An early script for Iron Man 3 was trashed because it had the nerve to feature a female villain, a Marvel director revealed.
While women villains may appear to be rising in popularity (look at Maleficent or Charlize Theron’s role in the upcoming Fast 8), Marvel execs back in 2013 were convinced a bad gal wouldn’t be able to sell some toys, which are vital to Marvel’s marketing strategy.
In an interview published on Monday, Iron Man 3 director/writer Shane Black (who directed Ryan Gosling’s new film The Nice Guys) told Uproxx the first draft of the Iron Man 3 script went through several changes, including ditching the idea of a female villain. “The plot went this way and that way. Stéphanie Szostak’s character was bigger at one point and we reduced it. Rebecca Hall’s character was bigger at one point and we reduced it,” says Black, blaming “Marvel corporate” for the decision he ultimately went along with because Marvel money is major.
Male superheroes and villains traditionally dominate the comic book genre, of course, and Marvel doesn’t have a rich history of casting women in non-supporting roles. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Marvel has often come under criticism for its lack of female lead characters, with none of its first 13 features featuring a female solo lead. The female-led Captain Marvel was announced in Oct. 2015 for a July 2018 release, but it has since been bumped back twice to make way for male-led movies; it is now scheduled for a March 2019 opening, where it will be Marvel’s 21st movie.
On the DC Comics side, there’s at least some buzz around Wonder Woman, which is in the middle of casting and set for a June 2017 release.