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The Truth Revealed Behind Why 'Iron Man 3' is Set During Christmas

by
April 30, 2013
Source: SlashFilm

Iron Man 3

Having just seen Shane Black's Iron Man 3, one of my favorite things about is the Christmas-time setting, which both works as a plot element (a ticking clock to Christmas) as well as an indirect connect to Black's past work. While this was well hidden in the trailers, once audiences started seeing it, initial thoughts were that Shane Black had something to do with it as part of rewriting the script and making it his own. That is somewhat true, but the complete story has now come out, thanks to SlashFilm, who compiled a series of quotes from the recent press events. Black does confirm it helped the plot, but that it wasn't even his idea.

The screenplay for Iron Man 3 is credited to writers Drew Pearce ("No Heroics", Pacific Rim) and Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Lethal Weapon Series, The Monster Squad, Last Action Hero). Both spoke at press events, but it was Pearce who confirmed that it was his idea more than anything. "If I was going to go see an Iron Man 3 movie, it was going to have to be at Christmas," Pearce said. "But there's always a reason for it as well." Before Drew explains, here's what Shane Black had to say when asked at the press conference:

"Well it just sort of evolved oddly enough in Iron Man 3, because I had resisted it. It was [co-screenwriter] Drew [Pearce] who taught me… I think it's a sense of if you're doing something on an interesting scale that involves an entire universe of characters, one way to unite them is to have them all undergo a common experience. There's something at Christmas that unites everybody and it already sets a stage within the stage, that wherever you are, you're experiencing this world together. I think that also there's something just pleasing about it to me. I mean I did LETHAL WEAPON back in '87 and Joe liked it so much he put Die Hard at Christmas and there was some fun to that. So, look, you don't have to do every film that way."

Of course not, but it works surprisingly well for Iron Man 3, especially with Shane at the helm and after so many other movies/adventures with Tony Stark already. Seeing one set around an actual holiday made this one feel quite a bit different, and they used that to their advantage. Pearce explains his reason: "There's something about Christmas as well, like when you're telling a story about taking characters apart, it almost has more resonance if you put it at Christmas and if you're also telling a story about lonelier characters as well. That loneliness is heightened at Christmas." Indeed. The conversation between went on a bit more.

Black continues: "It's a time of reckoning for a lot of people, when you take stock of how you got to where you are now and lonely people are lonelier at Christmas and you tend to notice things more acutely, I think." Pearce adds: "Plus there was a kind of Christmas coward sense we wanted to bring in for Tony as well, a certain sense…" Black then interjected: "Meaning 'the ghost of Christmas past' in the sense that Harley [played by Ty Simpkins] is kind of him as a young boy, just encountering all these things that come to him almost like a fevered dream when he's at his lowest point. I think that was the idea as well." Which is a very interesting concept to play with in an Iron Man film, but that's why there is something very unique about it.

For reference, Black also spoke to Scotsman.com last week. His reply to where does the Christmas obsession come from? "I'm not sure. I think it's just a universal leveler, an almost magical backdrop that invites a hush, momentary time-out in people's lives… And to have to dig for bits of Christmas and find that magic in the midst of the tumult has a real psychological resonance for me." Referencing the ghost of Christmas past connection, he adds that "we actually started talking about this as A Christmas Carol episode of Iron Man."

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Reader Feedback - 27 Comments

1

More like: We thought this was going to release in December, but this works too, I guess.

Kubaker1 on Apr 30, 2013

2

Uhh ok...

N. on Apr 30, 2013

3

The constant refrences to Christmas pissed me off so much during the film. Distracting and unnecessary.

Nielsen700 on Apr 30, 2013

4

Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang were during christmas.

Xerxexx on Apr 30, 2013

5

I always forget that for some reason

N. on Apr 30, 2013

6

He likes Christmas.

Xerxexx on Apr 30, 2013

7

Seems that way and who can blame him

N. on Apr 30, 2013

8

You just won

Jon Odishaw on Apr 30, 2013

9

Is...is there a prize?

Xerxexx on May 1, 2013

10

A little off-topic, but I've always been curious as far as why more blockbusters don't try to set themselves at X-mas time or a specific time of year. If it took off in a huge way, there is potential for yearly limited re-releases in perpetuity. A Christmas Carol I believe have been re-released in IMAX every year since it came out. Could you imagine if a huge blockbuster hit had the benefit?

Chris Groves on Apr 30, 2013

11

the movie is average either way, maybe the worst of the 3 iron mans.

mikeymike on Apr 30, 2013

12

um...no?

Daniel Koelsch on May 3, 2013

13

Agreed. Very lame and forgetable. Wish I'd just waited to see it on video

Jon on May 5, 2013

14

So how are we Jews suppose to feel about this Christmas movie????

Rogen on Apr 30, 2013

15

I hear there's a good Chinese restaurant open downtown still.

Phillip Gockel on Apr 30, 2013

16

So we can't mention any religious holidays at all now?

Jon on May 5, 2013

17

Who gives a shit? How are Jews supposed to feel about Die Hard? I don't celebrate Valentine's Day and I can still watch movies set during it.

Apple on May 30, 2013

18

Well, I must say that it feels a little strange. Nothing that interferes with the story. I can't say spoilers, but you can feel in every way Shane's needs to leave his mark.

TOONFED on Apr 30, 2013

19

I love this movie, this is the best of Iron Man trilogy. Christmas setting? It's works for this movie. To those don't like, it can't change the fact...Iron Man 3 is going to be the most successful iron Man movies ever...

Arnold P Bolang on Apr 30, 2013

20

"Most successful" only because the ticket prices go up for each one. It is in no way as good as EITHER of the previous ones - and that is saying something because IM2 was not great.

Jon on May 5, 2013

21

Shane Black just might be played out. This better not feel like Lethal Weapon Iron Man.

El Capitan on Apr 30, 2013

22

it feels like kiss kiss bang bang iron man with narration and all

Zade_92 on Apr 30, 2013

23

That just makes me want to see it more. xD

blargh on May 1, 2013

24

Die Hard is my favorite Christmas-themed movie! "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho."

mistermysteryguest on May 1, 2013

25

Iron Man 3 has grossed $198.4 million overseas all ready....prob due to the x-mas setting

David Banner on May 1, 2013

26

It is a bit unusual that Black never suggested the movie to be set at Xmas considering most of his films are set during the Xmas season. 1.Lethal Weapon, 2. The Last Boy Scout, 3. The Long Kiss Goodnight, 4. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Last Son on May 2, 2013

27

More like.."Think about when it'll be out on DVD and Blue-Ray."

David Rais on May 11, 2013

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