Now that we’re coming to the end of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems a greater level of behind-the-scenes detail about the earliest days of the franchise is coming to light. Previously a closely guarded secret, we’re now learning about the script changes, character shifts, and late alterations to the stories of the most iconic films of the MCU – including the Iron Man trilogy. To that end, producer Kevin Feige has recently been discussing the idea of Obadiah Stane returning to the fold.
Obadiah Stane was the primary villain of the very first instalment of the MCU – Iron Man. Stane (Jeff Bridges) was a mentor and business partner to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), but was soon revealed to be a corrupt megalomaniac who would stop at nothing to protect his investment in Stark Industries – even to the extent of becoming supervillain Iron Monger. Clearly, having a performer of the calibre of Jeff Bridges help kickstart one of the most successful film franchises ever conceived was a high point for Kevin Feige, and when asked by Uproxx about the possibility of Bridges returning, the producer was open to the idea.
“Well, that would be awesome to have him come back. That would be great.”
But, it’s the further comments from Feige that make for the most interesting reading, as he digs into the production process of Iron Man, and reveals that the movie was originally intended to be something quite different.
“As you may recall, when he was hired, he was a secondary villain to the Mandarin. And as we were prepping the movie we realized we didn’t want to do the Mandarin in that movie. And when we took him out and made Obadiah the lead villain, Iron Man became what Iron Man became. But what was required is that Iron Monger [Obadiah Stane] had to go down into that arc reactor.”
Evidently, in an early draft, the primary villain was supposed to be The Mandarin, but it was decided that it was too early in the development of an ongoing franchise to incorporate a character that relies so heavily upon the use of magic. As a result of this alteration, Iron Man became a deeply grounded film that revolves around Tony Stark’s crisis of conscience, and his conflict with an old friend. The interesting thing, though, is the revelation that Stane was originally supposed to survive the film, and therefore retain the option for future involvement in the franchise.
Now that we’re 16 films into the series – and Thor: Ragnarok is about to introduce the Goddess of Death, while Avengers: Infinity War is set to bring Thanos out of the shadows – could it be that Obadiah Stane might well be resurrected at some point? Jeff Bridges is reportedly open to the idea, and now that we know Kevin Feige is equally receptive, anything could happen.