Shane Black still thinks about Iron Man 3, and while he's proud of the movie he eventually got made, he has some regrets. One is quite the revelation: the villain changed drastically from the script they were originally going with.
"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," Black told Uproxx. "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."
Yes, because of potential toy sales, they had to change the main villain from female to male. Rebecca Hall's character Maya Hansen, Black implied, had a larger role - perhaps being revealed as the villain behind it all.
"But 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,'" Black said.
The director was explicit in saying the story was "not Feige," it was "Marvel corporate," and even agreed when Uproxx singled out Ike Perlmutter saying, "Yeah, Ike's gone." He backtracked a bit, though, and said "I don't know who it was, they never told me who made the decision."
Black reiterated multiple times that Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios was the guy who "got it right" and who "taught [him] the ways of the machine," and that he "learned so much" from the president.