Marvel’s Kevin Feige reflects on Iron Man 3’s plot twist

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Eight years on, the Marvel boss remains pleased with a very divisive moment of Iron Man 3 – and big spoilers lie ahead.

Warning: a major plot spoiler for Iron Man 3 follows.

When Iron Man 3 launched eight years ago, it featured one of the boldest plot twists we’ve see from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or indeed any superhero film. Superhero flicks after all can be known for their rather formulaic adherence to set storyline and conventions.

In the film, it’s revealed that The Mandarin, ostensibly the movie’s arch-villain, a shadowy, intimidating presence, is in actual fact a doddering, drunken actor by the name of Trevor Slattery, who has been drafted in by the film’s true villain, Guy Pearce’s Aldrich Killian.

Depending on where you sit with the twist, it was either a brilliant piece of misdirection from writer Shane Black, or something of a cop-out for fans who wanted to see The Mandarin, a classic Iron Man villain, better served by the film’s story. For what it’s worth, you can count Marvel’s Kevin Feige in the former camp too.

“Going back to Iron Man 1: We’ve been talking about that when we do bring this character to the screen, [we] only wanted to do it when we felt we could do it supreme justice and really showcase the complexity of this character, which frankly we couldn’t do in an Iron Man movie because an Iron Man movie is about Iron Man; an Iron Man movie is about Tony Stark”, he said.

“So Shane Black, in his film and his script that he co-wrote, came up with this fun twist that we love to this day, and it turned out to be Trevor Slattery. Just because that version wasn’t real didn’t mean there’s not a leader of the Ten Rings organization, and that is who we meet for the first time in Shang-Chi.”

Feige is not afraid to walk back his creative choices either, having recently expressed regret about the casting of Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, so if he’s standing by this decision, it means he really believes in it still. We’d agree, especially as it looks like we could see a true version of The Mandarin in the upcoming Shang-Chi movie.

Ultimately, bold movies in major blockbusters should surely be admired, even if you can’t bring yourself to love them. As for what else Feige does or doesn’t love, you can be sure the internet will let you know as we find out too.

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