"The love triangle in this movie is really between Tony, Pepper and the suits. Tony, Pepper and his obsession with those suits, and the obsession with technology. And, it's sort of unique for a big superhero summer blockbuster franchise to have that kind of layers. Yes, there's a bad guy. Yes, the stakes are very, very high--the President of the United States is in danger. Air Force One is attacked. There are big stakes to this movie. But the real stakes are, is Tony going to be able to set aside the obsession to spend all day, every day in that workshop, tinkering with the suits in order to focus on, as he says in the trailer, the one thing that matters most - Pepper. And that actually is what the entire movie's about."
The producer and Marvel executive also dropped a subtle hint that Pepper actually gets inside one of the Iron Man suits in the sequel, while playing with the conventions of the "damsel in distress."
"I will tell you this. In this movie [Iron Man 3] we play with the convention of the damsel in distress. We are bored by the damsel in distress. But, sometimes we need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with 'Is Pepper in danger or is Pepper the savior?' over the course of this movie. In terms of where we go with future movies, we'll see. In the comic books she does get a taste for the suit and becomes her own hero named Rescue, who doesn't necessarily battle other people, but is on missions to help people and to save people. Will we do that down the line with Gwyneth Paltrow? Who knows. But her being in the suit is something we have been playing with since Iron Man 2, where we did some designs and it didn't end up fitting in that movie. But the little taste you saw here [in an Iron Man 3 clip] is something that we're certainly interested in."
The producer also spoke about a brand new character named Harley, a 10-year-old boy played by Ty Simpkins, who forms a unique bond with Tony Stark.
"He's comfortable in the Penthouses of Manhattan, in mansions in Malibu. Here he is in the middle of Tennessee with his hat pulled low, and he's trying to do this investigation. And there's this very sweet and funny relationship that he begins with this little boy. He is quite the smart-aleck with the little boy, oh yes. The boy is shocked at first, and then slowly begins to sort of give as good as he gets from Tony. We auditioned lots and lots of kids, and Ty came in and was just a real kid. He could barely keep a straight face looking at Robert. He bonded with Robert completely, and we decided, you know what, this is the kid to cast. I called Robert. I said, 'I think he's the best kid. I'm going to cast him.' He said, 'Let me call him"...And when he came out of school, his cell phone rang and it was Robert Downey Jr. calling saying, you're going to be in Iron Man 3. And so it continued like that for the rest of the production. It was really great and they formed a nice bond. And it is a fun bond. Tony does not treat him like a kid...he doesn't, you know, pat him on the head and treat him like a little boy necessarily. Which, I think little boys like when adults don't treat them like that. So, we've screened it for a few audiences just in a normal test screening, and this relationship is ranked as one of the most surprising, and unique, and new things about the movie."
Iron Man 3 was released May 3rd, 2013 and stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale. The film is directed by Shane Black.