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Iron Man 3: Did Pepper Potts Steal the Show?

September 9th, 2013 by Marc Comments

The “Iron Man” comics inspired a new hero on the movie screen. Since the first movie came out, the subsequent releases of “Iron Man 2” and “Iron Man 3” have shown that the characters and plot are swiftly becoming a fan favorite. According to, “Iron Man 3” grossed $175.3 million on the opening weekend, which set a new record and showed that the movies are continuing to gain in popularity. The movie is set to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in September. Although the movies are popular, it is the evolution of Pepper Potts, portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, that shows real depth and insight into the story.

Initial Character

The role of Pepper Potts has changed over the course of the movies. In the first film, Pepper Potts started out as an assistant. She primarily takes care of Tony Stark’s needs, wants and whims. Though it’s clear she’s clever, her most valuable trait is her patience for Tony’s unending antics and her willingness to be handed things intended for Tony.

Although her initial role was relatively small, the “Iron Man” series has developed and evolved to reveal a character with depth and intelligence. She has moved forward to a position that allows her equality.

Image by Steven Swafford via Picasa Web Albums

Evolving From a Complicated Situation

Fans of the comic books know that Pepper’s character is complex and layered. Throughout the comic-verse, she has taken on many roles, too many to address all at once in the first film. As her character evolves in the movie-verse, according to, Pepper Potts has taken on more of the complex character traits and roles from the comic-verse.

In the comic books, Potts was the employee and love interest as well as a super hero in her own right. In the first film, she is little more than an employee and flirtation. By the third “Iron Man” film, she is a genuine love interest and has stuck by Tony Stark throughout every challenge he has faced. She’s poised to share the spotlight in future films.

Image by Flickr user bethanyer

Approaching Equality

In early films, Pepper could be relied upon for loyalty, service and gumption. Unfortunately, she was also a liability of sorts. Evil villains love nothing more than holding a loved one hostage and Pepper had no extraordinary means of saving or vindicating herself. Tony and his suits were the superheroes and the saviors. She was the damsel in distress.

Until Extremis, that is. In the midst of being held hostage, Potts was injected with Extremis, an experimental treatment that could have been deadly to her and those around her. It allowed her to thwart the villain and save the day, and with Tony’s genius corrections, it could create a superhero in her own right.

Image by Jorge Figueroa via Flickr

Watching the Change

The shift from the role of a personal assistant to an equal partner is shown throughout all of the “Iron Man” movies. If you have not yet watched the first two movies, then you can catch up via a combination of Direct TV, Redbox and Netflix to see the change in Pepper Potts. “Iron Man 3” is due out on DVD and Blu-Ray Sept. 24 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

By showing that she has a backbone from the beginning of the series and then progressing to the change that is allowing her to act as an equal, the movies are giving Pepper Potts an important role. Her intelligence and her abilities are only starting to surface, but it is likely that her character will continue to show improvement.

“Iron Man 3” has added depth and complexity to the story of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. The third movie is showing that strength can come from surprising places and even the most unexpected characters can evolve. We can only begin to guess at what a fourth installment might have in store.

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….