So we can file this under another case of “what the damn hell?” Our friends over at Variety revealed that Shane Black, the director of Iron Man 3, had intended for the main villain to be female. 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 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 female.'”
Apparently in that early draft, Aldrich Killian (played by Guy Pearson) was originally going to be a woman, “They didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian,” Black continued. “I liked the idea, like ‘Remington Steele’, you think it’s a man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, ‘no way.'”
That;s pretty disappointing. Most fans we’re fairly let down by the ‘twist’ ending where the Mandarin turned out to be a puppet for the billionaire industrialist. I think making the villain a female lead may have quieted. Black did go on to say that Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, had nothing to do with the decision and that the change was at the behest of the toy makers.
When you consider the fan backlash over Marvel’s lack of Black Widow toys in Avengers box sets as well as Rey being left out of numerous early toy runs for Star Wars The Force Awakens, it seems to fit. Fortunately it seems that Marvel and Disney have gone out of their way of late to make up for these decisions by highlighting a number of their female characters in toy lines. Let’s hope they continue the trend.