Just when you think Marvel are getting their house in order and attacking accusations of sexism head on, up pops a spanner to throw itself into the works.
Kevin Feige may be making lots of positive noises about the possibility of a Black Widow movie, but old suspicions about merchandising fears and financial viability are once more in circulation thanks to Shane Black.
The Iron Man 3 director has told Uproxx that the production was marred by difficulties, and that - stunningly - he was told in no uncertain terms to switch the gender of the villain.
"...We replaced a lot of things. The plot went this way and that way. Stphanie Szostaks character was bigger at one point and we reduced it. Rebecca Halls character was bigger at one point and we reduced it.
All Ill 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 weve changed our minds because, after consulting, weve decided that toy wont sell as well if its a female... So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making. Now, thats not Feige. Thats Marvel corporate, but now you dont have that problem anymore."
So who was the character? Aldrich Killian.
"... the woman was essentially Killian and they didnt want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian. I liked the idea, like Remington Steele, you think its the man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, no way."
Crikey, that's big.
He also confirmed that he wished the fans liked Iron Man 3 more (don't worry Shane, I think it's brilliant myself), and that Marvel only made the one-shot response to it to appease fans:
"Marvel saw so many negative things they made a whole other movie just to apologize called Hail to the King. In which they said, No, no, the Mandarin is still alive. That wasnt him. Theres a real Mandarin. The only reason they made that was an apology to fans who were so angry."
So, does this mean that Marvel Corporate will stand in the way when Kevin Feige tries to get them to sign off on Black Widow? Is this why she was so infamously taken out of the Age Of Ultron toy-line? Surely we can't be still living in THAT world, right?
There was to be a Black Widow movie before the MCU kicked off (and before Marvel took back the rights to the character fully), but it was killed by Aeon Flux's poor performance at the box office and extrapolated fears that Hollywood wasn't ready for female-centric action movies at the time). That much was of course horsesh*t: it's just that Aeon Flux was absolute garbage: had it had a male lead, it would also have been garbage and made no money.
Hopefully, Feige is currently leading a revolution at Marvel to make everyone see that female characters can actually lead movies. You know, since he has two leads upcoming in Phase 3, and will need more into Phase 4...
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