A few weeks ago, Jeff Bridges was making the press rounds and, on more than one occasion (including in an interview with Uproxx), mentioned how he wasn’t entirely thrilled that his character in the original Iron Man, Obadiah Stane, was killed off. Going on to say that in the original script that he had read, Stane survived – and if that had been true, Bridges, by this point, probably would have appeared in numerous Marvel movies.
Here’s what Bridges told me back in August:
No, in the script, the script that I hired onto, my character lives! They open my suit up and I’m gone. But then when we got to shoot that scene, they didn’t open my suit up! I said, “Aren’t you going to open my suit up?” They said, “No.” I said, “You’re going to kill my guy?” And they say, “Well, it’s a comic book. You could come back. Who knows?” You know? But anyway.
When speaking to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in support of Thor: Ragnarok (there’s more with Feige to come, and we will have a full review of Thor: Ragnarok later this week), I asked Feige why the script was changed and Obadiah Stane now dies in Iron Man while also mentioning that it kind of sounds like Jeff Bridges wants to come back in some way.
“Well, that would be awesome to have him come back. That would be great,” says Feige, who seemed aware of Bridges’ recent quotes.
Feige continues, “As you may recall, when he was hired, he was a secondary villain to the Mandarin. And as we were prepping the movie we realized we didn’t want to do the Mandarin in that movie. And when we took him out and made Obadiah the lead villain, Iron Man became what Iron Man became. But what was required is that Iron Monger [Obadiah Stane] had to go down into that arc reactor.”
Feige and director Jon Favreau have long insisted that the Mandarin, Tony Stark’s archenemy in the comics, just didn’t work for these films. Beyond all the “problematic” imagery, the Mandarin also wore magical rings that contained ancient spirits that all was probably way too much for this first Marvel chapter that stayed relatively grounded (“dude builds a battle suit, then fights other dude with battle suit”) – especially when compared to what we see out of films like Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the latest Thor movie. The Mandarin would eventually appear in Iron Man 3 (played by Ben Kingsley) and would serve as Marvel’s greatest fake-out to date.
But it sounds like if The Mandarin had somehow been in the first Iron Man, Jeff Bridges would still be hootin’ and hollerin’ his way through a few more Marvel movies. (And who knows, maybe they will find a way to bring him back anyway.)
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