Black and Feige Take Cues From Comics in IRON MAN 3


Earlier this week, we shared word of Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige confirming to us during an interview Monday at the Iron Man 3 press junket in Los Angeles that the rights to Daredevil have indeed moved from Fox to Marvel Studios.

That exchange happened at the very end of a conversation with Feige and writer/director Shane Black about the forthcoming Iron Man 3, where we talked about the conscious efforts made to make Robert Downey Jr.'s latest outing as Tony Stark different not only from last year's Avengers, but its solo Iron Man predecessors.  

We also talked with Black and Feige about the recent comic book elements incorporated into Iron Man 3 — 2005-2006's "Extremis" storyline and its characters Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) and Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall); plus the Iron Patriot armor from 2009-2010's , which in this film is worn by former War Machine James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) rather than Norman Osborn (who, of course, is part of the Spider-Man movie franchise, controlled by Sony).

The interview follows, and check back with Newsarama after Iron Man 3 debuts in theaters on May 3 for more insight from Black and Feige, of the particularly spoiler-y variety.


Newsarama: Kevin, Shane, it's obvious from watching Iron Man 3 that it's a very different type of movie, not just in contrast to Avengers, but also for Marvel Studios in general. Part of that seems natural, given that there are new creative voices with Shane Black and Drew Pearce involved, but was it also a deliberate decision — part of the mission statement to do something different?

Kevin Feige: It absolutely was. I've been involved in Marvel films for a long time now, and people used to ask, "How long is this going to last? Is this just a fad?" And I believed very much that it wasn't, but I believed the only way to ensure that it's not is by mixing it up — never taking anything for granted, never resting on our laurels.


Even though we had to conceive this movie, and prep this movie and get started shooting this movie before The Avengers was released, it was our game plan to mix it up, post-Avengers, and to allow ourselves to take chances, and go back to a single character storyline. Dig in deeper to Tony than we even had in Iron Man 1. When Avengers came out, and thankfully was an even bigger success than we could have imagined, we stuck to that. We didn't mix it up, we didn't throw aliens, and S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thor back into the mix. And that's mainly due to the script that Shane had overseen.

Nrama: A lot of people were wondering, 'Can they go back to

'just' an Iron Man movie after Avengers?' So will Iron Man 3 serve as something of a model for upcoming films like Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier?

Feige: I think that's true, and particularly with the next Captain America film. The first one was a period piece. The second one, by its very nature, Steve can't go back in time. It is a completely different genre than the first film.


Shane Black: It's kind of exciting, actually, because Captain America will have to totally change its shape for the second movie.

Nrama: The movie uses Extremis, straight from the Warren Ellis and Adi Granov storyline, and it draws heavily from the comics, but naturally there are divergences, and the way it's executed is very different. Was it always the plan to use Extremis as part of this storyline? How did it develop?

Black: We've always been interested in "Extremis."

Feige: The truth is, half of "Extremis" is Tony Stark's origin. It's the retelling of his origin story. Tonally, and even somewhat visually, with Adi Granov — which is why, as you know, we hired him to be a concept artist on the first few films — we had already used half of that book in our interpretation with Tony's relationship with Yinsen, the look of the Mark I, that cave escape sequence from Iron Man 1.


While we were making Iron Man 1, Jon [Favreau] and Robert were like, "Look at this Extremis thing, it's cool." I used to joke and say, "That's part 3. We'll deal with that in part 3" — not knowing if part 1 was going to work. When it came time to [plan] part 3, we did say, "This is a great book, this is a great story." And it also frankly came about because we didn't want to do another armored villain. We didn't want to do another armored character versus armored character. So Extremis is perfect for that.

Black: "Extremis" itself is rather a small story, about these militia guys, one of whom gets encased in this thing. It seemed like if you were to combine that with something, to make it not so small — maybe these guys work for somebody. What if these militia types were actually in the employ of someone slightly bigger, and who would that be? And all of a sudden we're thinking along the lines of The Mandarin.

Nrama: Also taken straight from the comics, and even more recent ones, is Iron Patriot. Again, it's a very different use — in fact a totally different person in the armor — but a very similar visual. How closely are you looking at these current elements from the comic books, and figuring what could work in live action?


Feige: Quite closely. We see what publishing is doing, they know what we're doing. It's wherever inspiration strikes. Iron Patriot, as you said, is very different — it's Norman Osborn in the comics. But Norman Osborn did it for very similar reasons. It was propaganda purposes, it was to make a statement. Shane embraced that idea.

Black: There was a satiric quality, even in the comic books, to the Iron Patriot. He was a symbol of something that had been corrupted. The idea of taking this Iron Man dream that Tony's created, and there's a guy he knows in the military who's even grimacing as he has to put this thing on, because they painted it red, white and blue as a symbol of our country. Which is fine, except that's not what Tony ever wanted. He didn't want it to be the military's new weapon. So the idea that we're branding things — we're using symbols throughout the entire movie. The Mandarin uses symbols. It's all about finding things that play in the media, and make for soundbites.  

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