One need only look at the lucrative line of Star Wars toys to recognize how crucial merchandise can prove to be in the marketing and eventual release of a feature film, and it appears that extenuating factor had a major influence on the core plot of Iron Man 3.
According to director Shane Black, both he and the writing team had originally pitched Aldrich Killian to be a female villain to the wise-cracking Tony Stark, before the Powers That Be at Marvel stepped in to change the gender of Killian, claiming that toys based on a female version of the pyromaniac wouldn’t sell as well by comparison.
Word comes by way of Uproxx, where Black revealed the creative changes that occurred early on in production.
“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,” he explained. “So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making. Now, that’s not [Kevin] Feige. That’s Marvel corporate, but now you don’t have that problem anymore.”
When quizzed about the status of the all-but-confirmed Iron Man 4, the writer-director noted that Robert Downey Jr. is courting Mel Gibson – currently overseeing wartime drama Hacksaw Ridge – to take the reins of the superhero sequel.
“I think he wants Mel Gibson to direct it. And for good reason. Mel was great to him. Mel’s been really nice to a lot of people, including me,” Black explained about the “Lethal Weapon” star. “I’ll go on record saying I don’t believe anyone should be held accountable in any way for something they say while they are drunk. It’s not who they are. I know this because I’ve said horrible things to people and made them feel bad. And it wasn’t who I was, I was just drunk. Mel’s a great guy and I understand his new directing project [‘Hacksaw Ridge‘] is actually quite interesting.”
Appointing Mel Gibson at the helm for Iron Man 4 would certainly be a decision out of a left-field, but Marvel has been bullish about its choice of directors in the past – and it’s often paid off, too. Could the studio be about to draft in Gibson for the tentative sequel? Time will tell.