‘Iron Man 3’ Rejected Female Villain Idea Due To Toy Sales

Iron Man 3 Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) Film Frame ©Marvel Studios 2013

Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 could have been a very different story if the creators had stuck to their original idea for the villain facing off against Tony Stark.

During an interview with Uproxx, Black explained that the first villain idea was a female. In the end, the idea was scrapped because it was decided that toys wouldn’t sell if it was a female.

“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 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.”

This wasn’t the only change to drafts of the script. Black explained that other female characters that appeared within the film, like Brandt (Stephanie Szostak) and Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall), had larger roles within the story in the early drafts of the script.

Black wanted to clarify that the memos regarding the script came from “Marvel corporate,” not Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.

“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.”


Chelsea Lewis

Chelsea Lewis

Chelsea Lewis, TV division, joined Heroic Hollywood in 2016. Prior to joining the team at Heroic, she worked for TheCelebrityCafe.com covering everything from music to...

  • Joseph Chaisson

    Who was the villain they originally had?

    • Axxell

      I’d like to know too.

    • andreasalxr

      I would guess Madame masque

  • ieyke

    Which is totally silly, because past Thor 1 pretty much NONE of the villains have toys in the first place.
    Just Ultron….

  • DoYouFeelInCharge?

    The same reason every Marvel character has undergone 87 costume changes, toy sales.

  • Gabe323

    I already forgot who the villain in the movie was.

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  • Baby Face Nelson

    Don’t remind me of that movie please. Hardly any Iron Man in the movie. Then there was the crime of butchering Mandarin.

  • Steve Steve

    The rejection/revenge arc would have made more sense if it were a jilted former lover instead of a missed business meeting.


    Wow, a negative Marvel story for a change!! It’ll probably snow where I live tomorrow as well.

  • Math

    I hate to say it, but they were probably right. I remember reading an article that said that female action figures doesn’t sell very well. When you look at it from a business point of view, they make a lot of their profit by selling toys. It’s sad but that’s how it is.

  • andreasalxr

    Sometimes the original villain was a female Mandarin XD