger stink about it than a child would because they don't know the gravity of the issue. We can't really fault Disney for wanting to keep that away from children: they want to make money, and if families boycott it for whatever reason they make up
and that's that parents are more impressionable than their children. Alcoholism is a real world issue, but parents want to keep their children from that, especially when they're seeing a superhero they all look up to. That's fine, but they make a bigger stink about it than a child would because they don't know the gravity of the issue. We can't really fault Disney for wanting to keep that away from children: they want to make money, and if families boycott it for whatever reason they make up then the company loses out.
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5:03PM on 04/22/2013
To include a drinking problem in a family film they would have to pretend he over came it and that would stink of a a sitcom tackling a hard issue or an after school special, I think they may be right to ignore it. An R-rated. problem soaked Tony Stark would be badass - but it just ain't going to happen.
To include a drinking problem in a family film they would have to pretend he over came it and that would stink of a a sitcom tackling a hard issue or an after school special, I think they may be right to ignore it. An R-rated. problem soaked Tony Stark would be badass - but it just ain't going to happen.
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10:30AM on 04/23/2013
This brings up the question of why Super Hero films are "family films"?
This brings up the question of why Super Hero films are "family films"?
4:30PM on 04/22/2013

so because of a bunch of high horse moms

who you know are sitting there with a drink in hand blogging about the fact tony stark is drinking, we wont get to ever see one of the best iron man story lines because disney is afraid to piss off a few moms?? you would think a huge company like that would tell them to screw, if you dont like it dont watch it and if you dont want your kid to see people drinking lock them in their room without a computer and a tv, what is the world coming to
who you know are sitting there with a drink in hand blogging about the fact tony stark is drinking, we wont get to ever see one of the best iron man story lines because disney is afraid to piss off a few moms?? you would think a huge company like that would tell them to screw, if you dont like it dont watch it and if you dont want your kid to see people drinking lock them in their room without a computer and a tv, what is the world coming to
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5:07PM on 04/22/2013
"you would think a huge company like that would tell them to screw, if you dont like it dont watch it and if you dont want your kid to see people drinking lock them in their room without a computer and a tv, what is the world coming to"
It's exactly what a big company doesn't want. They want their product to reach as many people as possible, which means everyone, including kids. They don't want these kids locked in a room without access to a tv or computer; they want them locked in a room
"you would think a huge company like that would tell them to screw, if you dont like it dont watch it and if you dont want your kid to see people drinking lock them in their room without a computer and a tv, what is the world coming to"
It's exactly what a big company doesn't want. They want their product to reach as many people as possible, which means everyone, including kids. They don't want these kids locked in a room without access to a tv or computer; they want them locked in a room decorated with Iron Man sheets, Disney toys, Disney apps on their Ipads and Disney DVDs playing on their TVs. More people = more money. It's not that hard to grasp.
8:28PM on 04/22/2013
Disney isn't a big company, it's a giant who could afford to piss off a small number of moms who's kids would still find a way to see the movie I'm sure, and even if they didn't I'm sure movie/comic nerds would be seeing it more than once which would more than make up for the few people who wouldn't let their kids see it, lets face it esp at this point iron man is going to make a boatload of money regardless, it would be nice for once to see someone say you know what screw you guys don't come
Disney isn't a big company, it's a giant who could afford to piss off a small number of moms who's kids would still find a way to see the movie I'm sure, and even if they didn't I'm sure movie/comic nerds would be seeing it more than once which would more than make up for the few people who wouldn't let their kids see it, lets face it esp at this point iron man is going to make a boatload of money regardless, it would be nice for once to see someone say you know what screw you guys don't come see the movie then, we are going to make one hell of a movie that will speak for itself
3:25AM on 04/23/2013
It's the common stereotype that anything related to Disney is revolved around childrens entertainment period. As long as the films are entertaining then that is all that should matter. It's the common norm anyway that all someone will always become offended & create a controversy over it such as alcohol or drugs. Do I agree with any of that, none in the least.
It's the common stereotype that anything related to Disney is revolved around childrens entertainment period. As long as the films are entertaining then that is all that should matter. It's the common norm anyway that all someone will always become offended & create a controversy over it such as alcohol or drugs. Do I agree with any of that, none in the least.
+12
4:30PM on 04/22/2013
Cause mommy is the audience for this film. If a kid is still at the age where they need their mommy to tell them what movie they can and cannot watch, then they probably shouldn't be watching this anyway as I think they wouldn't qualify for the PG-13 rating.
Cause mommy is the audience for this film. If a kid is still at the age where they need their mommy to tell them what movie they can and cannot watch, then they probably shouldn't be watching this anyway as I think they wouldn't qualify for the PG-13 rating.
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4:14PM on 04/22/2013

And the studio interference begins...

Does The Hulk have to smash that robot? Can't they just hug, and work out their differences over a cup of hot cocoa? Does Hawkeye have to shoot people with his arrows? Can't he just disarm them? Can we bring that zipper up a little higher on Black Widow's cleavage? We want Mom's to take their kids to this. We'll be in the same situation with Marvel that we're in with Star Wars.
Does The Hulk have to smash that robot? Can't they just hug, and work out their differences over a cup of hot cocoa? Does Hawkeye have to shoot people with his arrows? Can't he just disarm them? Can we bring that zipper up a little higher on Black Widow's cleavage? We want Mom's to take their kids to this. We'll be in the same situation with Marvel that we're in with Star Wars.
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+18
4:12PM on 04/22/2013
Maybe some of the execs at Disney have booze problems of their own.
Maybe some of the execs at Disney have booze problems of their own.
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3:59PM on 04/22/2013

Showing Consequences

They don't get it, do they? If you don't want to encourage excessive drinking, don't shy away from the consequences of alcoholism. It is more dangerous to show people living affluent lifestyles with a drink in their hands, because it paints drinking in an appealing light. The demon in the bottle story shows the consequence of heavy drinking and that it is not all glamorous. It can have a damaging effect, one that Robert Downey Jr knows well considering his battle with addiction. Wasn't
They don't get it, do they? If you don't want to encourage excessive drinking, don't shy away from the consequences of alcoholism. It is more dangerous to show people living affluent lifestyles with a drink in their hands, because it paints drinking in an appealing light. The demon in the bottle story shows the consequence of heavy drinking and that it is not all glamorous. It can have a damaging effect, one that Robert Downey Jr knows well considering his battle with addiction. Wasn't that a selling point for him as the best actor to encapsulate Tony Stark?

It seems to me avoiding this plot line is less about maintaining a family image, and more about sponsorships from alcoholic beverage sellers. This story would make them look bad and be more of a cautionary tale. There is nothing wrong with showing the negative effects of alcoholism, unless, of course, you want to make money off of beer sales.
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