‘Iron Man 3’ Director Forced To Change Villain’s Gender So Marvel Could Sell More Toys

All of the focus may currently be on Captain America: Civil War as it continues to tear up the box office, but some interesting news about an older Marvel film has just come forth. Director and writer Shane Black revealed something quite interesting about Iron Man 3 which hit theaters in 2013, and it involved the villain’s gender being changed so more toys could be sold.

Yes, there was someone at Marvel who thought a male villain would sell more toys than a female villain and forced a gender change.

Something that needs to be pointed out is the fact that Iron Man 3 is one of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that fans like the least. The whole issue with The Mandarin being made into a joke character instead of a serious villain is the biggest problem.

iron man 3 director shane black villain gender killian marvel toys the mandarin
[Image via Marvel]

Shane Black’s film The Nice Guys stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe and it is set to open in theaters this Friday. He has been making the media rounds lately and did an interview with UPROXX where he revealed some interesting information about Iron Man 3.

Instead of The Mandarin being the main bad guy, it turned out to be Aldrich Killian who was played by Guy Pearce, and it worked out quite well. While this was a bit of a swerve, there had already been one big change to the villain and it came about due to the higher-ups at Marvel, according to Black.

“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.”

So, Killian was actually almost a woman. That was one idea, but there was also the thought that Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) could have had a bigger role in the film. At times, it certainly seemed as if she was going to have a more prominent part in the movie and could have been more involved.

Black did go on to say that the characters of Maya and Brandt (Stephanie Szostak) had larger roles in the earlier drafts of Iron Man 3 as well.

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Black continued on to say that the larger roles for women and a female as the main villain were some big ideas for the film, but they were simply nixed. Changes had to be made as ordered by the higher-ups at Marvel, and Black’s hand was forced.

“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.'”

Now, Shane Black wanted to make sure that everyone doesn’t mistake who these orders came from for Iron Man 3. He gave a lot of credit to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and said that these orders for the film did not come from him.

He’s not entirely sure who the actual order came from, but there is some speculation.

“If you ever say anything about decisions made at Marvel, I hope you’ll qualify it by saying that Kevin Feige is the guy who gets it right. And I don’t know if it was [Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter], I don’t know who it was. They never told me who made that decision, we just got that memo one day and it was about toy sales. That’s all I know.”

A number of fans have already spoken out about the changes being made to some Marvel films, and the biggest issue right now is Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange. Some have let it be known that gender-swapping The Ancient One from a male to a female is a change that should not have been made.

As reported by The Guardian, Marvel defended their decision to cast Swinton in the role as iconic characters had undergone big changes before. That being said, it was not required for Doctor Strange’s mentor to be Tibetan or a man.

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It’s hard to know who at Marvel actually said that a female villain in Iron Man 3 wouldn’t sell as many toys as a male villain, but that’s now in the past. Fans have spoken out about wanting more female Marvel merchandise of Black Widow and others, but this may have been a problem holding them back a few years ago. Shane Black bringing forth the information now is quite odd, but it’s still interesting to see what actually transpired.

[Image via Marvel]