In 1987 Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon and became the big go-to screenwriter for blockbusters. By 2005, Shane Black wrote and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and had been gone so long from the mainstream that he became an underdog and borderline indie filmmaker. When he was hired to direct Iron Man 3, there was an assumption he would also be writing the screenplay, but currently that role has gone to Drew Pearce, according to Deadline Hollywood. Though Black’s direction in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was assured, he’s still not seen as a great filmmaker first, and many assumed he was hired more for his writing abilities – he even said he’d be writing it. What does this mean?

Likely what it means is that Black – while having a good working relationship with star Robert Downey Jr. – needs someone who knows Iron Man canon and someone who can help tailor the film to the Marvel universe. Pearce is best known for his work on an unmade script for the comic property Runaways, which may yet go forward and last had Peter Sollett attached. Since he’s worked with Marvel, he knows their working process and this is their franchise – they want to make sure the film fits into that world first and foremost.

Also noted is that Black will be “closely involved.” How closely (that is to ask: enough to get co-writing credit) is unknown, but Black is a writer with a distinctive voice, so it shouldn’t be hard to tell. This news is one of those things that can make fans nervous, but isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as Shane Black is still locked in for his deal.

Are you worried about Iron Man 3?