He recently spoke with about.com about the character:
“The love triangle in this movie is really between Tony, Pepper and the suits. Tony, Pepper and his obsession with those suits, and the obsession with technology. And, it’s sort of unique for a big superhero summer blockbuster franchise to have that kind of layers.
“Yes, there’s a bad guy. Yes, the stakes are very, very high–the President of the United States is in danger. Air Force One is attacked. There are big stakes to this movie. But the real stakes are, is Tony going to be able to set aside the obsession to spend all day, every day in that workshop, tinkering with the suits in order to focus on, as he says in the trailer, the one thing that matters most – Pepper. And that actually is what the entire movie’s about.”
Will Pepper suit up in this film?
“I will tell you this. In this movie [Iron Man 3] we play with the convention of the damsel in distress. We are bored by the damsel in distress. But, sometimes we need our hero to be desperate enough in fighting for something other than just his own life. So, there is fun to be had with “Is Pepper in danger or is Pepper the savior?” over the course of this movie.
“In terms of where we go with future movies, we’ll see. In the comic books she does get a taste for the suit and becomes her own hero named Rescue, who doesn’t necessarily battle other people, but is on missions to help people and to save people. Will we do that down the line with Gwyneth Paltrow? Who knows. But her being in the suit is something we have been playing with since Iron Man 2, where we did some designs and it didn’t end up fitting in that movie. But the little taste you saw here [in an Iron Man 3 clip] is something that we’re certainly interested in.”