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Iron Man 3 director says Marvel changed female villain to male

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Shane Black says studio was worried about tie-in toy line

The director of Iron Man 3 says Marvel made him and the film's co-writer draw up an entirely new script because the first one had a woman as the lead villain, and Marvel wanted a man.

Sitting down to talk to Uproxx, Black said that after they had written the initial script, Marvel executives — who Black said did not include Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige — told them that after consulting with various people, they were worried the toy version of the villain wouldn't sell as well if they went with a female lead.

"In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian — and they didn't want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian," Black told Uproxx. "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 added that people entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe as writers and directors now don't have that problem anymore, but didn't expand on what that means exactly. He was adamant, however, that Feige was the one guy at Marvel that understood what creative members of the team were doing and was often the only one to go to bat for them.

The writer-director also commented on whether or not he'd return for Iron Man 4, and Black said that he thought Downey Jr. wanted Mel Gibson to direct the new movie.

"Mel's been great to him," Black said. "Mel's been great to a lot of people, including me."

Black's next movie, The Nice Guys, which stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, hits theaters May20.