The MCU is lacking when it comes to equality for leading roles

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“In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian – and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian.”

When MCU’s Iron Man 3 came out, it was not as well received as the previous two installments. It seems, however, that its lack of critical acclaim is no longer the focus. Just recently, Rebecca Hall, who played Maya Hansen, confirmed that some major changes occurred once the production of the movie began. Originally, she and Stephanie Szostak (Brandt) were slated to play much bigger roles, and that the main villain was intended to be female.

Shane Black, the movie’s director, was interviewed by Uproxx back in May of this year and he gave first insight into why the movie went in a new direction with its villain:

“All I’ll say is this, on the record: There was an early draft of Iron Man 3 where we had an inkling of a problem. Which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female.”

“In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian – and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian. I liked the idea, like Remington Steele, you think it’s the man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, ‘no way’.”

In fact, according to a Wiki post on Marvel’s own website, Maya Hansen is much more of a puppet master:

“When she learned that she was going to lose funding, Maya came up with the idea that if she could get a test subject to fight and conquer Iron Man, she would be able to prove its potential. It was with this logic that she stole Extremis and put it into the hands of terrorists, who quickly injected Mallen, one of their own. As the next step in her plan, she contacted Tony Stark feigning distress to ultimately maneuver him into a confrontation with the Extremis-enhanced terrorist.”

When Hall spoke to Postmedia Network (via Toronto Sun) at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), this is what she had to say:

“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 awhile 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.”

This confirmation from Hall is the latest in a theme that’s been plaguing the MCU for quite some time: a lack of important or lead roles for female characters. Shortly after the release of Age of Ultron, Scarlett Johansson was doing the media rounds and while at Saturday Night Live, a “trailer” for a solo Black Widow film was shown.

The video mocks stereotypical “chick flicks” and lets us know that Marvel “gets women.” While the skit appears to be tongue-in-cheek, it highlights the fact that a majority of female lead roles in Hollywood get distilled down to fashion and the search for love. The MCU may not be this blatant, but the underwhelming amount of women heading the charge is very noticeable.

Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios, addressed some of these concerns back in 2014 during an interview with, saying:

“I think it comes down to timing, which is what I’ve sort of always said, and it comes down to us being able to tell the right story. I very much believe in doing it. I very much believe that it’s unfair to say, ‘People don’t want to see movies with female heroes’, then list five movies that were not very good, therefore, people didn’t go to the movies because they weren’t good movies, versus [because] they were female leads. And they don’t mention ‘Hunger Games’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Divergent’. You can go back to ‘Kill Bill’ or ‘Aliens’. These are all female-led movies. It can certainly be done. I hope we do it sooner rather than later. But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have — which is a very, very good thing and we don’t take for granted, but is a challenging thing. You may notice from those release dates, we have three for 2017. And that’s because just the timing worked on what was sort of gearing up. But it does mean you have to put one franchise on hold for three or four years in order to introduce a new one? I don’t know. Those are the kinds of chess matches we’re playing right now.”

Marvel’s first female-led movie is slated to be Captain Marvel, but that has a release date of 2019. And after Rebecca Hall’s and Shane Black’s statements confirming that Marvel is willing to forego female roles in pursuit of the bottom line, let’s hope that Captain Marvel sees the light of day and paves a path for more female centric titles.

What do you think about the lack of leading ladies in MCU movies? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: TechnoBuffalo
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