Iron Man 3 director Shane Black has revealed that the original plans for the movie were to have a female main villain. “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 said in interview with online news site 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 toys won’t sell as well if it’s a female,'” Black added.
In the end not only there was no female villain, but all female roles were reduced in Iron Man 3, Black said. Fans were critical of the movie after one of the main villains ,Mandarin, was revealed to not be main antagonist. Actor Guy Pearson took over the role as the villain, playing scientist Aldrich Killian.
“In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian — and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian,” Black continued. “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.'”
Black said Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, had nothing to do with the decision and that “we had to change the entire script because of toy making.” This is bound to bring a lot of debate to the toy and film industries. This year we already had one similar problem, after Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens was nowhere to be found in the initial release of toys for the movie.
Toy companies explained Rey was going to be a major part of the second wave of toys. Even so, it all left a bad taste and it seems it was not the only time such decisions have been made.