IRON MAN 3: The Evolution of Pepper Potts

The popularity of the “Iron Man” franchise continues to soar worldwide. Marvel has some great releases in the upcoming future, but Iron Man will go down as one of the viewers’ favorite superhero films.

In less than a month since its release, “Iron Man 3” has raked in more box office revenue than the two films preceding it. Box Office Mojo notes that “Iron Man 3” pulled in $204.8 million in only five days after being released in North America on May 3rd. It has enjoyed equal success in international theaters. “Iron Man 3” has already grossed $768.2 million worldwide, making it the second most-profitable film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s insane.

What is the secret to the success of the “Iron Man” franchise? Well, a very sexy and strong character like Pepper Potts, for one. Talk about a game-changer in this sequel.

It is a rare thing in comic book movies to see a female character turn into an equal with her superhero counterpart. Many simply occupy space as the love interest or damsel-in-distress. Potts does not follow this formula. This is a character that has stood out on her own path.

Evolving into a Leader

Potts has come a long way from the first “Iron Man” movie. By the time “Iron Man 3” opened, Potts is no longer the plucky assistant to Tony Stark. She has assumed the role of CEO at Stark Industries.

Her rise to power began in “Iron Man 2” when Potts took over temporarily as the company CEO while Stark battled palladium poisoning. This time around, her CEO role became permanent. With Iron Man 3’s release, the first two films have been increasingly streamed through providers like or on-demand providers like and refreshing our memories on her character’s role evolving from the humble assistant into a leading lady with powers that match Tony himself. There’s just something extremely attractive about watching a woman bloom into power.

Changes in Iron Man 3

Potts exhibits a personality that makes her Stark’s equal in “Iron Man 3.” She showcases confidence and intelligence as CEO. Her position of authority makes her a natural target of the Mandarin, an international terrorist. This leads to Potts donning one of Stark’s Iron Man suits to save her life as well as Tony’s in an attack by the Mandarin.

Potts fills the role of rescuer again later in the movie when she is infected with the Extremis virus. It generates new super strength in her, allowing her to take out Aldrich Killian with a super-powered punch.

Relationship With Tony Stark

Stark and Potts are not just equals in the boardroom. They are also partners in the bedroom. What started with a kiss in “Iron Man 2” is a full-blown romantic relationship as “Iron Man 3” opens. Gwyneth Paltrow notes in several interviews that Potts has gone from cleaning up messes made by Stark to being in an equal relationship with him. Seeing Tony Stark, known for being a former playboy, have a weakness at the thought of losing Pepper truly captures how evolved their relationship has become this time around.

That does not mean the relationship isn’t without complications. Stark’s obsession over building countless suits of armor does not sit well with Potts. Screen Rant described the movie as featuring a love triangle between Stark, Potts and the suits of armor. Ultimately, Stark is forced to choose between Potts and his suits of armor. The end result is a bunch of destroyed suits.

The Future for Potts

“Iron Man 3” opens the door for Potts to take on the role of the hero, or in this case the heroine. This is the alter-ego identity that she assumed after teaming up with Iron Man in the original comic books. It offers a different twist from the love interest who mostly stays on the sidelines cheering on her man while the handsome hero fights to save her and the rest of the world.

But alas, every great thing must come to an end. The effects of the Extremis virus was portrayed as being easily reversible, and Potts had no interest in keeping her new powers. This was a huge bummer after seeing her new kick-ass role and hoping this could be an opener for future “Iron Man” films to have a chance to take Potts’ evolution one step further, but instead she ends up deciding the taste of normal life is more suitable for her pallet.