Marvel Studios is one of the most successful business ventures in moviemaking history, but not everything is sunshine, happiness, and rainbows behind the scenes. It seems like every time another Marvel movie is announced, a director leaves a previous project citing those two heebie-jeebies-inducing words: “creative differences.” The making of Iron Man 3 was no picnic, as both its director Shane Black and one of its stars Rebecca Hall can attest.

Iron Man 3 is one of the weirder installments in the franchise, a departure in some ways from Marvel’s usual formulaic way of storytelling, and it has Black’s fingerprints all over it. But he didn’t get his way with everything, as he revealed while doing press for The Nice Guys earlier this year:

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… So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making.

Rebecca Hall, who plays Maya Hansen in the film, recently confirmed Black’s explanation while talking to The Toronto Sun about her new movie Christine at TIFF:

I signed on to do something that was a substantial role. She wasn’t entirely the villain – there have been several phases of this – but I signed on to do something very different to what I ended up doing. Halfway through shooting they were basically like, ‘What would you think if you just got shot out of nowhere?’ I was meant to be in the movie until the end… I grappled with them for awhile and then I said, ‘Well, you have to give me a decent death scene and you have to give me one more scene with Iron Man,’ which Robert Downey Jr. supported me on.

She is glad, though, that Marvel is finally taking some “risks” by adding a female-centric superhero movie to the mix.

Look, [Marvel] is paying for their mistakes right now. and I applaud them for casting Brie Larson in Captain Marvel. Hallelujah. It’s about time women started being the heroes of things. They can also be the anti-heroes of the things and that’s what I feel I’m getting to do with Christine.

Maybe it’s time for a female villain as well. So far, all of Marvel’s baddies have been male, with the exception of Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy (who was working for two dudes), and Scarlet Witch for, like, half of a movie. We will get to see Hela in Thor: Ragnarök next fall, so maybe Marvel’s coming around, albeit slowly.

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