One of the biggest storylines in Iron Man comic book history is his “Demon in a Bottle” story where Iron Man’s enemy is Tony Stark’s battle with alcoholism. In recent interviews, Iron Man 3 director Shane Black said that fans shouldn’t expect to see that story in a movie anytime soon.
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.
While it is disappointing, I see why it wouldn’t work, especially in the Marvel Studios PG-13 universe. Even in the comics, when I was a kid, the drugs and alcohol storylines seemed to be a bit much at times. The biggest cases were the Iron Man story and the Green Arrow story where his sidekick became a heroin addict.
However, comic books can not only entertain but also help teach kids lessons. They can approach the alcoholism of Stark and then each month show him progressing before moving on. In the movies, you get one film with Iron Man once every two or three years. The mainstream movie audience isn’t going to want to go into a movie and have the main story be a drunk Tony Stark trying to figure things out.
Of course, the most interesting thing about “Demon in a Bottle” is that the story was a one-issue story and that was it for that specific tale. When I talked to Bob Layton about the issue, he said that it was just another villain that he found for Tony to face and then moved on to the next villain after that issue. He told me that he never thought it would stick with fans like it did.
It did end up playing more strongly into Tony’s life later on when he relapsed into the bottle and James Rhodes took his place as the man in the armor. Ironically, that was not what Layton would have done as he said the only person who should be wearing the armor is Tony Stark.
Of course, Black said never to rule out “Demon in a Bottle” in the future of the franchise.
“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.'”
Source: Slash Filmby