Iron Man 3: Kevin Feige & Shane Black Answer What’s Next for Tony Stark

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 6th, 2013 at 8:32 pm,

Robert Downey Jr Iron Man 3 Legion Iron Man 3: Kevin Feige & Shane Black Answer Whats Next for Tony Stark

Marvel’s Kevin Feige and new-the-to-franchise director Shane Black are proud of Iron Man 3—and they should be, it broke the international box office debut take of The Avengers and is on track to make a billion dollars as it opens domestically today.

It’s not a spoiler to say that one of the big questions of Iron Man 3 is Tony Stark wondering if he still needs the suit—and if the suit needs him. Does that mean Robert Downey Jr. is no longer essential to the franchise? We ask Feige and Black about the future of Iron Man, if Marvel will stick with this darker tone for Guardians of the Galaxy, and if in the wake of Iron Man 3‘s blockbuster success, Black has any other ideas for the franchise. (His answer might surprise you—look out, J.J. Abrams.)

Here you are, Iron Man 3, and you take the franchise’s first director and immediately stick him in a coma—did Jon Favreau have a sense of humor about that?

Kevin Feige: Yeah! Jon has a sense of humor about everything. At least we didn’t run over him with a truck.

When did come up with adding in this thread about propaganda, both for good in the case of War Machine turning into Iron Patriot, and for bad in the Mandarin?

Kevin Feige: You know, we always ask, ‘What’s the movie about?’ It’s gotta be about something, because too many action movies, you watch them and there’s occasional thrills, but they’re not really about anything. In this one, the idea of perception, of creating realities for people—especially on the level of Killian’s (Guy Pearce) think tank—and the way the media perceives things, it was very interesting to us. It felt real, and it felt like we could take a slightly satiric turn with it. That’s kind of what I really wanted out of the movie: something that felt like it had bite, and made it be about something more than good guy, bad guy.

It’s also interesting that here, Tony Stark is questioning who he is without the suit. In a way, the film almost says that the suit doesn’t need him.

Kevin Feige: It’s almost like a parting of a relationship. He walks away from this thing which has literally walked beside him, which has kept tabs on his relationship almost like a jealous lover. By the end, he’s able to divorce himself from it, and give credit to what it’s allowed him to become.

Shane Black: And you’re perceptive in that. I think all the suits need him because he invented them all. He programmed them. The question is: does he need to be in them? Does he need to constantly be in the suit? And that question is sort of answered over the course of the movie, and it ultimately he does a lot of good in it. But it’s an interesting question for the future of the franchise.

Kevin Feige: Will he inhabit the suit again? I think so.

I could see some fans interpreting that as a threat to Robert Downey Jr., like you’re saying you don’t even need him.

Kevin Feige: No, no. If he had a horrible facial accident at the end of the movie and it ended with wraps around his head and someone saying, ‘Don’t take them off—we can’t see what you look like yet!’ That might have been a good threat. [Laughs]

Robert Downey Jr.’s contract aside, does Tony Stark have a role to play in the future of the Avengers franchise?

 Kevin Feige: Yes. One-hundred percent yes.

Guardians of the Galaxy Concept Art 570x248 Iron Man 3: Kevin Feige & Shane Black Answer Whats Next for Tony Stark

Tonally, this has some dark moments, as did Captain America and Thor. Is the tone of the Marvel universe going to shift into something lighter when you start making Guardians of the Galaxy?

Kevin Feige: It’s funny. A lot of the people think this is the funniest of the Iron Man movies—of the Marvel movies, some people have said. I love that the movie works on both of those levels. We’re not taking a darker turn on purpose, necessarily, in any of the upcoming movies. But some of the storylines require one to take something slightly more seriously. There are big stakes across the board in all of the upcoming Phase Two movies. Guardians has some very dark elements, and it also has some very broad elements. But there’s a raccoon and a tree as two of the main characters.

Looking ahead, will any other characters get their own film like Ant Man or Doctor Strange?

Kevin Feige: I think the answer to that is yes, but we’re not absolutely sure.

Shane Black: Is Doctor Strange really confirmed?

Kevin Feige: No, not necessarily. It’s something I talk about a lot because I want to do a Doctor Strange movie because it’s different than any other movie we’ve done. That’s what attracts me the most. But it’s all developing.

Ant Man Movie Costume Helmet 570x320 Iron Man 3: Kevin Feige & Shane Black Answer Whats Next for Tony Stark

What’s next for Tony Stark?

 Kevin Feige: Avengers 2. Joss is working on the first draft right now.

Shane, do you have specific ideas for Iron Man 4, or even another Marvel character’s story?

Shane Black: No, I’m more interested in seeing Marvel movies. I’m not a huge comic book fan, but I’m a closet fan of certain Marvel heroes, two of those being Iron Man, and the other being Guardians of the Galaxy, which I’m looking forward to. I have a notion that there’s a Star Wars out there waiting to be made, and I’m not sure it’s the next Star Wars. I think it’s something else that will be fresh and original.

Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black based off of his and Drew Pearce’s screenplay, and stars Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Stephanie Szostak, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall, William Sadler, James Badge Dale and the voice of Paul Bettany.


Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.

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  1. Watch Iron Man 3 online HD 2013

  2. Lethal Weapon Iron Man. That’s what it should’ve been called. Shane Blackmis a one trick pony. Creatively spent. Feige needs to open his eyes and look at things more objectively less Disney take over Marvel Studio. But what can you really expect when he allows cameras to monitor his workers there instead of trusting them.

  3. @Jake the Thunderer, are you suggesting that I’m not a fan of Iron Man or Ben Kingsley from my comment? On the contrary. I’ve seen Gandhi, Lucky Number Slevin etc and admire Kingsley as an actor. Of course, many die-hard fanboys would disagree but I liked Kingsley’s brief but versatile performance in IM3 (from a sombre Liam Neeson-esque personality to a fretful Robin Williams-esque character). But having done a bit of writing myself, I admire an interesting twist or a classic anti-climax when I see one. I stopped being fanatic about comic book movies sticking religiously to their source material long ago. If I wanted that I’d read a comic. We have to accept that comic book movies are Adaptations not Direct Translations and that they are directed to a wider audience. Only Watchmen followed the graphic novel storyline hook, line and sinker and we all knew what to expect scene by scene.

    I previously explained in another thread that making Mandarin true to type may not have been politically appropriate or commercially profitable for Marvel right now. This is not the 60s, 70s or 80s- the tech rivalry between US and communist countries is a bit dated and such sensibilities need to avoided. Hence, Marvel even did a Chinese version to boost sales in the fastest growing economy in the world.

    When one understands the reasons behind some decisions made and also appreciate that the writer, Shane Black, is not, by self-admission, a serious comic fan like Whedon and thus less concerned with strictly following mythos than making what he considers as a great story, we would view the movie with less spite- I feel. No?

    Fine. The absence of the real Mandarin was a shock. But I must say I was quite concerned about cramming both Mandarin and Extremis (a six-issue story arc)in one film. Both require adequate time and exploration to be appreciated. Such was the downfall of many a three-quel(Spiderman 3, X3 anyone?) where there was pressure to put in so much fan-boy favourites to close a trilogy. It seldom works. Shane Black IMO successfully avoided the three-quel trap.. and smartly done in my mind.

    • Well when u put it like that. . . .
      Haha very good points Sir.

    • I think you make very good points. I would say the problem wasn’t the twist necessarily…but the fact that the twist kind of requires Killian really stepping up as a villain. If you’re going to set up The Mandarin in all publicity (trailers, interviews, etc.) and then pull the rug out from under us then it has to not actually make the movie lose steam.

      Killian wasn’t terrible but he wasn’t nearly as fun as the quirky, insane portrayal that Kingsley gave us at the beginning of the movie. For me the movie didn’t become a disaster because of the twist…it just got a lot less compelling because I didn’t care about Killian. I found his motivations murky and his interactions with Tony were a lot less interesting than I think RDJ’s and Kingsley’s potential scenes could have been.

      So I did find the twist funny but the trick only works if you’ve got someone better than the Mandarin up your sleeve…and they didn’t have that, in my humble opinion. 2nd half fell flat for me.

      • Let me just add that I don’t necessarily mind if they stick to the comics either. I was actually pretty pumped for the “Colonel Kurtz” version of The Mandarin they pretended they were offering. So my issue with the film isn’t that they didn’t have a villain that exactly resembled one from the comics but that they just didn’t have a villain that excited me. I would’ve been perfectly happy with Kingsley’s crazy hodge-podge of warrior motifs terrorist, rather than the Fu Manchu ring weilding supervillain. That Osama Bin Laden approach ultimately looked to be more fun than what we got from Pearce.

        • Honestly i can’t even look at the trailee anymore because seeing the manderin has a WHOLE new feeling. I WEEP for what could have been.

    • Also, there’s a bit more to the Mandarin than just the supposed (and lacking) shock that he’s not the main villain. That he was established as one of the propaganda weapons of the real villain meant that he was still a threat, just not to Iron Man directly, and that was actually a bigger problem for Tony Stark.

      See, the Mandarin as a magic-user could have been beaten by Iron Man and all of his fancy weapons, at least after a hard fight, because that’s how hero/villain engagements go at some level or other. But as a propaganda piece the Mandarin was undermining Tony Stark’s greater efforts, to protect his people/country, by making said country use said weapons to wreak general havoc. This also ties into the ending, as that problem and the related problems (fancy toys malfunctioning, having more trouble saving people than hurting them) made it unfeasible to responsibly protect everyone as he wanted to do.

      This wasn’t exactly a subtle message (blatant is a better word), and wasn’t clever — but it was actually strengthening, not weakening, the threat posed by the typical CEO villain seen in the Iron Man movies.

  4. “I’m not a huge comic book fan” yup that explains it

  5. Gotta say this movie was way below average. The rip off off Batman Begins twist…..The fact that Rhodey and Pepper are in War Machine Iron man armor more that Tony. Gosh if I wanted to see Pepper save the Day while TS was on his knee’s I’d go watch a Pepper P. movie.And I had little interest in watching TS impersonate MCGyver building nail gun…guns and electric tazer gloves,and X-mas ball shock/awe grenades that was totally hookey when all he had to do was call in some of his other SUITS.Maybe in Iron man 4 we can have whiplashes/Hammer INC. Drones fight TS jarvis controlled Suits and TS and Rhodey can hang out at Chucky Cheese and sign Autographs!!

    And I basically hate Directors who want to make statements and deep meaning movies but live in the fake World of Hollywoood. Shane B. must think he has some important commentary on world Values & Ideals so he picks a comic book movie to do so. That is the problem with some of these Hollywood types they just can’t fathom some People are just bad seeds and feel real good about causing others pain and suffering!

    No hold the press’s TS created his own monsters by not showing up on the roof of a building in 99 and having a one night stand with a chick.Oh and he was COOTERED up to boot. But his actions Just drove those folks over the edge. If that was all it took to send them on the path of evil well I rest my case they where bad eggs from the get go and just looking for a reason to cause Havoc.Monsters create them self’s it’s not that difficult to fathom.

    To bad they wasted the Mandarian and his potential! And for all those who felt that his rings would of been to weird and magical….what the Freak you are buying that Thors magic is science based but the Madarian ring powers which if I recall was adapted from alien tech. isn’t plausible! WOW.

  6. I thought it was ok. The fake Mandarin thing was not good for me. I wanted to see him fight with those magic rings on. Oh well, Thor trailer looked amazing to me. The Man of Steel will be the best movie of the summer.

    • “I thought it was ok. The fake Mandarin thing was not good for me. I wanted to see him fight with those magic rings on.” …Agree! disappointed of MANDARINS performance I thought it was lame, the movie was good I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars. IRON MAN suits were awesome specially the visual effects

  7. Can some one tell me in what scene the ANTMAN suit is on? (IRON MAN 3)

    • Not sure if that’s a joke or not but there is no Ant Man suit in the movie.

  8. I liked the twist, because if Kingsley did not even have real power rings. So what he could have done as “Mandarin”? Instead the main villain turned out to be good. Killian as Mandarin was very powerful, could cut Tony’s suit in half and even blow fire! That was nice scene. Those Mandarin tattoos was nice little suprise also at the end.

  9. I get your point clearly, @Thomas B. Killian wasn’t an adequate replacement for the Mandarin. True. I agree with that. But that depends on whether you looked at this as a Mandarin movie or an Extremis movie. When that twist came up, I switched my focus to it being an Extremis movie. You will agree with me that the Extremis saga has more to do with the virus threat than any major villain like Mandarin. So the comparison you make between Mandarin and Killian may not be exactly fair. What I would fault Black, however, is trying to include both in a movie. He should have stuck to one or the other- either Mandarin or the Extremis saga.

    Mandarin as an Osama Bin Laden terrorist without the rings would have raised similar protest from fan-boys…and some neutrals as well, who would wonder why he’d go by that Oriental title and not, perhaps,a more appropriate Arab one like ‘Sheikh’.

    I feel the story was meant to focus more on Tony and his ordeal-how he is more than the suit and to celebrate his genius. Some say they came to watch Iron Man and not Stark but I’ll be quick to remind them that such a formula was used successfully in Nolan’s Batman. There was waaay more Bruce Wayne in TDKR than there was Batman- probably far more Alfred too. But there was little fuss over it. I see there being more Kent in MOS too.

    Ah well, I liked it anyway- save for the end credit button. Looking forward to my most anticipated movie of the year: Thor 2.

  10. Funny, for the third time in a week my comment is awaiting moderation for hours.. even when it’s clean as whistle. Not good, Screenrant, unless it’s a subliminal message or something.

  11. Aldrich was the Mandarin…so I don’t know why people are saying the Mandarin was “fake” or not in the movie.


  13. Spoilers!! I liked the way they adressed Stark’s Extremis armor in IM3. They did not go over board with Stark being transformed into a cyborg by the Extremis virus. Rather Starked developed the tech to summon the armor to him. I think the next logical step should be Stark build the solid version of the Bleeding Edge armor but with ability to form around Stark like the Mark XLII armor.

    • Him being able to call his armor had nothing to do with Extremis. Extremis was the fire people.

      • I know. I just liked the way they designed the Mark XLII armor.

  14. What’s important to be aware of with the new direction of IM3 is that for the 1st time is since Ironman, we see the actual evolution of the man (Tony Stark) beyond the suit. Sure comic fanatics will be disappointed however, if they allow themselves to see that when Tony Says “I am Ironman” says more about There is more to Tony Stark as the super hero that is a man, then to the technology of the suit itself, which has evolved to where Tony no longer needs to be in the suit to be Ironman! Which is fantastic, as it opens the door to what else can Tony do? The real irony is that with Rhodie and Pepper able to use the suit, and they are obviously not Ironman, Tony is showing that his genius is really Ironman, and the suits are just that…The hidden gem here is that now just as Tony’s father, Howard Stark, Tony is now in position to become so much more then the man with a vision, he is now the man who can evolve to a man with a family, and probable child, with a vision that will become his legacy!