Iron Man 3 director told to swap gender of female villain to sell more toys

Shane Black says Marvel bosses weren't keen on the idea of Tony Stark's nemesis being female because they thought kids wouldn't buy the toys


Just when you thought we were done with all that Star Wars Monopoly Where’s Rey? business, the subject of gender roles and toy sales in superhero and sci-fi flicks has reared its ugly head again.


Iron Man 3 director Shane Black says Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man 3 nemesis (played by Guy Pearce in the film) was originally intended to be female, and most likely played by British actress Rebecca Hall. He revealed all when asked by Uproxx why her role in the 2013 film had been so short.

“All I’ll say is this, on the record: 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 and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female,” Black said.

“So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making. Now, that’s not [Marvel Studios president Kevin] Feige. That’s Marvel corporate,” he continued.

“New York called and said, ‘That’s money out of our bank.’ 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.”


You’ll have to excuse us. We need a few minutes to fume.