Marvel Wouldn't Allow the Villain in "Iron Man 3" to Be a Woman Because of This Ridiculous Reason

By Maggie Mallon

Today in 'Are You Serious?' movie news, screenwriter-director Shane Black revealed the reason he had to change the gender of a leading character in "Iron Man 3": toy sales.

Black, who not only cowrote but also directed the third installment in the "Iron Man" series, told Uproxx that the nefarious scientist Aldrich Killian — portrayed by Guy Pearce — was a woman in his original draft. But because of studio concerns that the action figure representation of a female villain would net low toy sales, Black was forced to switch the character from a man to a woman.

"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. "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 continued, saying, "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.'"

Black also revealed that characters played by Stéphanie Szostak and Rebecca Hall had more extensive roles in earlier drafts but were reduced as the script took on its final shape. He did, however, clarify that these decisions came from "Marvel corporate" and not current studio president Kevin Feige.

"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 [former studio head Ike Perlmutter] anymore."

Let's hope that toy sales (toy sales!) won't continue to be yet another perpetuation of Hollywood's well-established gender gap. We're still waiting for that badass female villain too.

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Photo Credit: Marvel Studios