Shane Black, the director of 2013’s Iron Man 3, has revealed that Marvel made him change his original plans for the film’s villain, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce).
In an interview with Uproxx, Black stated that he had initially written the film’s villain to be female, but that Marvel executives told him to make the character male, out of concern that toys based on a female villain wouldn’t sell as well. The director also noted that current Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was not among the group that called for the change.
“In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian — and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian,” Black said. “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 made it clear that he believes that things have improved quite a bit at Marvel, as writers and directors hired to work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe don’t have this kind of problem anymore. He also stood up for Feige, arguing that he was the one person at Marvel that really seemed to understand what the creative teams were doing and was the only one who would stick up for their ideas.
During the same interview, Black was asked whether or not he would return to direct Iron Man 4, though he said that he thought Robert Downey Jr. wanted Mel Gibson to direct.
“Mel’s been great to him,” Black said. “Mel’s been great to a lot of people, including me.”
You can check out Shane Black’s next movie, The Nice Guys, starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, when it hits theaters May 20.