Shane Black On Iron Man 3’s Big Twist; Kevin Feige Reveals Original Mandarin Plans
Obviously this article contains a pretty massive spoiler for Iron Man 3. If you haven’t seen the film yet, this is definitely one that you should see unfold on the screen. If you have seen the film, or just simply don’t care, read on to see how one of the most daring movie twists in the past few years went down.
EW had a Spoiler Analysis feature looking at Shane Black‘s big twist for the recently released Iron Man threequel. As you know by now, Marvel pulled off their biggest trick yet, and it has split audiences down the middle. Ben Kingsley was not in fact the Mandarin, he was just an actor and a junkie named Trevor. Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian was the “real” Mandarin in the film. He was behind all the bad things that unfolded in the film. The twist has been extremely divisive as you’d imagine. EW had some quotes from Kevin Feige and director Shane Black about how the idea came about, but Black’s comments on why they did it are the most interesting:
What if he’s sort of this all-things-to-all-people uber-terrorist? What if he is the myth, and in the end that is what we’re dealing with, a created myth that [a research group] has perpetuated and cobbled together using elements from popular consciousness. It felt like it said more about the world we live in than just having [Iron Man] fight another terrorist, as opposed to putting a spin on it that said something about the way we view terror, perhaps.
What it says to me is, we have to be careful. We want to find villains in the world, but it’s a complex world. If you’re smart in this world, you’ll rule by proxy because the minute you stick your face out there and assign yourself to the role of international villain you become this symbolic target.
The decision to do that wasn’t an easy one. Feige called it nerve wracking. Black seems to think it went a little more smoothly than that, but it was undoubtedly a heavily discussed issue:
Do they hand me a blank check and say, ‘Go break something!’ Or, ‘Go violate some long-standing comic book treaty that fans have supported for years?’ No, but they’ll say: ‘Let’s break something together,’So it’s okay to come up with these crazy things, these far out ideas … and they’ll fly. It’s just that the Marvel guys have to be in the room.
Jon Favreau had set up the Ten Rings terrorist cell and the Mandarin perfectly in the first film. The director was very vocal about wanting to use the character in the first film, but that idea was shot down. Kevin Feige revealed what could have been when he talks about Favreau‘s original plan:
He was in every Iron Man 1 script until about 10 weeks before we started filming. He was a contemporary of Tony Stark. He was younger. He was involved in business deals with [Stark.] This Mandarin was trying to secure Stark’s vast weapons manufacturing resources, and Jeff Bridges’ character — Obadiah Stane, a mentor of Stark’s, would have been a kind of sidekick villain. We’d have revealed that Obadiah was the mole on the inside, but it didn’t work. It didn’t work.
You can read the full analysis of the Mandarin situation by clicking here. I highly recommend that you do. EW runs down the history of Iron Man and how the Mandarin made it in the film. It’s somewhat disappointing to see what could have been in the first film compared to what we got in the third film. I personally find myself on the side that think the twist didn’t work. I wasn’t a fan of the decision, but I’ll give Marvel credit for making such a gutsy move. What did you think of the twist? Were you pleased with the movie overall?
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Source : EW