This past week, Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce took to Instagram to reminisce about an early 2012 table read for the superhero threequel, and he confirmed that Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke was originally set to star in an unknown role.
Pearce wouldn't elaborate about the nature of Clarke's part, only adding that her exit was a "long story" due to script changes, while denying one fan's claim that she was originally set to play Sharon Carter aka Agent 13 (though he also called it a "good guess").
It's well known that Iron Man 3's script went through numerous iterations, with Rebecca Hall's Maya Hansen originally intended to be the primary antagonist before former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter insisted boys wouldn't want to buy toys of a female villain.
Nevertheless, it's fascinating that Clarke's almost-role never came to light over the last seven years, and given the scarcity of significant female roles in the film, there aren't too many options for who she might've ended up playing.
Theoretically, Clarke could've played Maya Hansen herself before the role was trimmed down, though given that the changes surprised Rebecca Hall mid-production, it doesn't make too much sense that Clarke would've had knowledge of them this far in advance.
It's far more likely that she was originally cast to play Ellen Brandt, an Extremis-infected war vet eventually played by Stéphanie Szostak. But then again, the role is ultimately small enough that you'd wonder why she was brought in for a table read with the principal cast - unless the role was originally much bigger.
Otherwise, there's the possibility that Clarke was lined up to play a totally different, unknown female character who was eventually eliminated from the script entirely.
Whatever the true nature of her proposed character, it's fascinating that all involved managed to keep the lid on it for seven whole years.