It was 2008’s “Iron Man” that began the Marvel Cinematic Universe and included a notable bad guy in Jeff Bridges as mentor-turned-foe Obadiah Stane. The great Bridges’ role however won’t go down as one of his better ones, especially as much of it takes place in the film’s third act which is its obvious weak point.
In their films afterwards, it was quickly realised the villains of Marvel Studios movies often felt undercooked – with the notable exception of Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Bridges’ turn, though unremarkable compared to the actor’s other work, is still one of the better ones in the MCU.
We do know The Mandarin was in an early draft of the first film before being scrapped, and now Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has revealed that Stane and Mandarin shared villain duties in early scripts. However, Mandarin was cut back and Stane was beefed up so it became necessary to kill off Stane. Feige tells Uproxx:
“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.”
That decision obviously came in the midst of production as Bridges revealed earlier this year that the script he had when signing on saw his character surviving:
“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.”
Ultimately “Iron Man” went on to make $585 million worldwide and usher in the start of the biggest connected film universe in history. Not bad at all.