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Iron Man

In April 1990, Universal Studios bought the rights to develop Iron Man for the big screen, with Stuart Gordon to direct a low-budget film based on the property. By February 1996, 20th Century Fox had acquired the rights from Universal. In January 1997, Nicolas Cage expressed interest in portraying the character, while in September 1998, Tom Cruise expressed interest in producing as well as starring in an Iron Man film. Jeff Vintar and Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee co-wrote a story for Fox, which Vintar adapted into a screenplay. It included a new science-fiction origin for the character, and featured MODOK as the villain. Tom Rothman, President of Production at Fox, credited the screenplay with finally making him understand the character. In May 1999, Jeffrey Caine was hired to rewrite Vintar and Lee's script. That October, Quentin Tarantino was approached to write and direct the film. Fox sold the rights to New Line Cinema the following December, reasoning that although the Vintar/Lee script was strong, the studio had too many Marvel superheroes in development, and "we can't make them all.

By July 2000, the film was being written for New Line by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, and Tim McCanlies. McCanlies' script used the idea of a Nick Fury cameo to set up his own film. In June 2001, New Line entered talks with Joss Whedon, a fan of the character, to direct, and in December 2002, McCanlies had turned in a completed script. New Line took a "unique" approach to writing the film's script, hiring David Hayter, David S. Goyer, and Mark Protosevich to "sit in a room and simply talk on camera about Iron Man for a few days". After this, Hayter was hired in 2004 to write a script. He reworked scripts that had been written by Jeff Vintar and Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, which had included the villain the Mandarin and Pepper Potts as a love interest. Hayter removed the Mandarin and instead chose to pit Iron Man against his father Howard Stark, who becomes War Machine. Hayter said "you want to try to mirror your hero with your villain as much as possible" for his reasoning behind making Howard the villain. He also made Bethany Cabe the film's love interest over Potts. In December 2004, the studio attached director Nick Cassavetes to the project for a target 2006 release. However, this deal ultimately fell through, and Iron Man's film rights returned to Marvel.

In November 2005, Marvel Studios worked to start development from scratch, and announced Iron Man as their first independent feature, because the character was their only major one not already depicted in live action. According to associate producer Jeremy Latcham, "we went after about 30 writers and they all passed," saying they were uninterested in the project due to both the relative obscurity of the character and the fact that it was solely a Marvel production. When the film did have a script, even the requests for rewrites met with many refusals. Early scripts for the film also directly referenced Sony Pictures' Spider-Man 2 (2004) by identifying Stark as the creator of Otto Octavius's bionic arms. In order to build the general public's awareness of Iron Man and elevate him to the same level of popularity as Spider-Man or Hulk, Marvel conducted focus groups, trying to find a way to remove the general perception that the character is a robot. The information Marvel received from the focus groups was used to formulate an awareness-building plan, which included releasing three animated short films ahead of the film's release. The shorts were called "Iron Man Advertorials", and were produced by Tim Miller and Blur Studio.


Why It Was Cancelled[]

  1. The rights of Iron Man reverted back to Marvel in 2005
  2. Nick Cassavetes was set to direct the film in 2004, but New Line Cinema lost the rights.



Results[]

  • An Another Iron Man film was made in 2008 with Robert Downey, Jr. as the title character. The film was a critical and commercial success, and began the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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