The official start of the summer 2013 movie season also marks the beginning of the next phase of the Marvel cinematic universe with Iron Man 3.
Although it's a safe bet that Robert Downey Jr. will have a role to play in The Avengers franchise for years to come, the star's contract expires with Iron Man 3. And with the "three-quel" representing potentially the last solo film for Robert Downey Jr., Marvel, President Kevin Feige and director Shane Black are pulling out all the stops.
Disney and Marvel Studios have published Q&A transcripts for Kevin Feige, President of Production and a producer on all Marvel Studios films, and stars Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, where they talk everything from new and returning cast members and taking the next step in their character journeys.
- Iron Man 3 is the first of its kind, a "sequel to two movies."
- Feige on Robert Downey Jr.: "He doesn’t come in and say, 'I'm the biggest star in the world.' He comes in and shows you why he’s the biggest star in the world."
- Feige on the success of the franchise: "It is incredibly gratifying that people have responded to what comic fans have known for decades."
- Feige on starting Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: "But what was important to us with Iron Man 3, the first film in our new Phase 2, is that it stands apart and stands on its own."
- "Taking Tony Stark from The Avengers into such a personal solo individual journey was always the goal... to show that as interesting as they are altogether, they're [The Avengers] equally interesting on their solo journeys."
Ahead, we've pulled select quotes from Downey, Feige and Paltrow, who talk about the movie and their roles in detail. There are plot details that may be spoiled for you, so be warned..
How has Tony Stark changed since the events of The Avengers now that he's witnessed aliens and technology beyond even his comprehension as a genius scientist? Feige explains:
"Not only did he encounter all of those crazy characters with hammers and capes and shields and gamma-radiated strength, but a portal to another world opened above his head. Tony Stark is a very scientifically minded guy, who thought he was at the cutting edge of science and suddenly learned in those brief moments at the end of The Avengers, that there is an infinite amount that he doesn't know.
I think that made him feel small in a certain way and I think even encountering those other Super Heroes in The Avengers made him feel like he was not the most powerful person in the world, which I think Tony likes to feel like he is. He may be the smartest person in the world, but not necessarily the most powerful. So when we meet him at the beginning of Iron Man 3, he's using the suit as a shell almost. It is a shell to shield himself from all of this new information, this new influx of reality that is crashing around him. At the same time, as tends to happen in good movies, another villain arises. And suddenly, when he's sort of at a state where he’d much rather stay in his lab and work on his suits, something happens that forces him to get out of his house, to get out of his lab and even in some cases, get out of the suit, to confront this new evil. "
What are moviegoers going to see from Stark this time around, especially considering that it represents his fourth starring role as the Armored Avenger?
"We like painting Tony into a corner and taking away all of his toys and all of the immense wealth and assets and leave him with just his mind and see how he can get out of that situation. You've seen in the trailers that there's an attack on Tony's house. So by the end of the first act of Iron Man 3, his house is gone. His technology is gone. All he has is a barely functioning, prototype suit that, soon after he escapes from the house that’s destroyed, is not functioning at all. So Tony finds himself in the middle of the United States of America, in Rose Hill, Tennessee, completely out of his element. A guy who lives in Malibu and goes to Monaco and gallivants in Manhattan in the middle of Rose Hill, Tennessee, with a suit not working, doing an investigation about the villain known as the Mandarin, to try to figure out where he is. Tony believes there are clues here that are going to lead him to find where the Mandarin is, so he drags the broken suit into a shed that he finds and takes an axe and opens it up. It turns out that he is in the little workshop of this young boy named Harley.
It is a lot of fun to see Tony out of his element, without any of his toys, with just his mind, to see how he can overcome and there are villains that come and attack him in this sequence, with no suit at all to grab. I won't give away whether he is successful or not, but you can probably guess and it’s that ingenuity that’s fun. How is he going to get out of that cave with a box of scraps again? And that’s something that we really didn't see in Iron Man 2. We didn't see it in “The Avengers” either and it is something that is wholly unique to Iron Man 3."
Writer Drew Pearce was hired by Marvel Studios to help write Runaways for director Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), a film initially planned for release alongside The Avengers in 2012. It was canceled and after being disappointed by the news, Feige met with him and it led to Pearce joining the Iron Man 3 creative team, eventually befriending Black after some "hesitancy."
"Of his own accord he wrote about a 25-page treatment and outline, sort of an essay of ideas, about where he saw the character going. While we didn't go with everything he had in that initial document, there was so much there and so much passion, that we decided we wanted him to come on board and team him up with the writer/director we were hiring, Shane Black."
In Iron Man 3, Pepper and Tony are living together. Feige reiterates that Pepper runs Stark Industries while Stark does his own thing, focusing on his obsession with building new and more advanced suits and being a hero.
"So they are living together and they are in a committed relationship, which again is somewhat unique to the superhero genre. That is one of the reasons we really wanted to do it. But when you live with Tony Stark there are always issues and there are always concerns and one of the concerns at the beginning of this film is the fact that he is not sleeping. He's spending all of his time tinkering and building suits. And Tony’s been doing nothing but building suits and suits and suits and suits. It’s an obsession and, as Pepper calls it, his distraction. It's clearly affecting their relationship."