Despite scoring a string of major hits at the box office, the House of Ideas isn’t bulletproof. One of the biggest issues many have with the shared universe is its lack of major female characters. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has also faced criticism for weak villains – something many comic book fans lambasted the studio for after Iron Man 3’s fake-out antagonist. Director Shane Black recently defended his twist ending, where Ben Kingsley’s terrifying Mandarin turned out to be actor Trevor Slattery, a pawn in Tony Stark's rival, Aldrich Killian's (Guy Pearce) game. He also revealed some startling info about a major plot change that altered Rebecca Hall’s adversarial role as Dr. Maya Hansen.
According to Black, Hall was originally intended to play the Killian role, in essence. He claimed the studio, at the behest of toy manufacturers fearing reduced sales, reduced her role from archenemy to minor menace – something Hall recently confirmed.
While recently attending the Toronto International Film Festival to promote her new film Christine, Hall weighed in on the matter which she'd been "gagging to talk about" but hadn't had the opportunity to discuss. She unburdened herself to the Toronto Sun about the studio’s plastic panic, saying Black’s version of events was “100% true.” Hall also noted:
“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 a while 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.”
Hall, while likely disappointed in Marvel for caving to toymaker pressures, seems to be taking it all in stride. At the same time, she couldn’t resist a little jab at the studio’s expense, chiding:
“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.”
Marvel is responsible for countless innovations and has unquestionably altered the industry. At the same time, in the past, they seemed reluctant to break or even chip at the superhero glass ceiling. As a result, the MCU’s only major female character, Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson), was relegated to a relatively limited role until the last few pictures. It also took the studio until Phase 3 to introduce their first female superhero flick, that of Captain Marvel.
In all fairness, Marvel has made great strides in recent years – likely thanks to Kevin Feige. During his interview, Black gave the studio head props, saying he was the “guy who gets it right.” His support, in concert with the notion of Captain Marvel as Feige’s dream project, lends credence to the forward march of the MCU. In addition, since the studio kerfuffle was resolved, a Black Widow solo project was announced as a possible outing during Phase 4.
As the controversies of the past and present align themselves with the growing and changing studio, hopefully Marvel Studios will embrace the inclusiveness of their print counterpart. So far, the future does seem brighter and more all-encompassing for the MCU. All will be revealed, though, as the House of Ideas moves into the next phase and beyond.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: Toronto Sun