With Iron Man 3 hitting theaters on May 3rd, it was only a matter of time before massive spoilers started leaking out into the public. The first source of those spoilers? Toys, which get shown off months before major motion pictures hit theaters. The second, and even more spoilery? The novelizations of the movie, which invariably hit book stores in advance of the theatrical release.
As reported by MTV Splashpage, some of the photos from the Junior Novelization of the book have leaked online, hinting at what might happen to Tony Stark and friends in their third (well, fourth if you count Avengers) filmic adventure. You know what hints more, though? The text of the book… And we managed to lay our hands on copy*.
Now, before we get into the spoilery talk, please note that novelizations often veer away from the film in major ways. The author is often working off an early version of the script, rather than the final, shooting script – and definitely not the final cut of the movie itself. So, expect some surprises in the theater beyond what you can find between the covers of a 136-page, double-spaced novel written for teens.
That out of the way, here’s thirteen major spoilers from Iron Man 3, as seen in the Junior Novelization of the movie:
1. We Start In The Middle
You know those scenes of Tony dragging the Iron Man armor through the snow in the trailer? That’s where we start. He falls out of the sky in Rose Hill, Tennessee on Christmas Eve, battle damaged and beaten. Then we flash back to where it all started. The fancy folks like to call that “In Media Res.” Related: Shane Black sure loves to set stuff on Christmas.
2. Meet Young Tony
Shades of Teen Tony from the comics? Nope, but early on, we may get a flashback to young Tony Stark, and a particularly “repulsive” scene involving his mother…
3. A.I.M. Ain’t No Beekeepers
When we first meet Aldrich Killian, he’s wearing a T-shirt that says ‘A.I.M.’ on it, and handing out business cards for his think tank: Advance Idea Mechanics. That’s a far cry from the insane science villains of the comic book universe.
4. Maya Hansen’s Handsome Enhanciles
At the same New Year’s Eve 1999 party where Tony means Aldrich, he also meets – and romances – brilliant scientist Maya Hansen. She’s creating a way of enhancing genetic structures, allowing people to regrow limbs, and more… A technique that Killian will later call Extremis. Unfortunately, her first experiment spells doom for a houseplant.
5. War Machine Become Iron Patriot
We kind of knew that already based on the trailer. But after international terrorist The Mandarin attacks an Air Force base, President Ellis makes James Rhodes into Iron Patriot, a symbol of America’s strong stance against terrorism.
6. Happy vs. Savin
We’ve heard rumors that Happy Hogan would get hurt in the movie. True! Savin is Happy’s Extremis enhanced opposite, a driver for Killian who beats up Happy while a second Extremis enhanced thug explodes next to him, landing him in the hospital. Sorry, Happy, that's what you get for passing on directing the third movie.
7. Pepper To The Rescue
This detail was confirmed after a few screenings, but in the flick Tony has a new, mind-controlled armor. After pissing off The Mandarin enough to get him to blow up Tony’s mansion, Tony has the armor envelope Pepper… Who flies away with Tony’s shockingly, suddenly returning ex-girlfriend, Maya Hansen.
8. Tony Gets a Boy Friend
After crash-landing in Rose Hill, Tony befriends a bullied, genius young boy named Harley who helps him get back on his feet. Harley also helps Tony find out more about what’s going on with the Extremis enhancile, which had some nasty side effects on a few people who lived in Rose Hill.
9. Agent Brandt, I Presume?
Nope, not SWORD’s green-haired vixen Agent Brand (for fans of the comics), but Brandt. A scarred, evil agent of AIM shows up here with Extremis powers, and tries to take Tony down in Rose Hill. What’s particularly interesting here is that in the books, Brandt has ties to both Dr. Strange and Man-Thing. It’s a loose connection, but perhaps some set-up for the Doc Strange movie is going on here? No clues in the book, at least.
10. Why Don’t The Avengers Get Involved?
Because the government says they can’t. As Rhodey tells Tony early in the book, taking care of The Mandarin is a job the government needs to do, to save face and show they’re strong against terrorism. Superheroes taking care of the problem will make them look weak… Up until Tony makes it personal, of course.
11. Tony Isn't Going Into Space
Unless there’s a detail that got left out, the much-discussed Sub-Orbital suit that seemed to indicate Tony was heading towards the Guardians of the Galaxy only makes a brief appearance – as part of the fleet of suits seen in the trailer.
12. Iron Man 3 Is All About Tony
Stark spends more time out of the suit than in it during the novel – interesting, given the central conflict: he’s having panic attacks when not inside the Iron Man armor. After the events of Avengers, he doesn’t feel like he can cut it as a normal human being… Does he come to terms with this by the end of the book? Have you ever seen movies before? Suffice to say, there’s a pretty key phrase that ends the book, that parallels one from the first Iron Man, that sums it all up nicely.
13. Avengers 2, Anyone?
There’s no real post-credits scene here – heck, Ant-Man or the Guardians may still show up in the film. But the way two of the characters get left at the very end of the book seems to pave a clear path to some aspects of Avengers 2. And heck, no, we’re not going to spoil everything.
So there you go! Suffice to say, despite being a rather well written novelization, it’s not a substitute for seeing IM3 on the big screen… And as we said before, things may change. Like, hopefully, the Lion King joke at the end of the book. We’re hoping.
*By going to Barnes & Noble and buying one. That’s some crack spy work worthy of Nicky Fury himself.