Back in May, Iron Man 3 writer-director Shane Black revealed that the initial script for the threequel positioned Rebecca Hall's Maya Hansen as the film's main villain, but that idea was ultimately vetoed because Marvel Studios were concerned that female toys wouldn't sell. Hall's role was thus substantially reduced from chief nemesis to minor character.
That behind-the-scenes drama has now been somewhat confirmed by Hall, who told the Toronto Sun that Black's comments were "100% true": "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".
There's a lot that annoys me about how this situation played out, not least of which is the fact that Hall - who has turned in great performances in films like The Prestige, The Gift, and more - wasn't given a chance to sink her teeth into a role she probably would have knocked out of the park.
Thankfully, Marvel are slowly but surely getting their act together when it comes to giving their female characters more prominence - Brie Larson's Captain Marvel movie is currently searching for a female director, and Thor: Ragnarok will finally be giving us a superhero movie with a female villain in Cate Blanchett's Hela - and that's something which Hall is quick to acknowledge:
"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, and they can also be the anti-heroes".