"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," Black told Uproxx while promoting his new movie, The Nice Guys.
"We were given a no-holds-barred memo saying, 'That cannot stand...because, after consulting, we've decided that toy won't sell as well if it's a female,'" he continued. "So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making."
Black made clear that the note came from Marvel's corporate side and not Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige. "The woman was essentially Killian [ultimately played by Guy Pearce] and they didn't want a female Killian," Black explained. "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."
Stephen Colbert had the best response to the controversy, arguing for more female villains in comic book movies during Tuesday's episode of The Late Show. "The Marvel Cinematic Universe is kind of a sausage fest," he said. "And I gotta say, all that spandex really showcases the sausage."
It isn't just the MCU that Colbert targets, hilariously concluding his rant by asking, “Doctor Doom, why does he have to be a man? Are you saying a woman can't be a doctor? Or be an evil techno-sorcerer? They better fix this in the next Fantastic Four movie -- and there better not be another Fantastic Four movie."
The good news: Marvel had already set in motion plans to fix the female villain problem, before any of this drama began. Cate Blanchett was cast as the "baddie" opposite Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo in Thor: Ragnarok, which the latter actor told ET is "really exciting."
See more of Ruffalo's reaction to the epic Thor 3 casting in the video below.