Will The IRON MAN Movies Ever Do “Demon In A Bottle?”

Shane Black doesn't seem to think so.

I'm off to interview Shane Black myself in a little while, so I'm glad to see I won't have to ask him any questions about the Demon In A Bottle storyline from the Iron Man comics. 

It's perhaps Iron Man's most iconic storyline: Tony Stark, always a boozing playboy, falls into serious alcoholism, has to relinquish the Iron Man armor and James Rhodes takes over for him. It's a story from a period of time when comic books were really growing up in a big way, trying to tackle concepts and stories that went beyond whiz bang. The Marvel stable of characters - always rooted in real humanity - offered a good platform for sych explorations.

Talking to Comic Book Movie, Iron Man 3 director Shane Black and screenwriter Drew Pearce made it sound like Disney isn't particularly interested in going down the alcoholic Tony path right now:

Drew: In our first draft Tony was a bit more rock'n'roll.

Shane: I think we were just told by the studio that we should probably paint Tony Stark as being kind of an industrialist and a crazy guy, or even a bad guy at some points, but the Demon in a Bottle stuff of him being an alcoholic wouldn't really fly. I don't blame that.

Drew: It's also kind of a 'pick your battles' thing; alcoholism is a massive problem but it's also not the best villain for a movie.

Shane: If you're gonna do alcoholism and the Mandarin, then you would really have to make the whole movie about it-

Drew: Otherwise you'll be giving it the short drift.

Shane: But I wouldn't be surprised if at some point someone wanted to make a movie and they'd run out of directions for the character, then they've still got Demon in a Bottle.

Let's just say enormous fucking [sic] to a whole lot of stuff in there. 

I agree with the studio, to be honest. Demon In A Bottle is so iconic as to be kind of... boring? I mean, it's the one thing everybody knows about Iron Man, and because of that it feels very, very obvious. Beyond that, Demon In A Bottle is a story that requires very much its own movie. Iron Man 3 is not that movie. What's more, it's a story that came twenty-some-odd years into the character's history, allowing its impact to be felt. I think Demon In A Bottle is certainly an Iron Man 5 sort of storyline. 

As far as making Tony less 'rock n' roll?' I think it works in the film. It would have been easy to make him a drunken mess on top of suffering from serious anxiety and PTSD, but then the story becomes about the alcoholism, not about how Tony Stark deals with an overwhelming event. They're two different things.

It's important to note that Black never says Disney won't do Demon In A Bottle (I've seen it reported that way elsewhere), simply that it seems as though they're keeping that story in their pocket.