Chinese Actors Cut From 'Iron Man 3' to Be Featured in Short Film

Iron Man 3 Downey without Suit - H 2013
Marvel Entertainment

Iron Man 3 Downey without Suit - H 2013

UPDATED: The movie's Beijing-based co-producers are creating a piece that will feature more scenes from local cast whose roles were diminished.

HONG KONG – For those who feel thwarted by the very brief presence of Wang Xueqi’s Dr. Wu character in Iron Man 3, happy news: The Chinese actor’s edited-out performances will soon see the light of day in the form of a short film.

The piece, which is as yet simply called The Prologue, is comprised of sequences shot during the production of Iron Man 3 and was set before the narrative of the first film, a spokesman for DMG Entertainment, the blockbuster’s Beijing-based co-producers, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

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The short film will elaborate on Wang’s character, Dr. Wu, who only appeared for 10 seconds in the international version and three minutes in the China-only cut of the film. In the latter, the doctor was seen meeting a young Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in the 1990s; engaging in a telephone conversation with Stark’s robotic aide, Jarvis; and conducting acupuncture-aided surgery on Stark to heal the superhero’s injuries at the end of the film.

Speaking to THR in Beijing in April, Wang said he agreed to board Iron Man 3 because he was told his character would have weight in the film and would be “the one who saves Tony Stark’s life.” Since the film’s mainland Chinese release on May 1, however, Chinese bloggers have complained that he and his Chinese co-star Fan Bingbing -- who plays his assistant in the operation theater -- cut merely a token presence with roles and dialogue that are superfluous to the narrative.

The DMG spokesman said there are as yet no confirmed plans about how the short film will be released and that online rumors about the prologue appearing on television or a future Blu-Ray DVD release remain “speculations.”

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Meanwhile, the spokesman also refuted a report published in the Shenzhen Evening News on Tuesday, in which DMG CEO Wu Bing was quoted as saying her company and Marvel Studios are engaged in conflict “in nearly every aspect” of the production of Iron Man 3 -- such as when Marvel executives deemed a Beijing shoot unnecessary.

The scene emerging from that location shoot, which saw Iron Man launching into the sky in front of Dr. Wu and a group of cheering schoolchildren in front of Yongdingmen Gate, eventually featured only in the Chinese cut of the film – and even then, only as a sequence shown on a television set playing in the background of Dr. Wu’s office.

In that report, Wu also said she was aiming for Iron Man 3 to take 1.2 billion yuan ($195.6 million) in China “to match Avatar,” which remains the highest-grossing release in the country with takings of 1.38 billion yuan ($224.7 million). The Marvel-DMG production has, up to and including May 8, taken in 482 million yuan ($78.6 million).