Shane Black On Iron Man 3's Maya Hansen

'She's the female Tony Stark'

Iron Man 3, Rebecca Hall

Judging by the subdued tone of its teaser trailer, Iron Man 3 will be taking the wind out of Tony Stark's billion-dollar sails in a big way, leaving the head of Stark Industries homeless and menacing by Ben Kingsley's Mandarin. Into this messy post-Avengers world comes Rebecca Hall's biotech scientist, Maya Hansen, Starks' match for sass and smarts.

"We needed a snappy and exciting actor to play the part", director Shane Black told Empire of Hall's femme biological, "and not make it this 'female scientist who takes off her glasses and suddenly she's beautiful'. There's a certain element about her being the female Robert Downey in a way. She's very bratty and irreverent and quick on her feet with the one-liners, Rebecca."

While Hall herself was keeping schtum about Hansen's role in the Extremis-based storyline - "she's a scientist [and] that's all I'm allowed to say!" - Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige provided some elaboration. "She makes a pretty astounding discovery that leads her to place - and some are healthier than others," he explained. "It's not dissimilar to what Tony's been through, and it's a great parallel."

Empire magazine Iron Man 3 feature
Empire magazine's Rebecca Hall feature in the March 2013 issue

For Empire's exclusive Iron Man 3 coverage pick up a copy of the March issue, onsale from January 31. The latest instalment of the Stark Saga, meanwhile, will be in cinemas on April 26.