What Could Have Been / Comic Books

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Imagine — no Red Hood.

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     DC Comics 
  • Neil Gaiman once scripted an issue for The Sandman taking place in the dreams of an unborn fetus as it's being aborted by a doctor, but he declined to publish it because he knew that the subject of abortion would generate too much controversy. And he considered it too dark, even by Sandman standards.
    • The "last" volume of The Sandman was going to be about an issue longer, with the speeches of Alianore, Odin, and Death in full. And Superman, but that was Executive Meddling.
    • Sandman was initially conceived as part of the Wildcards universe, and Gaiman only brought the concept to DC after it was rejected by George RR Martin.
  • DC's 1991 Crisis Crossover, Armageddon 2001, promised to reveal that a currently-active DC hero would eventually become the villainous Monarch, who would eventually kill all of his or her colleagues and rule the entire planet with a Doctor Doom-like iron fist, all by the summer of 2001. When the story was finished, the editorial decision was that Monarch would be revealed as Captain Atom, but then the ending was leaked to the public. A hastily-cobbled-together ending recast Monarch as Hawk, the one character it couldn't have been. One anticlimax later, two regular books were canceled and the entire thing was rendered moot by Comic-Book Time (in 2001, it was no more than two years later in the DCU). A later story turned Captain Atom into the Monarch anyway.
  • For The Trial of the Flash, Cary Bates had several plans that would have continued if not for the Crisis, including Flash being found guilty and going "on the run." This would’ve kicked off a new story arc which would have had Flash continuing to do his good deeds as a wanted man with an arrest warrant hanging over his head. What he liked most about this idea was "the delicious irony of a Flash who ends up joining his own Rogues Gallery."
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths was set to have a different, almost anti-climatic ending. The original ending would have been issue 10, when the Anti-Monitor's fight with the Specter leads to the multiverse's destruction and the complete rebirth of the DC Universe. Marv Wolfman's plan was originally to have everyone in the DCU modified, even taking new genders and new nationalities in the process. However, CoIE proved to be very popular and Marv was forced to extend it two issues more and show that all of the characters were still there. There was another alternative ending in which Superman of Earth 1 would die during the fight with the fight with the Anti-Monitor and Earth 2 Superman's aged look was only a make up disguise since his ageing stopped at the peak of his powers. This idea got scrapped when John Byrne's idea for The Man of Steel mini series got planned.
  • Ferro Lad was intended to be black in Legion of Super-Heroes, but DC editors shot down the idea as they feared losing readers in the South. Due to the meddling, Jim Shooter opted to kill off the character. Shadow Lass was also originally intended to be a black woman, but had her skin changed to blue.
  • China Mieville's aborted Swamp Thing run which got canceled before ever seeing print in order to bring a lot of the DC characters that made the move to Vertigo back into the fold at DC.
  • Amazons Attack!, cancelled mini-series leading into Infinite Crisis, originally about Themyscira being invaded by the US military.
  • The Red Circle: The original plan was that JMS was going to debut them in the pages of The Brave and the Bold in their original forms and team them with DC's big names. But apparently DC felt that the spots on The Brave and the Bold would be better served with the Milestone Comics heroes instead, so DC and JMS did four one-shots reviving some of them (mostly radically altered) before launching The Shield and The Web into their own titles (with the other two heroes introduced in the one-shots in back-up stories: Inferno and Hangman, respectively). The books lasted 10 issues each, but not before DC publishing a Mighty Crusaders Special at the same month as the ninth issues of the two books. The only major appearance of any of the Red Circle guys in another DC book was when the Shield showed up in two issues of Magog. They then published a Mighty Crusaders six-issue mini-series in order to try to wrap up all loose ends that the earlier Red Circle book had left behind. The Red Circle heroes have since returned to Archie Comics.
    • Also, according to Mark Heike, he planned a proposed 25-page special featuring almost every single REAL costumed hero Archie created (No Pureheart or Captain Sprocket) battling the best of MLJ's Golden Age villains, with each chapter drawn by an AC Comics artist. It was slated to revive interest in these heroes, but Archie Comics did not consider it workable. The material was re-purposed as AC's 2003 one-shot Sentinels Of America.
  • Dave Stevens sketched and scripted a three issue The Rocketeer / Superman mini that never saw the light of day. It would have been set in The Thirties on the day of Orson Welles' infamous The War of the Worlds broadcast.
  • Nightwing almost got killed off in Infinite Crisis. It's interesting how close this came to happening. Dan DiDio handed the death down as an editorial mandate, but Geoff Johns flat-out refused to kill Dick Grayson off (seeing as he is one of the longest-existing comic book characters in American comics). Superboy was eventually killed off instead (and he got resurrected later on).
  • Final Crisis was originally supposed to bring back the classic Aquaman, who would've replaced the poorly-received A.J. Curry version of Aquaman that was floating around at the time. In Morrison's own words, he and J.G. Jones had wanted to bring back an Aquaman "we could all understand", but they didn't provide an explanation for how he'd returned or regained his iconic appearance, with the assumption being that another writer would fill in the details later. DC ended up scrapping the plan in favor of the then-upcoming Blackest Night crossover, leading to Aquaman's cameo appearance in Final Crisis becoming an Aborted Arc.
    • Hawkman and Hawkgirl were originally supposed to die, which is why they catch fire near the end of the story and then simply vanish from the plot. Dwayne Mc Duffie had even scripted a scene in Justice League of America showing Red Arrow visiting Hawkgirl's grave, which had to be hastily rewritten when editorial changed its mind.
  • In 2003 Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo put in a proposal for a revamp of Aquaman. Rather than going the Darker and Edgier route like Peter David, they'd wanted to do a Lighter and Softer take playing on the wonderment and majesty of the ocean. It would have featured a Russian marine biologist named Yelena as an Audience Surrogate, with the goal being to remind people why the idea of having epic adventures underwater seemed so cool before Superfriends ruined it.
  • Paul Dini wrote a Zatanna Prestige Format one-shot for Vertigo, which sold out in a short time. Vertigo had plans for a miniseries and eventually a series. Then, Grant Morrison got the bid for Seven Soldiers and snatched Zatanna away… Dini's ongoing Zatanna series did eventually happen in 2010, though it was cancelled after 16 issues.
  • Christopher Priest initially intended for the Justice League member Triumph to be a closeted gay man, but could never come up with an appropriate story to handle the subject matter. This led to other writers mistakenly giving Triumph female love interests, and later, an illegitimate son.
  • Priest's The Ray series was originally going to be about an entirely original character named the Avenger. His editor liked the pitch, but asked for a name change due to the obvious legal issues "Avenger" presented. Priest ended up revamping the character into a new version of the Ray, a character he remembered from the Freedom Fighters.
  • One of the original proposals for Zero Hour would've seen the creation of a new multiverse world that was essentially the Pre-Crisis DCU. This presumably would've provided an alternative for fans who preferred the classic versions of DC heroes, as opposed to the host of gritty revamps and Younger and Hipper Legacy Characters that were popular at the time.
  • Alex Ross came up with a mini-series idea called Batboy, who would have focused on the son of Bruce Wayne and his ally, Superman, Jr. Most of the original heroes would have been retired save Green Lantern Hal Jordan with the Teen Titans becoming the Justice League. As the story progressed, Batboy would realize his world was too perfect before learning the truth - this was Hal Jordan's perfect Earth from Zero Hour!
  • Shazam
    • After the 70's revival series was cancelled, Roy Thomas pitched a Continuity Reboot of the Captain Marvel franchise that would've given the character a Race Lift and recast Billy Batson as a black kid.
    • Before the Trials of Shazam series, Alex Ross pitched a new Shazam series which would've seen the Marvel Family traveling the world and trying to reclaim Captain Marvel's powers after they were scattered across the planet. The series would've officially brought Black Vulcan from the Super Friends cartoon into DC canon by making him the first non-white member of the Marvel Family.
  • The JLA / JSA: Virtue and Vice graphic novel was clearly intended to be a three or four-issue miniseries. The story breaks into almost perfect twenty-two page segments. Why it was released as one book was unclear, but DC possibly wanted to test out releasing more stories directly as graphic novels.
  • In 1962, DC Comics published a Dr. No comic, which failed to garner attention. Only 10 years later, as the rights were about to expire, DC noticed they had the rights for more James Bond comics. Jack Kirby and Alex Toth were even contacted, but the higher-ups ultimately discarded as Sean Connery left the series and they did not know if 007 would still be popular.
  • Gail Simone pitched an idea for a New 52 team book that would've starred Stephanie Brown, Bumblebee, Black Alice, and Misfit. The book would've effectively brought Brown out of Comic Book Limbo after her Batgirl series was cancelled.
  • There was a Doom Patrol remake pitched by Scott Lobdell and Illias Kyriazis that had a massive misfit team of players. They would have been led by Beast Boy (going back to his Changeling code name) and Robotman (who would have been shrunk to toy size and forced to be worn around Changeling's neck.) and comprised of Zatara, Madame-.44, Platinum of the Metal Men, Sprout (who is most likely Swamp Thing's kid) and Bizzaro (though which one isn't revealed). Taking a cue from the modern Booster Gold series, they would have been a super team that went around stopping Earth-destroying threats yet never get any sort of recognition because no one would know about it.
  • In the 90's, there were plans for a mini-series called Love and War by Jeph Loeb and Paul Smith. The series would have been a Batman: Year One style take on the early days of DC's Trinity (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman), but the whole thing fell apart due to a rather silly dispute; Smith had wanted Wonder Woman to wear a pair of star-spangled shorts (similar to her Golden Age design), while the editors were adamant that she wear the more Stripperific costume she had at the time (which Smith described as a "G-string").
  • In an example of how Executive Meddling and changes from an initial pitch can be a good thing, had Tony Isabella not pitched Black Lightning, DC's first plan for their first black male superhero was to be the Black Bomber- a white supremacist ex- soldier who underwent an experiment that would turn him into a super-powered black man whenever the powers would activate. The two scripts that were completed were stated to be very embarrassing in plotline, with the basic formula being that the main character would transform to save someone in need, but after de-transforming, he'd react in disgust and racial slurs at the fact that he'd saved a black person. The main character would also have two girlfriends (a white woman and a black woman for each identity) who would be aware of his secret and transformations. After Tony Isabella read the scripts, he convinced editorial to reconsider, and was given the opportunity to pitch his superhero instead. However, in Dwayne Mc Duffie's run of Justice League, an alternate universe version of the League had a member named "Brown Bomber", as a Mythology Gag to the above failed concept. He was depicted as a bald white man in a hoodie, and would transform into a super-powered black man but could only use his powers for an hour. But this appearance also underwent some revision by editorial: Originally, there was to be a punchline where Brown Bomber asked Vixen if he now could "use the N-word", to which Vixen would reply "No, you absolutely can't". The Brown Bomber's question was edited out when the issue made it to print, but Vixen's response wasn't, leading to what looked like an awkward beat panel beforehand and Vixen responding to nothing. Here is the edited version. It could vaguely be concluded that she is saying that he can't call his power "C.P.T.", although that barely makes more sense than her responding to nothing.
  • The female Dr. Light in Crisis on Infinite Earths was to originally be a black woman, but George Perez and Marv Wolfman reconsidered the idea while designing her, as they felt she'd be too similar to the then-current female Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau). In the end, they decided that she'd be Japanese.
  • In the late 1980's, Kurt Busiek and Kevin Maguire were scheduled to launch a series called Wildcard, which would have starred a new teenage superhero. The project was downgraded to a one-shot after Maguire was pinched for penciling duties on the historic Justice League International, and Busiek eventually decided to just scrap the whole thing altogether.
  • Speaking of which, the original plan for the Justice League relaunch that eventually became Justice League International was far different. After the failure of the Detroit-era Justice League, J.M. DeMatteis had wanted to bring back the iconic "Big 7" JLA roster roster from the Silver Age, similar to what Grant Morrison ended up doing years later. However, he only ended up getting Batman and Martian Manhunter since the other "Big 7" heroes were all off-limits at the time. The unorthodox cast he eventually ended up with (Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, ect.) was basically a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, rather than a conscious decision to focus on lesser known heroes. Also, the book was originally going to have a more serious tone, but co-writer Keith Giffen suggested that a comedic take on the League would help distinguish the book from the more serious titles of the 80's, like New Teen Titans and X-Men.
  • Crimson Fox was originally called Red Fox, but the threat of legal action from the publishers of an indie comic called Redfox led to her being renamed.
  • Jack Kirby's original ending for the New Gods was completely different, but was changed after he saw Return of the Jedi. The rumor is that the ending was going to feature Darkseid redeeming himself and performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save Orion, which Kirby felt would've been too similar to Darth Vader sacrificing his life to save Luke.
  • When Jim Lee's WildStorm imprint was bought by DC Comics, he approached his former coworkers at Image about an idea concerning both the Image and DC heroes by moving some of the Image heroes like Spawn to the DC Universe, a la Heroes Reborn. There was a lot of enthusiasm, but all that materialized in the end was a brief crossover where Majestic and Captain Atom got interchanged and spent some time in each other's universe.
  • The original villain for the Infinite Crisis leadup was originally meant to be Mr. Jupiter, a man who tried to help out the original Teen Titans near the end of their initial run. It was dropped and replaced with Max Lord.
    • Dan Didio revealed a "hit list" of things he wanted to get rid of in Infinite Crisis. Among them were "Superman's marriage" (which meant he'd been gunning for it since 2004) and "non-used Young Justice characters" (which meant he'd probably tried to get rid of those like Empress, Secret and Arrowette). As well, there was a note talking about Conner Hawke, the second Green Arrow, being put into retirement after killing a villain, which never happened.
  • The comic book Breach was initially pitched as a revamp of Captain Atom, before being changed to an original character. When the book was cancelled, DC even acknowledged this by revealing that Breach was actually an Alternate Universe equivalent of Captain Atom, before killing him off in Infinite Crisis and bringing back the real deal. In fact, as a bit of referencing The Artifact moment, there's a goof in the first issue where someone refers to Breach by Captain Atom's real name. Somehow, the editors missed this.
  • The series Scarab was initially pitched as a Darker and Edgier reboot of the Doctor Fate character for the Vertigo line. The writer was forced to create an original character when the editors liked the pitch, but felt his take was too extreme to work for an established hero.
  • James Robinson originally wanted the new Red Arrow from Earth 2 to be a new character (or possibly an Expy of Roy Harper) named Roy McQueen. He left the book before he could really explore the character or his identity, and the subsequent writer ended up making Red Arrow the Earth-2 version of Connor Hawke.
  • The original teaser for the Geoff Johns / Jim Lee Justice League relaunch had a slightly different roster, with the Ryan Choi version of The Atom and the Golden Age heroine Lady Luck tapped to appear as part of the team. For unknown reasons, Lady Luck was ReTooled into a new character named Goldrush (who only made a guest appearance), while the Atom who ended up joining the League was a new character named Rhonda Pineda ( who turned out to be The Mole for the Crime Syndicate). Element Woman and Hawkman were also hinted at being part of the League.
  • The Multiversity:
    • Donna Troy was solicited to appear in The Just #1, and there were character sketches done by Ben Oliver released in earlier interviews. When the actual issue came out, Donna was nowhere to be found, and seemed to have been replaced by Artemis.
    • The cover solicited for The Multiversity #2 featured Batman (Damian Wayne of Earth-16) and Blitzen (Flash of Earth-10) along with Aquawoman and Thunderer. The cover that was released instead had Red Racer, Atomic Knight Batman, and Machinehead of Earth-8, which made more sense since Red Racer and Atomic Knight Batman were more prominent in the main story than Damian and Blitzen. (It's also just as likely Blitzen was removed due to being a Nazi version of the Flash.)
    • The hardcover collection contains sketches and mock covers done by Morrison, including an actual Doctor Manhattan cover done as an homage to Doctor Solar. There are also designs for a Major Max character who is either a counterpart to Captain Mar-Vell or Miracleman (Max's comic appears in Pax Americana).
    • Morrison's original 2009 proposal for the series, reprinted in The Multiversity Director's Cut #1, has a number of these:
      • The series was originally intended to be eight issues: the two-issue framing story and the six spotlight issues for each Earth. There's no mention of the Guidebook.
      • Society of Super-Heroes didn't have the Conquerors of the Counter-World part of its title; its internal title was "Doom from the Counter-world". Earth-20's Evil Counterpart was Earth-30 rather than Earth-40.
      • The Just was set on Earth-7.
      • Pax Americana was to begin with a student riot.
      • The events of Thunderworld - specifically the Sivanas' creation of a new day - was what drew the Big Bad Ensemble's attention.
      • Ultra Comics was originally Ultraa the Unknown. Ultra himself was intended to be a Pinocchio-style character, a fiction who wanted to become real.
  • Gerard Way almost did a Doom Patrol revamp with Becky Cloonan, but his music career got in the way.
  • Alan Moore's Twilight of the Superheroes.

    Superman 
  • Siegel and Shuster conceived of two early versions of Superman before the famous one. The first was an ordinary man who gained mind control powers in an experiment and became a supervillain until his powers faded (too bad he killed the scientist who gave them to him in the first place) though this was a One Shot. The second version was a nonpowered colorfully attired strongman who went around beating up bullies. This second version eventually became the then mildly popular Slam Bradley (who didn't wear a costume, but otherwise looked a lot like Superman). In this case, Executive Meddling worked for the better, forcing the creative team to create the third wildly popular version of the character and define an entire genre of fiction.
  • It's well known among comic book geekdom that Kryptonite originally appeared in an episode of the old Superman radio show called "The K-Metal From Krypton", before migrating to the comics. What's less well known is that it was adapted from an old Golden Age strip of the same name that never got made. At the time the script was written, Superman's established origin was that, instead of being raised by a loving foster family, he grew up in an orphanage, concepts such as Smallville, Lana Lang, the Kents and other now standard aspects of his backstory simply did not exist. As such, Clark Kent was for all practical purposes a day job Superman worked to pay the bills and a pair of glasses he would rip off at the earliest opportunity, therefore, Siegel decided early on to do away with Supermans' Secret Identity altogether, feeling it was dead weight. In what would have been a massive shake-up of the status quo, Lois and Clark would have discovered Kryptonite and that Superman was an alien, Lois would have learned his secret identity and Superman would decide to just get rid of it. Clark Kent would cease to exist and Lois and Superman would become a crime solving/fighting team and a couple, with her as his Badass Normal detective sidekick/girlfriend. If that comic had been made imagine how the Superman mythos, and by extension the very concept of a superhero and popular culture in general would have changed. We'd be down a trope, and we'd have missed out on some good stories and TV shows, and some not so good ones.
  • Mark Millar, Mark Waid, and Grant Morrison's infamous 2000 Superman pitch, which among other things would have erased the Superman marriage via Lois being mindwiped after Lois is infected with a brain disease that threatens to kill her (on top of Lois being put on a bus out of the country by the three writers, to soften fans up for the purging of the marriage and restoration of the love triangle), Lex Luthor and Brainiac returning to their Silver Age roots (with the addition that Lex being revealed to be a world-class sculptor who finances his crimes via his art, which also double as a hiding place for his weapons of mass destruction), and the resurrection of the original Fortress of Solitude. The whole thing was so reviled by DC editorial that it was outright rejected. Millar and Waid were officially blacklisted from ever writing the main Superman books after they went public with their rejection (though they were later allowed to do non-canon Superman stuff in the form of Red Son and Birthright). Grant Morrison didn't burn his bridges so badly however, and was later allowed to write All-Star Superman, which was a semi-sequel to his Crisis Crossover DC One Million...
    • It appears the post-Flashpoint DCU reboot is using some concepts from this proposal (namely Superman having no red trunks, both Johnathan and Martha Kent being dead, and Lois and Clark's marriage being nonexistent), though the actual extent remains to be seen.
  • Originally Stephanie Brown was supposed to be Nightwing in the Smallville comics but Executive Meddling stopped this from happening. The artist had also argued in favor of making Stephanie black, since he felt it would make sense and lessen some of the Unfortunate Implications behind having her "clean up" crime-ridden (and predominately minority) neighborhoods.
  • An odd case in the 1980s for Superman: According to Jim Starlin, back when the AIDS scare was the big thing, DC decided to have one of their characters be infected with the virus and die from it and set up a voting booth of sorts (Jim jokes that he stuffed it full of Robins). In the end, Jimmy Olsen was chosen to be the victim. However, when someone pointed out that one of the real-life actors that played Jimmy was gay, DC quickly got cold feet and scuttled the entire idea.
  • Superman: For Tomorrow and Lex Luthor: Man of Steel were actually supposed to be part of a massive storyline running through four different books. The main gist of the "Superstorm" storyline was that Luthor was planning to build a Spire in Metropolis that would end up killing Superman when completed. The story would have went through four titles: the aforementioned For Tomorrow storyline in Superman, the aforementioned Lex Luthor: Man of Steel mini-series and two mini-series starring The Question and Vigilante respectively. However, the writer for the Vigilante mini got into trouble with DC and, when he was dropped, For Tomorrow had just started, forcing them to drop the "Superstorm" thing. Little pieces of it, though, were still found in The Question mini.
  • Writer Nick Spencer had big plans for Supergirl before he left partway through his first issue. He was planning on setting Kara up as a leader like her cousin Kal and would have led to the creation of a new Young Justice. The story plans go that the villain would have been the Luthor-Brainiac clone and, to deal with it, Kara would gather a team comprised of Static, Blue Beetle, the Damian Wayne Robin, the Stephanie Brown Batgirl, Miss Martian and the Iris West Impulse (with hopes to include Aqualad). The pinnacle of Kara's evolution would have had Iris running away in a panic and Kara stopping her, convincing her to keep going. Most of the team, minus Kara, would have ended up getting captured and, with advice from Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, would have made a second team to rescue them. The story would have concluded with the dance party of the Flyover app's premiere, with one scene showing Iris dragging Damian out onto the dance floor. The Jaime/Damian/M'gann team (but none of the others) made it into James Peaty's run, but the details of the storyline were completely altered, along with Alex's true identity ( Kryptonian-Dubbilex hybrid clone).
  • Before The Man of Steel, Cary Bates' proposal for a reboot would have Superman clinically die and be brought back to life... only to discover he had been 'de-powered' and had partial amnesia, in essence "erasing" much past of his past history (at least from his mind, anyway). This is to keep the all the Weisinger stories in then-ongoing continuity.
  • During the late nineties, Adam Warren came close to writing and drawing a Superman/Dirty Pair crossover, and even published a promo piece of art for it, which was published in Wizard magazine at the time. The project apparently was axed due to publishing budget constrains.
  • One of the early issues of the New 52 Supergirl series was supposed to introduce a radically redesigned version of Maxima, with her appearance changed from that of a Human Alien to a Humanoid Alien with Pointy Ears. This was scrapped at the last minute and the design was instead recycled for a Suspiciously Similar Substitute named Reign. When Maxima was finally reintroduced in the New 52 several years later, she sported a slightly younger version of her classic appearance.

    Batman 
  • Batman himself turned out much different from how Bob Kane first envisioned him. Bill Finger described the character as having worn red tights like Superman, a pair of red bat wings, and a small black domino mask. Finger, inspired by The Phantom, offered an alternative costume design which became an early version of the iconic bat suit. Robin was originally to be named "Mercury", and would be a young boy that would wear a "super-costume". Jerry Robinson convinced Kane to bring the character down to a more realistic level and call him Robin (after Robin Hood).
  • According to Bob Kane, sales for the Batman titles had fallen so drastically by the early 60's that DC was considering killing the franchise altogether. The "New Look" period (as well as the concurrent editorial shake-up) was designed to revitalize the franchise. It worked.
  • During the "New Look" era in the Silver Age (where Batman first gained a yellow oval on his chest and returned to his earlier detective tone), Carmine Infantino had wanted Batman to start using handguns again. Julius Schwartz nixed this idea, since Infantino's main justification for giving Batman guns was that he thought it'd look cool.
  • The reason for the creation of Jason Todd: One of the Batman writers had wanted to de-age Dick Grayson and return him to being Batman's sidekick. However, Marv Wolfman, as writer on Teen Titans (DC's hottest property at the time), wielded a lot of power and suggested that instead, a new character could be introduced as Robin as a gimmick to boost sales, since such a thing hadn't really happened before.
  • During his original run of the Robin, Chuck Dixon ultimately planned for Tim Drake to move on to becoming Blue Beetle for a period of time. Dixon had set up foreshadowing by establishing Tim as a fan of Ted Kord, and giving Ted a heart condition that would make it more difficult for him to do strenuous crime-fighting. Tim would then take on the role, while Stephanie Brown would temporarily become Robin in his absence. Tim would then go back to being Robin, and the "Blue Beetle" name would be franchised out, with Ted Kord training other new Beetles.
    • Chuck Dixon had also planned for there to be a miniseries featuring Spoiler, after she was resurrected and brought back to the Robin title. However, the miniseries never came to pass due to another falling-out between Dixon and DC editorial.
  • Gail Simone's original proposition for the Cassandra Cain Batgirl was to have her rescue a sincerely faithful Christian preacher to Gotham's homeless population from a mugging and be converted by his strong faith in forgiveness and the teachings of the Bible. Taking up a new, white-colored costume, and devoting herself to the most vulnerable of Gotham's residents — the mentally ill, the homeless, runaways and immigrants — she would become known as the Angel of the Bat and, for the first time ever, would be genuinely happy.
  • Gail Simone revealed via her Tumblr page that Cassandra Cain was originally supposed to join the Birds of Prey after the controversial Death of Oracle storyline, partially to answer complaints about the lack of minorities on the team. Simone claims to have started writing the issue before being informed that Cass would be used in Batman Inc. as the Batwoman of Hong Kong. Which itself now falls under this trope; Grant Morrison wrote Cass into one issue but the New 52 threw things out of whack. It now appears she's (retroactively) been removed from the Batman Inc. team.
    • Simone also claims that she tried to have Vixen added to the team at several points, for reasons similar to Cassandra. She had also requested to use Flamebird at least twice, but was shot down as the character was restricted to the potential Batwoman title that had been in development hell at the time (A Batwoman story would finally come to pass with Greg Rucka's run on Detective Comics).
  • Scott Snyder intended to have Cassandra Cain in his first issue of the New 52 Batman series. Some Executive Meddling led to Cass being removed from the script, which in turn led to Snyder creating Harper Row as a replacement.
  • When Alan Grant wrote the first issue of Batman introducing Anarky, it was shortly after the death of Jason Todd, and he planned for Anarky to become the next Robin. Plans to introduce Tim Drake were in the works, but Grant didn't know that until he pitched his idea to DC. Of course, YMMV on whether having Anarky as Robin would have been better or worse, but it would certainly have been different.
  • Speaking of Jason Todd, Batman #428 had two panels drawn up - one for Jason living and one for him dying. The one for him living had a jubilant Batman crying out to the heavens "Jason's alive! Thank God." And it's been said that the phone calls between saving him and killing him were very close, so who knows what would have happened when Danny O'Neil walked down those halls carrying that panel instead of the one we all know of today...Even more, when news of the phone calls came out, many people had made a mistake - they had thought that it was Dick under the axe, not Jason. Thus, many of the phone calls were to save or kill a character who hadn't been in that identity for about six years in real life. Who knows what the outcome could have been if they hadn't had that mistake? If the fans had voted for Jason to live, he would have endured a long period of recovery, after which he would retire as Robin. His role afterwards would have been as a commentator of sorts for the DC Universe.
  • Damian Wayne was supposed to die at the end of the original Batman and Son story arc, with Grant Morrison saying that the idea was to have him start off as a complete brat, only to pull a Heroic Sacrifice after being inspired by his father's heroism. Morrison changed his mind and instead opted to make Damian the new Robin, believing that killing him after making sure the audience was invested would make his death much more meaningful and shocking.
    • Also, Morrison wanted Damian to be Killed Off for Real, but the character's popularity led to him being resurrected not too long after Batman, Inc. finished up.
  • A year or so before Cassandra Cain debuted, John Byrne pitched the idea of an Asian-American Batgirl, which he thought would be fitting since bats are considered good luck in several East Asian countries.
  • For Death of the Family, Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, and Grant Morrison have all asked to use Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown in their stories. Maybe they would have appeared in Bruce's fantasy of his family waiting for him to wake up.
  • Sarah Essen-Gordon nearly survived Batman No Mans Land. The final big storyline before NML ended would of had The Joker murder someone on the GCPD attempting to stop him from killing the babies he kidnapped. Both Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya were chosen, but different writers fought for their survival. It wasn't until other writers noticed how, coincidentally, Sarah had been foreshadowing something big in her life that they used it to make her the Sacrificial Lamb for the story.
  • This happened in a "dream vision" manner at the end of Stephanie Brown's run as Batgirl. Thanks to Black Mercy, she got a vision of a possible future (which the author wrote as ideas he had for the title if it continued). Everyone agrees, they would have been awesome.
  • According to sources, DC was actively planning for Jean-Paul Valley to take over as Batman during the Knightfall storyline. Fans had actually liked JP and DC was ready to fully phase out Bruce. However, when Abbitoir was killed near the end of Knightquest, his popularity quickly tanked and fans demanded Bruce back in the saddle.
  • There was a different version of the final issue of Nightwing that came as the aftermath of Forever Evil. The pages show everyone in mourning for Dick's supposed death and reminiscing over various events. According to DC, the new version segued better into Grayson. If what many fans would tell you, they would have preferred this over what they got.
  • Holy Terror was originally meant to be a Batman story set in "Millerverse" Batman called "Holy Terror, Batman!", a nod to Robin's phrase from the 60's Batman series. (Miller was probably not aware of an Elseworld's tale called "Batman, Holy Terror") Supposedly, Frank Miller decided to take the book to Legendary because he realized it was "not a Batman story" and the hero was "much closer to Dirty Harry than Batman".
  • Around 1996, a Batman/Gen¹³ crossover was being worked on by DC and Image-Wildstorm, and Gen 13 artist J. Scott Campbell would have drawn it. A piece of promotional artwork was shown in Wizard magazine, but Campbell's infamous Schedule Slip habits and his departure from the regular Gen 13 title eventually doomed the crossover.
  • "Jolly Ol' Saint Nicholas", one of a series of shorts in The Batman Adventures Holiday Special and later adapted in The New Batman Adventures episode "Holiday Knights", originally had a scene where Barbara Gordon, banking on the panicking crowd seeing Clayface being too busy panicking, change into Batgirl in front of them. According to Bruce Timm, it was based off of a panel from an issue of Supergirl. DC quickly nixed the idea, mostly because, as the mock-up panel showed, it was quite risque, especially for a comic that's supposed to be more kid-friendly. While the actual comic had Babs dive into a dressing room, "Holiday Knights" instead had her dive between some clothing racks.

    Wonder Woman 
  • Greg Rucka had wanted to change Wonder Woman's costume in order to add a Greek-inspired armored skirt, but WB rejected the idea for changing her costume too much from its recognizable form.
  • Gail Simone's run would've featured an interracial lesbian wedding between Queen Hippolyta and Phillipus. This was scrapped when Simone's run was Cut Short in favor of J. Michael Straczynski's Continuity Reboot.
  • Simone had also wanted a few other heroes to appear in the all-female team-up from issue #600, including Rocket from the Icon series.
  • There were plans in the 90's for a crossover between Wonder Woman and Xena, with the entire issue being completed before DC shelved it.
  • John Byrne once stated in an interview that he would have had Diana been Wonder Woman during World War II, instead of Hippolyta as he wrote it, and eventually return to Man's World in the reboot.

    Teen Titans 
"Fab Five" Teen Titans
  • Teen Titans #20 originally featured a black superhero named Jericho, but the story was considered too heavy-handed in its anti-racism message. Fearing that they'd lose potential buyers in the South, Carmine Infantino ordered the entire plot rewritten. The hero was changed to a white man and renamed "Joshua". Marv Wolfman and Len Wein (the original writers of the story) would wind up blacklisted from DC for about two years as a result of the controversy.
  • Bob Rozakis had intended to move Wonder Girl and Speedy to Titans West, while bringing Bat-Girl and another member to the east coast team. This would set up a love triangle between Bat-Girl, Robin, and Harlequin, with both girls vying for his attention. Speedy and Wonder Girl's relationship would also have been focused on a little more.
  • Harlequin was to also be the star of a back-up story in the series Vixen in 1978. When Vixen wound up being among several potential titles to be axed, the Duela Dent back-up stories never got off the ground.

The New Teen Titans
  • Frances Kane was to become a superhero around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths, with a concept design even appearing in DC Sampler, but this was put on hold after George Perez left NTT. The idea of Frances taking on a costumed identity did come to pass years later, though her color scheme was tweaked to be magenta and white rather than Perez's intended red and blue outfit for her. A proposed codename for her was long believed to be "Polara", although Perez says there was a different name in place (though he can't remember the exact one). In the final product, she took the name "Magenta" (after her costume color and as an anagram pun on her magnet powers).
  • Kole was originally going to be a crystal-spinning boy named "Cole".
  • Wolfman and Perez had penned a graphic novel titled "Games", that was to take place during New Titans and that would explain the final fate of Cyborg's friend, Sarah Simms. Due to Perez' departure and his later health problems, the novel's fate was a constant uncertainty. At one point, Wolfman considered tweaking the plot to have it tie into Geoff Johns' volume 3 run (with the current Titans being shown in a framing sequence), but this idea did not get far. The story was finally released as a standalone and out-of-continuity tale, with some tweaking done to its plot (although Sarah Simms' death remained intact). The original plans were included as an extra in the graphic novel.
  • Nightwing and Starfire were to actually be married, and would temporarily retire from the team while letting Donna take over as leader. The Batman editorial office did not approve, and their marriage was hastily canned while Nightwing was brought back to the Bat-books. Donna was also depowered (see below), leaving Arsenal to be the new leader instead. Interestingly, issues #81-83 of Mark Waid's run on The Flash refer to Nightwing and Starfire as having just been married, showing that the plan to have their wedding fail was indeed a sudden case of Executive Meddling.
  • Donna Troy would not have lost her powers at the end of the "Total Chaos" arc, but would have instead created a new costume from Lord Chaos' cape. The editor at the time (Peterson) had hoped to have her husband killed off at the hands of a demonic Raven, but this was nixed due to Donna being depowered.
  • Pantha was to get an origin story, written by Louise Simonson. In it, Pantha would be revealed to be a bookish woman transformed into a monstrous creature by the HIVE.
  • Wolfman had suggested the idea of Nightwing and Troia potentially being a couple, due to the fact that different editorial departments had split up two of his previously-established couples in canon (Donna's marriage with Terry and the would-have-been Nightwing/Starfire marriage).
  • Titans spinoff books that were rejected during this time included a proposal by Rob Liefeld (that evolved into Youngblood), a series for the team "The Hybrid", and another team called "The Rogue Titans".
  • A character named Split (who appeared in the series Steel) was shown as a member of the Titans in the DC vs. Marvel trading card set, but never appeared in the series. One can only assume that he was intended, at the time, to join the team, but the idea never materialized.
  • One storyline that was never developed included Nightwing attempting to return to the Titans, only to clash with Arsenal over leadership and cause tensions within the team. Wolfman teased the possibility that Nightwing would form another group of Titans, and that the existing members would have been split between remaining on Arsenal's side or joining the rival team.

Team Titans
  • The mysterious leader of the Teamers was intended to be a grown-up Danny Chase from the future, but editorial decided to instead have him revealed to be Monarch in order to tie the title's cancellation into the Zero Hour mini-series.
  • One Team Titans idea that never got used bore some similarity to the Legion of Superheroes' "SW6 Batch" storyline: There would be a team of teenage, alternate universe versions of the Wolfman/Perez Titans that would wind up having to interact with their current selves.
  • Wolfman had also toyed with the idea of a Titans group modeled after the original five-member '60s team, but with more modern attitudes to contrast the originals' campy "goody-two shoes" personalities.
  • Phil Jimenez had wanted to do a story where Duela Dent (previously shown as an asylum patient in one issue of his run) would be revealed to be a member of one of the various Titan teams from the future, that would have been modeled after the '60s-70s team. Having been stranded in the past and separated from her team, she would have gone insane and stolen a special hourglass that would allow her to warp reality. The editorial team rejected the story for being too "strange" and for referencing Duela (who Wolfman and others would not allow to exist in Post-Crisis continuity). However, this story does appear in an injoke for a false "next issue" tagline in the final story of Team Titans.
  • Jimenez had also hoped to reveal that the Teamers were from an alternate Earth, and intended for Terra II to be a lesbian and an earth elemental-type. He had planned on killing off Mirage, who'd attempt to abort her unborn child by shapeshifting it out of existence and would wind up dying in the process.
  • Marv Wolfman re-introduced Kole in his run of Team Titans, as he'd regretted having had to kill her off. While he dropped hints that she was some sort of ghost or supernatural entity sent to aid the team, the editorial team told Jimenez to explain her away as one of Monarch's puppets.
  • The original plan for the book was quite different. As The New Titans had a largely adult cast at the time, the idea was that Team Titans would start with a cast of Decoy Protagonists, only to get rid of them all around issue #12, introduce the above-mentioned alternate universe Wolfman/Perez Titans as the new protagonists, and then finally rename the book Teen Titans. The new versions of the classic Titans would have also been much younger, allowing them to bring back the Teen part of the name without making it an Artifact Title.

Teen Titans volume 2
  • "Joto" was originally "Slag" in early promotional interviews. As a reference to this, Isaiah initially takes the codename "Slagger" until his father convinces him that honoring his Swahili heritage would be for the better.
  • Tim Drake was to originally join the team, but the Batman editors forbid the story and Captain Marvel Jr. was put on the team instead.
  • Wildcat was to be the team's mentor, but due to the depowering of the Justice Society of America in Zero Hour, Dan Jurgens was forced to scrap the idea.
  • Nightwing was to also feature in the title as a mentor, but the problems with the Batman editorial office (see above) persisted. The character Omen was also intended to be Raven (in her reformed gold spirit form), but was eventually revealed to be a new identity of Lilith's.
  • Three alien hybrid children were left unaccounted for by the time of the series' cancellation. According to Jurgens, one was the villain Sweet 16 while the other two were other wannabe heroes that had showed up at a membership drive (Kid Emotion and The Solution).
  • The identity of Lilith Clay's mother, whom she apparently inherited her psychic abilities, was never revealed though it was clear she would've been the focus of a future story. Word Of God from Dan Jurgens is that her mother is a preexisting DC character, and so far he's yet to actually admit who she is in case he ever has a chance to go back and complete the story.

Titans volume 1
  • A spin-off called "Titans LA" was planned, but was rejected by higher-ups. It would have involved Terra II trying to find out the secret of her past.
  • Jay Faerber had pitched a story where Slizzath, nemesis of Tempest, had resurrected all the dead Titans as an army to fight the current team. In a way, the idea of zombie Titans sort of came to pass in Geoff Johns' run, as well as in Blackest Night. Another rejected story by Faerber included Mr. Jupiter being killed off, with the Titans having to solve the mystery of his murder.
  • Barry Kitson had wished to do more with specific characters like Bumblebee, Lilith, Terra II, and Risk, had the series not been cancelled. Although he has never gone into too many details, he did state that Lilith would have stopped using the Omen codename.
  • Faerber had hoped for Dolphin to join the Titans team and become a more active character. After Tom Peyer became the writer towards the end of the series, Dolphin and Tempest were written out, with Dolphin ordering her husband to quit the Titans.
  • The villain Epsilon was originally meant to be a serial killer that would hop dimensions to murder heroes. After the editors shot it down, Jay Faerber suggested that it would be a grown-up Danny Chase, resurrected by Slizzath and made into a darker and edgier villain. This was meant to lead into the plotline of Slizzath creating his army, but after Andrew Helfer came on as editor, these plans were scrapped.

Teen Titans volume 3
  • Static was originally going to have been part of the team as one of the main characters, as he was coming off of the popular Static Shock TV show at the time. Geoff Johns had to scrap this plan when it turned out that DC didn't actually own the rights to the character.
  • Geoff Johns had originally wanted his Titans team to fight the Scarecrow in an early arc, but the Batman office would not allow for it. Blackfire was also intended to appear at some point during his run, but Infinite Crisis and Starfire's departure for the Outsiders caused her to be shelved (although Mike McKone's design did eventually get used in Blackfire's later appearances).
  • Johns had wanted to include Supergirl in the "One Year Later" roster, but since she was going a Darker and Edgier route at the time and Johns wanted a " naïve, fun alien chick", Miss Martian was created as a substitute.
  • Argent was considered as the first to die in Superboy-Prime's massacre, but was spared due to one of the editors favoring her and Pantha wound up dying instead.
  • Had Superboy not died in Infinite Crisis, Johns' plan for the next story arc would have involved him regaining his confidence to fend off the "Titans of Tomorrow", who would find a way to attack the present timeline. Sean McKeever slightly reused the idea of the future Titans' return, although in a much different type of story (to accommodate for both Superboy and Kid Flash's deaths).
  • Johns had set up threads for the then-new Aquagirl to join the team, but had to nix the plan due to the One Year Later status quo in Aquaman. Static was also promised for the team, but again, licensing complications with Milestone Comics led to his arrival also being delayed until long after Johns had left the title.
  • Rob Liefeld's two-issue filler arc with Gail Simone was meant to get his foot in the door at DC. There were plans for Liefeld to do a new Titans East series to help expand the franchise, as well as a possible Teen Titans-based limited series, but the deal fell apart due to tension behind the scenes. Liefeld ended up walking away from DC, and had some unkind things to say about the company.
  • Issue 47 was originally pitched as a story where Duela Dent got to officially join the volume 3 team, after deciding to stick with them after the "Titans East" arc. As Duela wound up slated for death in Countdown, the issue was rewritten as a tie-in and focused on the Titans holding her funeral.
  • Sean McKeever had intended to reveal that the villain Sun Girl was pregnant with Inertia's child, upon which she'd appeal to Bart Allen and the other Titans for help. Editorial rejected the idea, and it only got as far as her pregnant silhouette being shown in a montage of "possible future" events.
  • Kid Devil would have eventually been resurrected in a story arc sometime after his Heroic Sacrifice, but this was pitched at the same time Dan Didio ordered for there to be "no more resurrections" (which of course, OBVIOUSLY really stuck long), so he remained dead. In the rejected story pitch, the demon Blaze would have revived him and used him as her slave, until he'd be freed by the Titans.
  • JT Krul's run was supposed to feature the new Aqualad from Young Justice joining the team, as well as the Teen Titans facing off against Deathstroke's new team of Anti-Hero Titans. Both of these plot threads were hinted at in Krul's first issue, but were abandoned when his run was Cut Short.
  • Eric Wallace had several storylines cut as a result of Titans being rushed due to Flashpoint. He intended to follow up on Cinder finding child molester Nursery Cryme after she'd accidentally set him free, and there were obvious implications that metahuman Allegra Garcia was going to join the team or at least meet Deathstroke's team again.
  • The New 52 reboot ended some stories before they could start. For instance, the finale of the Titans series hinted at Red Arrow and Jericho rebuilding the team... only for the title to end and an entirely new continuity to start the next month.

New 52 Teen Titans
  • The reboot of the title was originally not going to be a reboot at all. The initial pitch was that the Titans would've disbanded the team following their battle with the Legion of Doom, only to be forced to bring the group back together after several of their former teammates were kidnapped by the N.O.W.H.E.R.E organization. This explains the inclusion of Solstice, who was a very recent character at the time and yet still made the cut over a number of more popular characters associated with the team.
  • Likewise, the New 52 Superboy would've been a continuation of the previous continuity, with the new status quo (Superboy working for N.O.W.H.E.R.E. as an adversary of the Titans) justified via a mindwipe and Brainwashing.
  • Cheshire was originally going to appear as a supporting character in Grifter. When this plan fell through, Cheshire's New 52 design was reused for a new character named Niko.

    Green Lantern 
  • Gerard Jones' version of Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight. Basically, the Zamarons (the female gladiator counterparts to the Guardians of the Universe) were supposed to take over the Green Lantern Corps, reinstate super-villain and renegade Green Lantern Sinestro as head of the Corps, and do away with all of the established weakness of the power rings (mainly the yellow impurity and 24-hour charge). Hal Jordan would then go renegade, but not in a crazy mass murderer sort of way, but in an Only Sane Man manner as far as going "rogue" rather than take orders from his arch-nemesis and a bunch of crazy war mongering space amazons. Apparently, DC editorial hated the scenario (largely because it required people knowing who the Zamarons were), so Jones resigned from the title, and Paul Levitz, Mike Carlin, Denny O'Neil, and Archie Goodwin wrote a new plot based on Jones' script, and gave it to Jones' successor, Ron Marz, to write. The result is the Emerald Twilight that was published currently.
    • You can learn more about Jones' Emerald Twilight here.
  • Karu-Sil of the Sinestro Corps was originally conceived as a Ghost Rider villain.

    Marvel Comics 
  • Contest of Champions was originally going to be a tie-in to the 1980 Olympics. However, the project ended up in Development Hell after President Jimmy Carter decided to boycott the games, thus rendering the crossover pointless. It was revived two years later and the premise was changed to involve a contest between the Grandmaster and Death.
    • Ms. Marvel originally had the role held by She-Hulk in the finished story, and the art had to be changed since Ms. Marvel had lost her powers sometime after the original series was drawn. This is why She-Hulk appears to be flying in certain panels.
  • The original outlines for Marvel crossovers Civil War and Secret Invasion have some major differences to the end products. Civil War would have originally included what would become World War Hulk (in drastically different form as Hulk, his new wife, and their children invading Earth) and involved a plot device "Power Stealing Electric Chair" that would have stripped Speedball and Captain America of their powers; whilst the original ending to Secret Invasion would have massively depowered The Sentry and killed off Hercules and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's baby, as well as having Norman Osborn just out of the blue STEAL the Avengers name from the real Avengers.
    • Erik Larsen had wanted to reveal that Elektra was a Skrull back in 1999, a full eight years before Secret Invasion. However, Larsen says this is because he found the way Marvel resurrected Elektra to be disrespectful to Frank Miller, rather than any attempt at starting a wider Crisis Crossover story involving the Skrulls.
    • Also, in the original outline for Civil War, one of the victims of the Stamford explosion was the son of Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan, which would explain Iron Man's motivation for supporting the SHRA (Super Hero Registration Act).
  • Guardians of the Galaxy:
    • After Jim Valentino proposed the Guardians of the Galaxy 1990 series be set in the 31st century, Tom DeFalco suggested the series be set in the 35th century, an idea used for the Galactic Guardians in issue #8, and a planned "Galactic Guardians" miniseries. Issue #19 was to feature the 1000 year old Wolverine after Rancor had already appropriated his skeleton. A character based on The Beast was featured instead. Issue #22 was to be titled "Enter: Shadowhawk", the new name for the dark Starhawk. This was overturned by Tom DeFalco, and the name was used for an Image character instead. Jim Valentino's run ends at #27 and does not officially count #28-29, two throwaway plots brainstormed with Rob Liefeld before leaving the book. The two issues were intended to have a Masters of Evil team with Absorbing Man and Yellowjacket II, who would betray the team, ally with the Guardians, and leave Vance Astro at the Avengers Mansion, with guest appearances by the New Warriors and Marvelboy.
    • Issues #30-51, if continued by Jim Valentino, would have continued the plot of the Guardians in the 20th century, meeting the Starhawk re-living his life in an earlier time period mentioned in #7, and the repurcussions of Vance idolizing Captain America in #30-34. #35-36 would have featued a War of the Worlds and Killraven story. #37-39 would take place in one of Kang's alternate realities. #40 would be a double-sized issue featruing a wedding between Vance and Aleta, with an older future Gladiator flashing back to the wedding in #41-43 and the future Galactics encountering a remnant of the Shi'Ar Empire confronting the Badoon invasion. Doctor Doom, appearing in #23, would have returned in #44. #45-50 would be the grand finale featuring the invasion of Earth and the death of Galactus and Vance Astro. #51 would be the epilogue, featuring Vance's funeral, followed by a year's worth of stories exploring new worlds with no ties to the Marvel Universe. Other story plans included the female Adam Warlock joining the Galactic Guardians, and Yondu's god Anthos being somehow related to Thanos. Another miniseries was planned to follow after the funeral, focusing on the evolution of the Guardians from 500 years in the future, with thousands of members, including those who abused their powers as dictators of other worlds.
    • Major Victory was named after a Timely character. Vance travelling into the past during Timely Comics' creation would have established a stable time loop by leading to the creation of the company Marvel Comics.
    • Jim Valentino proposed a Guardians of the Galaxy reboot similar to Supreme Power, with four story arcs outlined.
  • Genndy Tartakovsky's Luke Cage.
  • Marvel UK:
    • Warheads: Further stories of the wormhole-travelling mercenaries funded by Mys-Tech. All There in the Manual details were given in Overkill magazine. Warheads: Black Dawn mentions two planned miniseries to appear in 1993. The all-female Virago troop was to be featured in the cancelled four issue Loose Cannons limited series by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison.
    • Dark Guard, about Marvel UK characters teaming up to fight Mys-Tek, was to be followed by Dark Guard Gold.
    • Death's Head Gold, by Dan Abnett and Liam Sharp, was published as Death Head's Gold #0, the flip cover of Death's Head II Vol 2 #14, followed by Death's Head Gold #1. Issues #2-3 were intended to follow. Tuck is seduced by Cicatrice, Death's Head II becomes a sort of god and meets his future self.
    • Wild Angels, a Europe-exclusive Dark Angel and Wild Thing crossover published by Panini/Marvel Italia.
    • Death's Head II had an unpublished story where Death's Head II and Tuck team up with the Punisher. The Punisher would also have appeared in Super-Soldiers #9.
    • Wild Thing ended with #7, Super-Soldiers ended with #8. The Red Mist crossover, about the Red Mist 2020 virus introduced into the Super Soldier program, would have gone through the cancelled Super-Soldiers #9-10, Wild Thing #9-10, Bloodrush, Death Duty, and 'Roid Rage.
  • Marvel Zombies: The opening pages were supposed to have Superman as the virus-carrying superhero from another dimension. Changed to the Sentry with an obvious recolor.
  • Marvel's 1997 Micronauts relaunch series written by Shon C. Bury, with pencils by Cary Nord and ink by Dan Green. Five issues were scripted, three penciled, but was cancelled when the Micronauts license was not granted to Marvel.
  • A Marvel tie-in comic for the cancelled Micronauts animated series.
  • WCW S.L.A.M.Force: Twelve issue regular series with artists Chris Bautista and J.J. Kirby, following mini comics from WCW Slam Force toys by Toy Biz and a seven page teaser comic by Ruben Diaz, Bill Rosemann and Michael Ryan, featuring WCW wrestlers Chris Benoit, Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg, Bret Hart and Sting as the "Secret Legion Against Monsters" superhero team versus Dr. Von Ghoul. Guest starring Spider-Man and Captain America.
  • Alias was originally supposed to star Jessica Drew as a washed-up former superhero who had turned to private detective work. The Darker and Edgier nature of the series resulted in Bendis being forced to create Jessica Jones as an Expy of Drew.
  • Christopher Priest had wanted Quicksilver and Justice as part of his short-lived title The Crew to help offset the perception of the title as a "Black Avengers" book. When he found himself unable to use Quicksilver, he thought about Dagger before settling on Alex Power of the Power Pack. That eventually fell through as well, and after deciding to get rid of Justice too, Priest decided to use Junta.
  • At a very early stage in pre-production, Kurt Busiek had wanted Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara) to be one of the main characters in Thunderbolts. Busiek had planned to explore her backstory in greater detail, such as revealing that she was living under the name of her dead best friend after being pursued by the mob. Yellowjacket ended up being Killed Off for Real during The Crossing, making any future plans for her moot.
  • According to James Fry, if Marvel had approved of more Slapstick stories after The Awesome Slapstick, his Rogue's Gallery would have included established Marvel villains such as The Toad Men and the poultry-based team-up of The Black Talon, Gamecock, and Bantam — revealing them to be rival siblings in a battle that would have ended with all the heroes doubled over with laughter at their expense...
  • Runaways went through a few changes before publication. One of the big ones was Nico's source of power. Originally, she found a book of dark magic hidden in a shed in her backyard. Being heavily Christian, she hated it but sacrificed her beliefs to use one of the spells during the first fight with the Pride. Some aspects of this were left, including her being a former altar girl and a comment when she first sees her parents as dark magicians ("This isn't like you, Mom! We go to church every Sunday!") Also, Chase's name was originally "John".
  • There was an Iron Man issue where Madame Masque was apparently Killed And Replaced by a new woman who wanted the identity for herself. This famously set off a series of confusing developments, including multiple new Madame Masques appearing, as well as the debut of an Avengers ally named Masque. Kurt Busiek finally Retconned the whole thing away by revealing that all of the women involved were clones of the real (and still-living) Madame Masque, but the original intention behind the story that started the mess was quite different. The idea was that Madame Masque's killer would have been revealed to be Rae LaCoste, who was one of Tony's love interests at the time. Unfortunately, the plan to make her the new Madame Masque ended up as an Aborted Arc, which led to all the confusing attempts to continue the story.
  • Jean-Marc Lofficier's Shamrock & The Peregrine four part story for Marvel Comics Presents, clarifying details of the Frankenstein family. Story elements later used in Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #37.
  • Jean-Marc Lofficier's Book of the Vishanti backup stories in Tomb of Dracula would have given additional details to horror/mystic characters. Yellow Claw and Fu Manchu were brothers affiliated with the Immortal Nine, a group exposed to Dracula's Pool of Blood, including Cagliostro and Aged Genghis.
  • What If... The Fantastic Four had been defeated by the Dark Raider?, 22 page story by Randy & Jean-Marc Lofficier, continuing the X-men as vampires universe in What If? Vol 2 #24 and What If? Vol 2 #37-39.
  • Timequake, the story running through What If? Vol 2 #35-39, had a different ending explaining Time-Keepers using time as an energy battery, and their involvement with the Time Variance Authority.
  • Mockingbird was originally going to be an entirely separate character from Bobbi Morse, who was going by the name "Huntress" at the time. Mockingbird would have had the same design she eventually sported, but would have been African-American. When the Huntress name became unavailable thanks to DC publishing their own heroine by that name, the decision was made to merge Huntress and Mockingbird into a single character.
  • Dwayne Mc Duffie once pitched an idea for a mini-series called "The Killing Machine", which would have revolved around The Punisher stealing a suit of Iron Man armor and painting it black. Iron Man and the Punisher would then spend the series fighting for control of the new suit. There were also plans for a sequel which would have seen James Rhodes donning the black Iron Man armor and eventually being spun off into his own title. It never happened, but McDuffie has said he liked to think the pitch had some influence on the eventual creation of War Machine.
  • McDuffie had also worked with Tom DeFalco (the future creator of Spider-Girl) and Mark Gruenwald on a pitch for a series of interlocking street level books set in the Marvel Universe. The titles would have included a new Heroes for Hire, a radical ReTooling of Shang-Chi, and a team book led by Monica Rambeau which would've incorporated the Shadowline series from Marvel's Epic imprint. The plans fell apart when DeFalco left Marvel, Gruenwald passed away, and Marvel itself went bankrupt during The Great Comics Crash of 1996.
  • The She-Hulk: Ceremony mini-series began life as a pitch for an ongoing series. It was scrapped when John Byrne returned to Marvel and asked if he could do his own She-Hulk series.
  • There were plans for a RoboCop comic book series set in the continuity of the films. It never happened, but the basic premise was recycled for the successful Deathlok series.
  • Marvel 2099 was originally planned to have kept going after a Time Skip, being rebranded Marvel 2101 and featuring many of the characters living in the Savage Land after a great disaster. Instead, elements of this became 2099: World of Tomorrow as the line limped to a close. Mark Waid also had a proposal for a Daredevil 2099 title. The character made one appearance in 2099 Genesis and was never seen again.
  • Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon), Mania, and Galactus' daughter Galacta were all supposed to have been part of the Fearless Defenders at one point or another, but were shot down by editorial.
  • There were plans for a crossover between Harvey Comics and Marvel Comics, wherein a miscast spell by Wendy The Good Little Witch swapped Casper the Friendly Ghost with Ghost Rider. Marvel signed off, but Harvey got cold feet and backed out.
  • Kurt Busiek had plans for a Y2K story called Y2Kang where time travelling villain Kang would do something that, when midnight struck on December 31, 1999, it would suddenly be January 1, 1900, transforming Marvel Earth into that time era, including the heroes. However, by the time the storyline was approved, it was too late - comics were already set for January, 2000 and the earliest open slot was in April. The editors were willing to keep going with the story, but Kurt complained that "no one would care" and, thus created Maximum Security instead.
  • Age of Ultron was written before Avengers vs. X-Men, and as such required some hasty last minute rewrites:
    • The role of the team telepath was originally going to be filled by Professor Xaiver, but was changed to Emma Frost when Xavier was killed by Cyclops near the end of AvX. You can still see certain panels where Emma appears to be limping, as she was superimposed over an illustration of Xavier using crutches.
    • The book was supposed to take place before the events of Marvel NOW!, explaining why Captain America and several other heroes are still clad in their classic costumes.
  • Grant Morrison once proposed a rather radical Nick Fury series that would have revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. kept Fury in action into the present day by injecting his personality into unassuming test subjects—essentially brainwashing innocent people into serving as the perfect secret agent. The idea was deemed too much of a change of pace for such a classic character, so Morrison instead reused the idea for his original comic book series The Filth.
  • Warren Ellis' run on Doctor Strange lasted only one issue - Ellis was apparently going to take the character into a less superhero-oriented direction, towards fantasy and horror, but he quit after the editor who handpicked him for the book was replaced by one with a preference for classic-style superhero stories.
  • The New Universe line was originally conceived as a complete Continuity Reboot of the entire Marvel Universe ala Crisis on Infinite Earths, but it was decided that it'd be a waste since sales were already pretty high at the time.
  • Before the introduction of the ill-fated Kasper Cole version of the Black Panther, there were several other plans to shake up and ReTool the franchise. Christopher Priest had suggested T'Challa undergo a Face–Heel Turn, while Mike Raicht suggested that Queen Divine Justice become the new Black Panther.
  • Daredevil:
    • Frank Miller's first issue was actually pushed up a month because the previous story, a two-parter dealing with the topic of drugs in schools, was censored by the Comics Code. An altered version wound up being published over a year later after Miller had become a big enough superstar to push it through.
    • Brian Bendis was originally going to have Bullseye appear in Daredevil #36 as part of the storyline where Matt Murdock's identity was leaked. However, Kevin Smith had called dibs on writing Daredevil and Bullseye's next confrontation, so Bendis used Elektra instead.
  • Marvel Zombies was originally going to star Luke Cage as one of the last surviving heroes during the Zombie Apocalypse, with the logic that his unbreakable skin would have prevented him from being infected. This had to be dropped when Robert Kirkman noticed that Greg Land had already drawn Luke as a zombie during the initial Ultimate Fantastic Four arc that introduced the Marvel Zombies.
  • Star Wars: Dark Empire was nearly published by Marvel, with Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy even beginning work on the series under Archie Goodwin's supervision. Unfortunately, Goodwin left Marvel under unpleasant circumstances, and since he was pretty much the only one at the company who really believed there was an audience for new Star Wars comics (as the franchise was considered finished after Return of the Jedi), Marvel tabled the project indefinitely. Veitch and Kennedy were able to finish and the series at Dark Horse, kick starting the company's long line of successful Star Wars comics.

    Captain America 
  • Captain America's original name was 'Super-American'.
  • In the 1960's, Joe Simon sued Marvel for ownership of the character. Marvel asked Jack Kirby to create two new Captain America designs, with the idea being that if Marvel lost the rights to the original, they could quickly introduce a new version of the character. Simon ended up settling, and Kirby later recycled one of the new Cap designs for Captain Glory.
  • Captain America #300 by J.M. DeMatteis would have been a double-sized issue featuring Captain America becoming a pacifist, being rejected by superheroes, the government, and the world, then assassinated by Nomad and replaced by The Falcon or Black Crow.
  • Captain America vol. 3 #14 by Mark Waid would have shown more of the Red Skull's twisted perspective, including the Red Skull's origins with Hitler, and his viewing Captain America as a Hitler figure that has to be killed.
  • DeMatteis was originally hired to write an oversized treasury edition one-shot to tie into the Captain America TV movie that was released in the 70's, but the one-shot was cancelled. The contents were later published in Captain America #261-263 as the "Celluloid Heroes" storyline.
  • Waid had planned to use Kang as a major villain in his run, but due to Kurt Busiek using the villain in The Avengers, he ended up compromising by having Michael Korvac pretend to be Kang. Ironically, this was essentially recycling an idea Waid had planned when he was writing Ka-Zar, where he'd wanted to have Korvac impersonate Thanos. When someone else called dibs on Korvac, he scrapped that plot point and used the real Thanos instead.
  • Captain America dies in Dan Jurgens' Captain America vol. 3 #50, which would have been addressed by a follow up mini-series by John Ney Rieber, who had planned to write the first story arc for Captain America vol. 4, which ended up being scrapped and modified due to the World Trade Center attacks, ending up as volume 4's second story arc.
  • Before the real return of Bucky Barnes, there were plans for a story called "Bucky Returns", which would have revealed that Bucky had survived all of those years ago, but was now dying of old age. Steve would have went to Bucky's side, finding out that he was a quadruple amputee and disfigured, leading to a Tear Jerker-worthy scene where the two would reunite just before Bucky passed on.
  • Speaking of Bucky, Bucky was supposed to have returned the shield to Steve after he came back in Captain America: Reborn, but fans grew to love the Bucky Cap, so he got to stay longer.
  • Mark Waid had wanted to do a story rationalizing the absurdity of Bucky's secret identity (or lack thereof), but never got the chance. The story would have revealed that the Intelligence Office had fabricated a backstory for the boy, explaining why nobody thought "Bucky" was a risky choice for a superhero alias despite it being his real name.
  • After the end of Captain America and The Falcon, there were plans for a solo series starring The Falcon. Plans fell through when Christopher Priest decided he didn't want to be pigeonholed as a writer who only worked on "black" comics.
  • Captain America and The Falcon was also supposed to feature a romance between Cap and Scarlet Witch as one of the main hooks for the book's second year. The romance plot had to be moved up and drastically shortened due to the events of Avengers Disassembled taking Scarlet Witch off the board for the next several years.
  • There were plans for a major arc which would have seen Falcon inadvertently causing Cap's death. The plan was that this would lead into a Bat Family Crossover between several books, each showing how the Marvel Universe was dealing with the aftermath of this event. Ed Brubaker's Captain America book would feature several potential Legacy Characters vying for the mantle, while Captain America and The Falcon would focus on Falcon traveling through time to try and prevent Steve's death. Additional events in the crossover would happen in New Avengers and other related titles. Tom Breevoort liked the idea, but felt it would be redundant given that Marvel was already planning a massive Crisis Crossover for that same year.
  • Rob Liefeld left the Heroes Reborn Captain America series after the first arc, and had a lot of unused art as a result. He would later end up recycling said art for his Fighting American series, resulting in a lawsuit from Marvel. He had also done up a redesign for the Falcon that never actually appeared in the books, but was featured in Wizard magazine and the Heroes Reborn trading card line.

    The Avengers 
  • Ronin from New Avengers was originally supposed to have been Daredevil in disguise, with early promotional material even strongly hinting at a connection between the two heroes. Brian Michael Bendis was forced to change his plans at the last second when Ed Brubaker requested permission to start his Daredevil run with the title character in prison, which obviously made it impossible for Daredevil to be a member of the Avengers. Bendis ended up choosing Maya Lopez as Ronin when he realized she had all of Daredevil's martial arts skills and his knowledge of the Japanese underworld.
  • When Joss Whedon had to put Astonishing X-Men on hiatus to go direct Serenity, Marvel offered Bendis the chance to write a New Avengers/Astonishing X-Men crossover to fill the gap. As the project began to take shape, it eventually became clear that it was too big a story to just involve those two teams, and thus House of M was born.
  • Avengers #200, the issue featuring the infamous story where Ms. Marvel was revealed to have been raped, was originally supposed to have a completely different conclusion. Carol's Mystical Pregnancy was supposed to have been the work of the Kree Supreme Intelligence, continuing a dropped plot thread from the cancelled Ms. Marvel series, wherein the Supreme Intelligence had expressed the desire to use Carol to create a new race of Kree / Human hybrids. The problem was, Marvel had already published an issue of What If? where the Supreme Intelligence used the dead body of Rick Jones to create a Kree / Human hybrid. Not wanting to essentially rehash a story that had already been told, the editor demanded that Carol's pregnancy arc be given a different resolution.
  • After writing a storyline where Quicksilver betrayed the Avengers and tried to kill them, Steve Englehart had wanted to keep the character as a villain and have him as a recurring menace. Editorial eventually pulled an Author's Saving Throw and revealed that Quicksilver had been brainwashed by Maximus, effectively nixing this idea.
  • During his Avengers run, Kurt Busiek had briefly considered giving Ms. Marvel the new moniker of "Nemesis", in reference to her adopting a more vengeful attitude after her rape (Nemesis was a Greek goddess who was raped by Zeus). Busiek says he was never quite comfortable with the name, as he felt the explanation behind it would've been too convoluted, which is why he ended up renaming her Warbird instead.
  • Busiek had toyed with the idea of making Triathlon gay, but ended up leaving that idea on the cutting room floor after the unexpected backlash the character received for being a "Token".
  • Avengers: World in Chains: Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco's cancelled twelve issue series, exploring a world where Captain America had never been unfrozen. Replaced by Avengers Forever, with an easter egg featuring some of the character designs.
  • The West Coast Avengers: After the original mini-series, the original plan was to use the regular Avengers book to feature BOTH teams in alternating stories (as seen in issue #250). But the team's popularity put the kibosh on the whole idea. Plus The Shroud would have been part of the team.
  • According to Dennis Hopeless, Avengers Arena started out as a completely different series that was entirely focused on the Braddock Academy kids, but the higher-ups at Marvel felt that it had already been done. Supposedly, there was an arc where the kids fight each other, and that was the only part of the proposal that the executives found interesting, so Hopeless, seeking to salvage the project, expanded that arc into a whole mini-series, then threw in a bunch of other teen heroes who weren't being used in order to expand the cast.
  • Princeless author Jeremy Whitley has said that at one point, he was slated to write a romance story starring America Chavez and Kate Bishop during Secret Wars (2015). The story was shelved due to the characters being used in Siege, though a similar story starring America and the Marvel 1602 version of Kate was later published in the Secret Wars Too one-shot.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! apparently has an unreleased comic forcing the Avengers and Loki into an Enemy Mine situation. The solicit synopsis for issue #12 promised one, but instead readers got a story which gave Nick Fury A Day in the Limelight.
  • Hulkling of the Young Avengers was originally pitched as a girl who posed as a guy when fighting crime; Wiccan was going to struggle with the fact that his love interest was sometimes male. It's been speculated that creator Allen Heinberg thought this was as close as Marvel would let him get to putting an openly gay couple on the team. Eventually he had a change of heart and asked for permission to make Hulkling 100% male. On the other hand, Brian Michael Bendis and Tom Brevoort's steadfast refusal to allow Heinberg to outright overturn Avengers Disassembled via bringing back Scott Lang as Ant-Man and redeeming Wanda is why Heinberg bailed upon the title after the first 12 issues. Story notes however, such as Heinberg's plans for a rookie villain version of the original Masters of Evil led by an android version of Egghead were ultimately written by other writers, and the The Children's Crusade miniseries seems to have accomplished the goal of resurrecting Ant-Man and bringing Wanda back.
    • Curiously, the "genderbender-gay" romance idea ended up being used in the "Star-Crossed" arc of Runaways.
  • Duncan Rosenblatt, the main character of Firebreather, was originally conceived as a member of the Young Avengers. When plans fell through, his creator simply reused the concept at Image Comics. Had he been published by Marvel, Duncan's father would have been Fin Fang Foom.
  • As Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman had recently been written out of the Fantastic Four at the time, Walt Simonson had thought it would be interesting to have them join the Avengers. The editors changed their mind at the last second, so Simonson only got to have them as official Avengers for one issue before being forced to get rid of them. The experience (plus the Executive Meddling he'd already experienced earlier in his run) pissed him off so much that he ended up resigning from the book.
  • Dan Slott had wanted Nightcrawler to be part of the team in his Mighty Avengers run, but Matt Fraction denied him permission to use the character.
  • Both series that Kieron Gillen wrote with Kid Loki had this:
    • Journey into Mystery was supposed to be about adult Loki - Gillen claims that, while he was aware Matt Fraction resurrected the character as a kid, he thought it to be temporary. If he went with the original plan, the story would be a much darker Spiritual Successor to The Elric Saga.
    • Young Avengers vol.2 was supposed to have an all original cast and several new members from the start, but Gillen realized the opening story would be too crowded and cut it to the bare minimum. It was also supposed to be a Spiritual Successor to X-Statix. Gillen wasn't allowed to use Patriot, because another writer already pitched a story involving the character, and when looking for another teenage Captain Geographic to fill the niche he thought of Miss America. Gillen also noted that with the addition of Loki and Miss America and their brash personalities, there would have been no room for Speed to stand out and with plot already revolving strongly around his brother it led to him being Put on a Bus.
  • Way back in the 90's, Rob Liefeld and Jim Valentino pitched a Young Avengers series, but it was rejected for being too similar to the then-in-development New Warriors series. The series would have starred Namorita, Speedball, the teen version of Vance Astro (the character that eventually evolved into Marvel Boy and then Justice), Firestar, and Richard Rider, who would have gone by the name "Torpedo" after having lost his Nova abilities. Several new characters named Brahma, Photon, Cougar, and Combat were also planned to appear, and would later end up recycled for Liefeld's Youngblood series.
  • Back when The Ultimates was still in the planning stages, Mark Millar considered making Captain America black, but Marvel vetoed the idea on the grounds that it conflicted with the "iconic" image of the character.
  • After his appearance in the first Secret Avengers story, the writers had plans to include Nova in more SA story lines. Unfortunately, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning called dibs on having the character and killed him off during The Thanos Imperative.
  • Uncanny Avengers was originally supposed to have Brother Voodoo as part of the team, but Marvel refused to allow Rick Remender to resurrect the character. This is at least partially why the team ended up with such a white line-up, according to Remender.
  • After Ares got killed, Jonathan Hickman wanted to resurrect him on the pages of Secret Warriors, but Tom Breevort stopped him, saying it would be too early. Similarly, Breevort stopped several attempts at ressurecting The Wasp, knowing that Brian Michael Bendis, who killed the character, plans to bring her back in a story few years after her death.

    Fantastic Four 
  • In the original proposal for the Fantastic Four, Susan Storm was supposed to be permanently invisible and had to wear a mask resembling her face in order to be seen, as well as being an Invisible Streaker. Apparently having two heroes unable to depower is a bit much, and the proposal itself had this bit of reconsideration:
    Stan Lee: I hope this won't seem to sexy in art work. Better talk to me about it, Jack— maybe we'll change this gimmick somewhat[.]
    • Likewise, the Four's costumes were originally supposed to include masks.
  • Jack Kirby initially pitched Black Panther as a similar hero called the Coal Tiger, but this was changed when Marvel became worried that a visibly African hero would alienate white readers.
  • There were plans for an Invisible Woman mini-series by John Byrne and Mary Wilshire back in the 80's. The series would have seen Sue's powers mutate so that she could now become intangible instead of just invisible, but with the caveat that she couldn't actually control the intangibility. This would have led to her falling into an alternate dimension where she could remain tangible, but where her only chance to return home would not come about for another 40 years. The series would have then chronicled Sue's life for the next four decades as she met a handsome warrior and battled a group of villains called the Shadow Knights.
  • During the late '90s, when Chris Claremont was writing the Fantastic Four, he had planned to have Reed and Sue hire Kitty Pryde as a live-in nanny for Franklin Richards (taking place after the cancellation of Excalibur), but then X-Editor Bob Harris wanted Kitty to rejoin the X-Men. Claremont intended to do this again during X-Men v. 2 #100, and during a cancelled Kitty Pryde mini-series with artist Lee Moder.

    X-Men 
  • The most notorious "what might have been" in the history of the X-Men is that Chris Claremont originally planned to end The Dark Phoenix Saga with Jean being completely depowered, rather than killed. However, Jim Shooter declared that Jean had to die, as during her rampage as Dark Phoenix she had been seen to destroy an inhabited solar system, killing millions of harmless aliens. This was especially annoying to Claremont, as the mass murder had been something John Byrne threw in when he drew the passage in question, and in the original script there had been no hint that the solar system had sentient inhabitants.
    • A lesser known detail is that death wasn't the original fate Shooter proposed for Jean. He originally wanted to have Jean sent to a Shi'ar prison asteroid, effectively Putting Her On A Bus as well as having her pay for her crimes. Claremont and John Byrne felt it would be extremely Out of Character for the X-Men to just allow one of their comrades to languish in a prison for the rest of her days, so they came up with the idea to simply kill her instead.
  • X-Men #12 was a "tryout" book for legendary artist Alex Toth, as Stan Lee had wanted to see if he could get Toth to join Marvel. Toth ended up not liking the "Marvel Method," and thus declined to do more work for the series.
    • Toth's original design for The Juggernaut was also far different and much more over the top, complete with spiked nipples for some reason. He was asked to tone down and simplify the costume, and that's how we ended up with the iconic Juggy we all know and love.
  • Early on, Stan Lee had considered revealing that Magneto was actually Charles Xavier's brother. He presumably recycled that premise for the Juggernaut.
  • The much hated Joseph was intended to actually be a de-aged Magneto, as was heavily implied in the comics. However, when it was decided that Magneto would be brought back as a villain, Scott Lobdell considered revealing that Joseph was actually a resurrected and amnesiac Proteus. In the end, he simply revealed that Joseph was a young clone of Magneto.
  • Len Wein originally wanted to call Multiple Man "Zerox" as a play on the Xerox line of copying machines. Roy Thomas immediately shot down the idea and told him “Who’s gonna pay off the huge lawsuit, you?”
  • Giant Sized X-Men #1 gives the impression that right before the original X-Men series got canceled, both Havok and Polaris were active members of the X-Men. However if you go back and read those issues (along with the X-Men's guest appearances while the comic was in reprints) you'll see that they never actually went out with the rest of the X-Men on missions. Which is unfortunate, since this is one of the few things that could have made the Thomas-Adams era even better.
  • Giant Sized X-Men was also going to continue as a quarterly title, but the entire Giant Sized line was eventually cancelled due to poor sales. The contents of X-Men #94 and #95 were originally supposed to make up Giant Sized X-Men #2.
  • FOOM magazine ran a "Create-a-Villain" contest in 1973, and the winning entry was a character called Humus Sapiens. It was announced that Roy Thomas would be incorporating Humus as a charter member of the new, international ReTool of the X-Men (which would eventually become the All-New, All-Different X-Men), but when Thomas left the book and was replaced by Len Wein, the character was dropped. Humus Sapiens finally made a proper debut decades later in an issue of Thunderbolts.
  • Wolverine was originally going to be revealed as not a human mutant, but an actual wolverine that was mutated into humanoid form. When another writer attempted this with Spider-Woman and the plot point was rejected, the writer decided not to go with the mutated wolverine bit.
    • Len Wein, the original creator, has gone out his his way more than once to crush this rumor. While it was the idea of another writer to have Wolverine as a wolverine cub evolved by the High Evolutionary, Wein had no part in this plan. He had always envisioned him as a mutant. Other rejected backstories for Wolverine included a mutant rancher whose bones were crushed and were replaced with adamantium while he was bedridden in the hospital and having Sabretooth as his father.
    • Long before Wolverine became the poster-boy for the X-Men books, he just barely escaped being killed off soon after joining the team. An editor was annoyed that Wolvie was so similar to Thunderbird (the other rebellious bruiser who was introduced in revamped lineup), and demanded that one of them be killed off in the Count Nefaria mission. In the end, Claremont decided to kill off Thunderbird, as Wolvie had a more distinctive powerset and appearance. Three decades later, Thunderbird is barely remembered and Wolverine is one of the most iconic superheroes ever created. Go figure.
    • Dave Cockrum intended for the brown and tan costume stolen from Fang to become Wolverine's official new costume, as many felt that the bright yellow outfit he originally wore clashed with his dark and violent demeanor. Cockrum left the book shortly after the suit was introduced, and John Byrne quickly got rid of it after taking over as the new artist. However, the brown and tan color scheme was later recycled for the new Wolverine suit Byrne designed, and ended up becoming one of the character's most iconic looks.
  • Speaking of Thunderbird, Scott Lobdell and Aaron Lopresti did a two-issue Thunderbird mini-series to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the All-New, All-Different X-Men. However, this was right around the time Chris Claremont had returned to the franchise and introduced a brand new Thunderbird, and this, coupled with plans for a different 25th anniversary tribute, led to the mini-series being shelved indefinitely.
  • Claremont had wanted Nightcrawler to be Jewish, but both John Byrne and Roger Stern argued that it was really unlikely that there were many Jews of Kurt's age group in Germany at the time. They also felt that him being raised by a Roma family was already an interesting enough background without having to bring Judaism into it.
  • Alpha Flight had a few:
    Some people, including readers, believed we were making too broad a statement. We had never openly declared that Northstar was gay. Now we had the only fairly popular Marvel character generally acknowledged as being gay and he was dying of AIDS. You shouldn’t equate one with the other.
    • James Hudnall's run famously had an Aborted Arc dealing with Zeitgeist, a serial killer obsessed with murdering superheroes. Had the story continued, Zeitgeist would have infiltrated Alpha Flight HQ and killed Goblyn before being taken down.
    • In the 90's, John Byrne was approached to do a series called North and South, which would have starred Northstar and Ironclad. The book would have been revolutionary for the time, as it would have treated Northstar's sexuality just like that of any straight character, which was a fairly radical notion back then. Higher-ups ultimately cancelled the project and cited budgetary issues, but Byrne has said he believes the fact that Northstar is gay also had something to do with it.
  • NYX was originally conceived as part of the Marvel MAX line, and was to have been written by Brian Wood and drawn by David Choe. The series was going to be a Darker and Edgier Deconstruction of the X-Men books focusing on young mutants and how their powers affected those around them, and would have starred Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, and two new mutants named Angie and Purge. The whole project fell apart due to Marvel deeming NYX unsuitable for its audience, and Wood ended up recycling the premise for his creator-owned series DEMO.
  • Mystique was going to be revealed as not Nightcrawler's mother, but his father, having impregnated another woman while in the form of a man. Executive Meddling prevented this one, as it was expected to be controversial. Fans however seem to like the idea, and occasionally a writer will suggest retconning it into the truth (particularly since the reveal years later of Nightcrawler's actual father, who is literally the Marvel equivalent of Satannote , has pretty much caused massive Fanon Discontinuity and is among one of the main reasons Chuck Austen has become a pariah among comics fans).
  • Chris Claremont, for fairly obvious reasons, is responsible for a ton of these in X-Men. Some of these were the result of Executive Meddling, either directly or from moving him to a different book and his replacement following other ideas. For example...
    • Mr. Sinister was originally supposed to be the psychic projection of a kid who started stalking Scott Summers when they were both in an orphanage together. The fact that he was the invention of a child was the explanation for his (frankly) ridiculous name, and his entire look.
    • Claremont had considered revealing that most of Sabretooth's appearances prior to 1988 were actually clones created by Mr. Sinister, explaining the embarrassing defeats the character had suffered before he was revamped as a serious threat. He'd also wanted to reveal that Sabretooth was actually Wolverine's father, explaining why he was obsessed with proving Logan wasn't better than him.
    • Related to that, John Byrne has said there were plans for a story where Mariko would have been brutalized by Sabretooth, resulting in her being rendered brain dead. Heartbroken, Wolverine would have cut her life support to let her die with dignity, leading to a final confrontation with Sabretooth. The fight was to have ended with Sabretooth being Killed Off for Real and Logan learning that Creed was his father all along. What makes this interesting is that this was all planned to occur in 1981, five years before Sabretooth and Wolverine met on-panel for the first time in the Mutant Massacre story arc.
    • Gambit was supposed to be Claremont's Take That response on New Teen Titans villain Terra, as far as being a spy Mr. Sinister hired to infiltrate the X-Men, right down to seducing Storm to get the X-Men leader's confidence.
    • He also planned on using the Fury, created by Alans Moore and Davis in Captain Britain. The Fury would have merged with Nimrod, and ultimately been responsible for the Mutant Massacre, as well as teaming up with James "Mad Jim" Jaspers, another Moore/Davis creation, to destroy the X-Men. A dispute between Marvel and Moore over compensation note  led to editorial nixing this version, and instead we got Mr. Sinister and the Marauders, and the Adversary, respectively.
    • There was also the notion of a lengthy plotline where Wolverine is turned into the brainwashed minion of "The Hand"note , kidnapping Jean Grey to become his "Queen of the Night", leading to Forge and Banshee having to rescue Jean.
      • This "Dark Wolverine" story was later repitched as the opening storyline for the 1991 X-Men series: rather than fighting Magneto and the Acolytes, the X-Men would fight the Reavers, of which Lady Deathstrike would kill Wolverine via ripping out his heart. But the Hand (revealed to be in league with the Shadow King) would obtain Wolverine's corpse and recreate his heart/resurrect him as an agent and have him reappear in Uncanny X-Men #294, as part of the rematch between the X-Men and the Shadow King and his army of minions, as the Shadow King (via Gateway) seeks to gain control over everyone's dreams.
    • The infamous Race Lift for Psylocke was intended to be temporary, and was only supposed to last until the end of the Acts of Vengeance Crisis Crossover. The change proved so popular that Claremont decided to keep Psylocke Asian, and this has since become the character's default appearance in the movies, games, and TV shows.
    • Claremont and Byrne almost did a What If...? issue about Magneto forming the X-Men after Charles is killed by Lucifer. The X-Men would have essentially been an expanded version of the Brotherhood, including Cyclops, Quicksilver, Iceman, Beast (who would have had mechanical Wolverine Claws), Archangel (who would have wielded a flaming sword), Scarlet Witch and Jean Grey (who would have been called Psyke instead of Marvel Girl). The issue would have seen the mutants defeating the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom (with Magneto taking advantage of Doom's metal armor to kill him), only to be forced to save the world when the Silver Surfer and Galactus arrived on Earth at the end of the story.
    • Kitty Pryde was originally created as part of a group of young mutants, as Claremont and Byrne had wanted to bring back the school aspect of the Xavier Institute. Her teammates were to have been a young Reality Warper named Willie Evans (who had previously appeared in Fantastic Four) and a monstrous hillbilly teen named Caliban (no relation to the Morlock who would later be introduced with that name) who had the power to project his life force into inanimate objects. The plans for the team were squelched by Jim Shooter, but ended up being recycled to some degree for the later New Mutants series.
    • Beast was originally going to be part of the X-Treme X-Men, and Claremont plotted out three years of stories featuring the character. This was scrapped when Grant Morrison pinched Beast for the New X-Men.
  • Dave Cockrum designed an amphibious mutant heroine named Silkie, who he'd intended to have join the X-Men in issue #150. However, he wanted to retain ownership of the character, something Marvel would not allow. He ended up recycling the character for his creator-owned series The Futurians.
  • Chris Claremont's Phoenix mini-series pencilled by Rick Leonardi, further exploring the future relationship of Rachel Summers and Franklin Richards, later becoming the story "Days of Future Present".
  • Chris Claremont's Excalibur Special Edition pencilled by Rick Leonardi, featuring Shadowcat and Phoenix, later becoming the mini-series "X-Men: True Friends".
  • Uncanny X-Men #209 ends with Spiral abducting Rachel Summers. Rachel returns in Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn, and references her time in the Mojoverse throughout the series. The story was planned to be shown in a limited series or graphic novel.
  • Excalibur #67 mentions a Technet limited series.
  • The division of the franchise into two books in 1991 might also have gone differently. A piece of original pin-up art by Jim Lee shows Wolverine, Beast, Forge, Strong Guy, Jubilee, Psylocke, Storm (in an unused costume) and Rogue, with Magneto looming in the background. Another shows Xavier, standing up, with Jean in an updated Phoenix costume, Storm (in the familiar '90s costume, suggesting this one was drawn later), Wolverine, Colossus, Gambit and Beast. There is a similar piece by Whilce Portacio that includes Cyclops, Jean, Archangel, Iceman, Gambit and Colossus with Xavier behind them. It's also been said that at some point Xavier would have been killed and Gateway, of all people, would have mentored some of the mutants. Also, let's not forget Jim Lee's "Things to Come" illustration with a creepy Skrull woman and Selene alongside Matsu'o, Omega Red, Longshot and Dazzler. You can see all of the art here.
    • Selene was there because she was the leader of the Upstarts, Lee's replacement for the Hellfire Club. Unfortunately, Selene was put on a bus when Lee left Marvel, as far as Bob Harras and Fabian Niceza deciding to use Gamemaster instead as the Big Bad.
  • The X-Men villain Apocalypse had been suggested as both the mastermind behind the Weapon X program (a plan fitting an immortal mutant with advanced technology and a penchant for playing god), as well as the third Summers brother who was sent back in time (explaining his and Mr. Sinister's obsessions with the Summers bloodline). Instead, Weapon X became part of Weapon Plus (with Captain America and Nuke being part of said program, as Weapons 0, 01, and 07) and the third Summers brother was sent to his death by Professor X, who then wiped Cyclops' memory when he got upset about it, but that brother came back to life with super-charged powers and conquered a galactic empire.
    • Speaking of Apocalypse, he was almost never invented at all. The first issues of X-Factor featured a mysterious master of the group known as the Alliance of Evil; writer Bob Layton was fired after five issues, and was replaced by Louise Simonson, who, along with editor Bob Harras, decided to create a new villain to be that mysterious master, and gave us one of the most dangerous X-Foes. Layton's original choice for the shadowy figure, however, was...uh...the Owl.
      • And speaking of X-Factor, Dazzler was originally supposed to have been the fifth member of the team. The final issue of her solo series even ended with Beast suggesting that she join the group. She was cut from the roster when John Byre decided to bring back Jean Grey instead.
  • Whilce Portacio and Karl Altstaetter originally wanted Bishop to be Filipino, but before they could lock down his ethnicity, Bob Harrass suggested that he be black, since the X-Men have historically had a large number of black fans.
  • Joe Kelly had wanted to have Jean become the Phoenix for real (since the original "Dark Phoenix Saga" had been Retconned to establish that it had never really been Jean), which would have caused tension with the X-Men who remembered what happened the last time Dark Phoenix showed up. The plan was to have Jean fight and struggle with her Phoenix persona, but ultimately win out and gain control, thus granting the readers the happy ending they were denied in the original tale.
  • The seminal graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills was originally going to open with Magneto being Killed Off for Real in order to establish William Stryker as a serious threat. As the graphic novel wasn't supposed to be considered canon at the time, the creators were allowed more leeway than usual.
    • Neal Adams was the original artist for the project, and he even drew up the first six pages (including the aforementioned Magneto death scene) before being informed that Jim Shooter couldn't come up with a contract for him. He ended up being replaced by Brent Anderson.
    • Angel also appeared as part of the team in the pages Neal Adams drew.
    • As was mentioned, the book wasn't supposed to be canon, and in Chris Claremont's own words, William Stryker was never supposed to appear again. The villain's major role in X2: X-Men United motivated Marvel to officially declare God Loves, Man Kills canon and bring Stryker back to the franchise. He's since become a popular character despite his small number of appearances.
  • Grant Morrison, during his time writing X-Men, had planned to use Rogue and have her killed, setting up a brand new Rogue that would be a mix of her X-Men: Evolution self and the version played by Anna Paquin. However, Chris Claremont called dibs on Rogue for X-Treme X-Men...and ended up killing Psylocke.
    • Adding to that, the scene in "Assault On Weapon Plus" where Logan consoles a drunken Cyclops was originally going to be Logan consoling a drunken Gambit after Rogue's death.
    • The original cast of the book was going to be different as well. In addition to Rogue, Morrison had wanted to use Storm, Colossus, and Moira McTaggart as part of the team, but had to change his plans when editorial informed him that Rogue and Storm were being used by Claremont, while both Colossus and Moira had recently been killed off. He ended up choosing Emma Frost and Beast to replace Colossus and Moira as the team's bruiser and scientist, respectively.
    • The U-Men were originally going to be called the Black Kross.
    • Magneto was planned to be Killed Off for Real.
  • Dazzler was originally modeled after Grace Jones, but Filmworks representatives wanted Bo Derek to play the role in the (failed) live-action adaptation, so she was redesigned to be a blonde white woman. Casablanca Records and Filmworks would then wind up backing out of the record and movie deal over financial concerns.
  • M in Generation X was intended by Scott Lobdell to actually be the twins Nicole and Claudette, with there being no real "Monet St. Croix" in sight (as it was only an alias they'd use in their merged form). Penance was also meant to be a Bosnian refugee by the name of Yvette. When Lobdell left and Larry Hama took over the title, he went with the idea of the twins merging but also opted to have there be a real Monet, who was trapped in the form of Penance. He explained away the "Yvette" references to Penance by stating that it was simply one part of Monet's overly long name note . A rundown of the situation can be read here.
  • New Mutants(vol. 2) #8 and #9 had to be completely rewritten and redrawn at the last second over the controversial subject matter. The original story had Anole's parents getting offended by the sight of Karma kissing her girlfriend during Parent's Day at the Xavier Institute, which leads to Anole coming out as gay to protest their bigotry. After his parents react poorly, Anole goes to Hellion and Elixir for support, but is shunned by them. Feeling alone and friendless, Anole then kills himself, which cements Hellion as an irredeemable Jerk Ass and causes Elixir to undergo some serious Character Development out of guilt. Bill Jemas was very antsy about the story, and it was ultimately pulped, leading to Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir having to hastily write a new one in its place.
  • Mark Waid's original suggestion for Onslaught was that he be the personification of Professor Xavier's long-suppressed dark side. He's since said that he feels the origin they went with instead was needlessly confusing.
  • The original The X-Men Vs. The Avengers mini-series (not to be confused with Avengers vs. X-Men) was supposed to end with Magneto (who at the time was an Anti-Hero and acting as the leader of the New Mutants) falling from grace and returning to villainy. Editorial changed their minds at the last second, resulting in the ending being hastily rewritten and a new creative team taking over for the final issue.
  • Gambit's concept art shows outfits with varying placement of belts, boots and pants, Gambit and a younger Storm working together as thieves, and a simpler uniform design by Igor Kordey for X-Treme X-Men.
  • "Magneto War" was originally going to be about Magneto tilting the Earth on its axis, sending the world into an ice age. Concept art by Leinel Yu shows the X-men wearing winter gear for this event.
  • Brian Michael Bendis was offered the job of writing Ultimate X-Men from issue #1. While he eventually declined the job, he did sketch out a script for issue #1. If you want to read it, you can find it at the end of Ultimate X-Men Ultimate Collection book 1.
  • Had X-23 continued, Marjorie Liu had plans for Black Widow to become Laura's new mentor at the Avengers Academy.

    Spider-Man 
  • The Green Goblin was originally intended by Stan Lee to be an actual demonic goblin-thing released from an Egyptian sarcophagus. Steve Ditko apparently convinced him that a human psychopath in a costume fit the tone of the Spidey series better. This idea was used in the Ultimate Universe, where that universe's Norman Osborn mutates into an actual goblin due to an experiment.
    • Ditko allegedly didn't intend for the Goblin to be Norman Osborn, though; that was Stan Lee's idea. Ditko objected vehemently, and Lee won the argument by virtue of being editor. This was rumor to be the last in a long series of arguments the two of them had over Spidey's direction; allegedly, Ditko considered this one to be the final straw, and he quit Marvel. However, Ditko later stated that their falling out had nothing to do with the Green Goblin's identity, and claimed that they'd both agreed that Norman should be the Goblin from the start.
    • Some rumors state that Ned Leeds was Steve Ditko's choice for the Green Goblin, backed up by the fact that near the end of Ditko's run, Ned Leeds and Peter had a very antagonistic relationship where they patched things up as soon as Romita took over. Ned was later framed for being the Hobgoblin, making him Marvel's go-to guy for not quite-goblins.
  • Tom DeFalco had intended to reunite Peter and Mary Jane with their daughter at the end of his run on Amazing Spider-Man, but his successors, Howard Mackie and John Byrne, wanted to bring Spidey back to his classic everyman roots and requested his long dead Aunt May be brought back to life instead. As luck would have it, Mackie and Byrne's stint on ASM was a critical and commercial disaster, and Tom was given the opportunity to produce a one-shot "What If?" based on the premise of the daughter being alive and well inheriting her father's legacy. The "What If?" was a success and led to a twelve year run for Tom on the Spider-Girl book, which fast became the longest running female-led superhero book in the history of Marvel Comics.
  • Spider-Man: Chapter One was going to be followed by a Spider-Man: Chapter Two miniseries. The rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man was already using elements from Chapter One like Captain Power, and newer stories would have continued treating Chapter One as the official version.
  • Spider-Man vs. Wolverine was originally supposed to end with Wolverine actually defeating Spider-Man, but the outcome was changed to a stalemate after some Marvel staffers complained about the result.
  • Instead of Eddie Brock, the Venom symbiote was originally supposed to go from Parker to a woman who had a grudge of her own against Spider-Man. The story was to be that a cabbie watching Spider-Man as he was driving hit and kills her husband trying to flag him down, she was also pregnant at the time, but lost the child. However, that idea was discarded when it was decided that she wouldn't be a credible enough threat.
    • Similarly, Venom was intended to be killed off in issue 400 (he first appeared in issue 300), so the symbiote could move on to other characters, like J. Jonah Jameson. It was swiftly killed when Venom gained popularity.
    • Marvel at the time, also felt that readers would not view a woman as a physical threat to Spidey (nevermind the fact that a woman with the Venom symbiote would by definition be physically stronger than Spidey, just like scrawny Cletus Kasady is with the Carnage symbiote), and in turn became something of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in that Spidey doesn't have many memorable female villains.
  • When J. Michael Straczynski thought up his ridiculously controversial Sins Past storyline (which revealed that Gwen Stacy had had a child with Norman Osborn, he planned for Peter Parker to be the childrens' father, but Joe Quesada, the EIC of Marvel, felt that this would age the character too much.
    • J. Michael Straczynski, then still the writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, originally planned a very different version of One More Day, in which many events in Peter's life were changed by his helping Harry Osborn through his drug addiction. This would result in Norman Osborn never returning to being the Green Goblin, Gwen Stacy never dying, Harry and MJ never breaking up, and, in effect, Peter never marrying MJ. This was rejected, however, because Joe Q. didn't want to make all the stories of the past 35 years moot. Unfortunately, this storyline would make much more sense than Joe's version of One More Day.
      • While it might have made for a better story than "Spider-Man trades his marriage to the devil," it also would've COMPLETELY ERASED 75% OF MARVEL CONTINUITY (and well over 95% of Spider-Man continuity). It would effectively be a Crisis on Infinite Earths-style reboot, replacing the entire Marvel Universe with an alternate timeline. As much as fans hate One More Day, most of them would probably agree that JMS' original version would've been even more of a disaster.
  • Another Spider-Man example, and possibly the best-known; Gwen Stacy. Stan Lee has said several times that he originally intended Gwen to be Peter's one-and-only, and that MJ was created only as competition for Gwen. However, for several reasons too numerous (and controversial) to name here, the writer who succeeded Stan, Gerry Conway, wrote the now iconic comic The Night Gwen Stacy Died while Stan was away. Many fans still wonder what might have been had Gwen Stacy survived.
    • The story was almost The Night Aunt May Died or The Night Mary Jane Watson Died. Shortly after Gerry Conway joined the comic, John Romita convinced him that one of their storylines should involve killing off a main character. Aunt May was the original choice, but the two would later shoot this idea down because of how predictable it would be. After more considerations, they narrowed the victim down to either Mary Jane Watson or Gwen Stacy. The latter was ultimately chosen because she was the Love Interest, and therefor considered more "bullet proof" by the readers.
  • Superior Spider-Man nearly happened a year or two earlier. Many at the staff wanted it to happen after Spider-Island, but Dan Slott thought it was too early to pull it off (he wanted to do the switch over at 700) and, thus, created Ends of the Earth.
  • Prior to writing "Renew Your Vows" for the Secret Wars (2015) event, Dan Slott had repeatedly pitched for the return of the Spider-Marriage to editorial, and was shot down at every turn.
  • The Clone Saga was going to be revealed as the work of Mephisto, but it was decided that it would be stupid for Mephisto to get involved with Spider-Man.
    • The one-shot 101 Ways to End The Clone Saga showcased a number of other ideas that were shot down, including killing Ben during Onslaught, having one of the two Parkers come down with short-term amnesia after an explosion, confusing him as to if he was Ben or Peter due to the fact that his hair would be brown again, putting Peter through a Stable Time Loop, etc.
  • When he was writing Spider-Man 2099, Peter David had intended for the Goblin (a Legacy Character of the Green Goblin) to be Father Jennifer, the sister of his love interest Dana D'Angelo. However, when he left the book during the Writer Revolt following the removal of Joey Cavalieri as the Marvel 2099's editor, David's replacements, Ben Raab and Terry Kavanagh, revealed it was Miguel's brother, Gabriel. It was later retconned to be an impostor, but it was ironic, considering Peter David was the one who "revealed" that the Hobgoblin was Ned Leeds, which went against Hobgoblin Roger Stern's original intention and that "reveal" was itself retconned.note 
    • Speaking of which, Tom DeFalco had wanted to reveal that the Hobgoblin was Richard Fisk, the son of The Kingpin. His other idea was that Roderick Kingsley (Stern's original choice for the Hobgoblin) would turn out to be another villain, the Rose. Ironically, this ended up going the complete opposite route; Kingsley was ultimately revealed to be the Hobgoblin (years later), while Fisk was revealed to be the Rose.
  • The legendary storyline Kraven's Last Hunt was originally a story between Wonder Man and his brother, the Grim Reaper. Marvel didn't like it, so it was sent to DC, repurposed as a storyline between Batman and The Joker. DC didn't like it either, so it was repurposed again as this.
  • According to Brian Bendis, the ending of Spider-Men was supposed to have led to the introduction of an Earth-616 version of Miles Morales, who would have then joined the cast of Amazing Spider-Man as Peter's new friend.
  • Sean McKeever pitched a Spin-Off of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane that would have starred Firestar, but Marvel was more interested in a continuation of the original series, something that McKeever didn't want to do. Two years later, he changed his mind and pitched a new Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane story that would have been set in winter and featured MJ and Peter in a Love Triangle with a teenage Johnny Blaze. Unfortunately, by that point, Marvel no longer had any desire to revive the series.

    Marvel and DC 
  • During various points in time, DC and/or Marvel have had opportunities to buy or license the rights to each other and/or some of their characters.
    • There has long been a rumor, for example, that during the 70s, Marvel had an opportunity to buy DC's stable, but decided not to when they were told they wouldn't be getting Superman, Batman, and possibly Wonder Woman.
    • Again, but during the 80s, Marvel had a chance to license the DC Superheroes, and in fact probably would have if not for legal problems.
    • In the 1990s, while Marvel was in bankruptcy, Warner Brothers (and by extension DC) had a chance to buy Marvel, but, of course, it never happened.
  • Following Marvel vs. DC, there were plans for Wonder Woman to go to the Marvel universe for a year, while Daredevil would go to the DC universe (the pair's sales were roughly equal). Concerns about a potential copyright minefield prevented this. There were also talk of The Flash and Quicksilver bouncing to each other's worlds, too, but the copyright problems nixed that, too.
  • In a special feature of the JLA/Avengers hardcover edition, it was revealed that the original plan for Issue #3 was for the DCU to be portrayed with 60s era Marvel aesthetics (more soap opera elements and character conflicts) and the Marvel U portrayed a la Silver Age DC (more bombastic and light-hearted). This was nixed by DC in favor of the eventual darker Issue #3.
  • There was to be a second X-Men/New Teen Titans crossover that involved the Hellfire Club teaming up with Brother Blood, but the falling-out between DC and Marvel, due to Jim Shooter's temper tantrum that was "It should have been X-Men/Legion of Super Heroes", nipped the idea at the bud.
  • Jack Kirby's New Gods were originally going to debut in Marvel, and would have either tied in with The Mighty Thor or The Inhumans. However before plans had taken their final shape, Kirby got fed up with his situation at Marvel (being co-creator of at least half their money-makers with no creative custody of them) and jumped ship to DC, taking them with him.

    Watchmen 
  • Watchmen was originally penned to be about a group of Charlton Comics characters DC had recently acquired. But since the plot Alan Moore wrote had many of them killed off and thereby unusable in future story lines, it was suggested he make up his own characters.
    • That's not all. The second Silk Spectre was going to be a teenage runaway simply named Silk, the world would actually be Twenty Minutes into the Future, with no disease and easy genetic modification. Antarctica was going to be a huge resort for the rich and wealthy, an idea which ended up trickling down to ultimately being only Ozymandias' lair.
    • Not only would the Charlton characters be unusable, but it would have a profound affect on the DCU, so it was then to have the story take place in alternate version of Earth-4.
  • There was supposed to be a legitimate prequel series to Watchmen, The Minutemen, which would have been of equal length and created by Alan Moore and David Gibbons. Moore's falling out with DC ended the prospects of this. Stranger still, going by comments made by Gibbons and Moore at the time, the tone would have been very different, attempting to recreate Golden Age comics as realistically as possible (if not an actual Reconstruction). This would have had far-reaching effects, since imitation of Watchmen's style was responsible for some of the worst excesses of the Dark Age of Comics.

    Sonic The Hedgehog 
  • Lots of storylines from the Sonic the Hedgehog comics end up like this, most notably an alternate version of the "Endgame" series where Sally was actually killed instead of put in a coma, a storyline involving a secret romance between NICOLE and A.D.A.M, and the very start of the "Mobius: X Years Later" storyline, dealing with the crisis that Locke "prepared" his son Knuckles to defend against, as per prophecy (hint: it involves an alien Eggman Expy). Oh, let's not forget the comic's recent Word of Gay reveal...
    • In fact, the sheer amount of this trope in the comic, combined with the demand by fans to know about it, has pushed former head writer Ken Penders to work towards revealing all of these dirty little secrets on his webpage. Thus far, plot details announced include the death of Snivley in a Heroic Sacrifice against Eggman, Sonic gaining a higher rank than Sally, conflicting with their relationship, and an alliance between Knothole and Station Square.
      • Ken also planned to have Bunnie and Antoine married as well. However, unlike Ian who blasted through the engagement and wedding in under three issues, Ken would of had the proposal in issue 175 and the actual wedding in 200.
      • Speaking of Antoine, he wasn't supposed to have been replaced with his Evil Twin, Patch, either: Karl had wanted Antoine to actually take a level in badass and end the Bunnie/Antoine relationship, but Ken hated it.
    • And Karl Bollers wanted to: do a story arc where Knuckles and Monkey Khan get brainwashed by the Iron Queen and Eggman (respectfully) as part of a three-way battle between the Queen, Eggman and Mammoth Mogul over a power source equal to the Master Emerald; turn Snively into a Powered Armor-wielding Anti-Hero who allies with Shadow against Eggman; and have the Source of All return, being controlled by Ixis Naugus.
      • After Sonic and Sally went through the highly controversial break-up, Karl had plans for Sonic to date Amy Rose. However, Fiona Fox would end up developing feelings for Sonic and the two would become rivals for his affections. Though both girls would have a chance with Sonic, it never came to the level of Archie-Betty-Veronica fighting.
      • Given the reveal that the comic is practically being crushed under layers of Executive Meddling, it's hardly surprising.
    • The "Anonymous" storyline was originally supposed to reveal that the one acting as Anonymous was actually the original Robotnik (the one killed off in issue #50), but the plan fell through.
    • Oh, and the alien Knuckles was supposed to fight in the prophecy? It was supposed to be a man named Dr. Ian Droid, the bad guy who appeared when Sonic teamed up with the Image Comics characters.
    • The aforementioned Sally incident would of had started the same way the normal story began, with Sonic waking Sally from her supposed slumber. However, Sally would start acting more and more out of character before being revealed as a robot replacing the Killed Off for Real Sally.
    • Sonic Universe #50, the last issue before the jump to the upcoming crossover with Mega Man, was originally billed as the conclusion to the Sonic Underground series during one of the recent ComiCons. However, it was revealed that it was now a story involving two versions of Metal Sonic and no word on what has happened to this story.
  • After Sonic the Comic went reprint-only, writer Nigel Kitching posted some of his intended ideas for stories on the STC mailing list - here and here for example. Some of those ideas were later adopted by the STC-Online Fan Web Comics.
  • According to writer Ian Flynn, there was supposed to be two fusion characters in Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide. The comic showcased the first, Chaos Devil, a fusion of the water creature Chaos and Wily Base boss Yellow Devil. The other was supposed to be "Metal Bass", a fusion of Metal Sonic and Bass. However, someone (he forgot who) nixed it, and we have Sonic and Mega Man battling Metal Sonic and Bass.
    • Ian Flynn also wanted the Cosmic Retcon that would happen at the end be completely and utterly clean-cut, with no one remembering the old universe. However, he reigned on it when the editor asked him to, not wanting to alienate the older readers.
  • The original origin for future Ensemble Darkhorse NICOLE was actually much more humorous in nature - Robotnik revived the Universalamander, a robot that forced Sonic to go Super Sonic for the first time. When the attempt to reshrink him failed, Sally whips out NICOLE, here called "NICOLE 7000", and uses her help to help Rotor build a new shrink ray that shrinks him to a molecular level. Word Of God from Ian Flynn says that the story happened "to a point" - they fought the Universalamander and he was shrunken, but NICOLE's involvement was non-canon.
  • The infamous storyline "Endangered Species" was a completely different story than what was written. Among the things noted:
    • The original solicits mentioned the Dark Egg Legion also fighting against Thrash the Devil. This would have meant that it would be a Mêlée à Trois between the Dark Egg Legion, Thrash the Devil and Team Fighters for the fate of the Echidna species instead of Thrash outright winning right then and there.
    • The cover to the second part had Julie-Su back to back with Amy Rose. Julie was removed from the final cover.
    • The cover to the third part had half of it changed three times. The original cover had Lien-Da having her whip binding Sonic. The almost finished cover replaced Lien with metal tendrils and the final added in leaves to represent the returning Krudzu.
    • As Ian Flynn has stated: The arc was originally supposed to have a happy ending.
    • Someone obtained one of the original pages from Sonic #243 and, from clues gathered from it as it was already heavily altered, revealed that the Death Egg II would have actually been over Avalon, suggesting that Eggman was supposed to have invaded the village.
  • According to artist Ben Bates, had Ken Penders not tried to sue everyone and Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide not interfered, issue #250 would have ended the Mecha Sally storyline. Interestingly, Sally's redesign for the reboot was already set up for her return in that issue.
    • "Shadow Fall", the first storyline involving Team Dark after the reboot, was meant to involve Black Doom and Mephiles. However, those were shot down because Black Doom would have been dead and Mephiles wiped out by the wonders of time travel.
  • Nigel Kitching, writer for Sonic the Comic, actually offered Ian Flynn usage of the Brotherhood of Metallix, the army of Metal Sonics from the series. However, while Ian was flattered for the offer, he admitted he couldn't do it - the red tape involved in it would have been enough to choke a bear.
  • With the release of Lost Hedgehog Tales' first chapter:
    • The big story would have went from #225 to #275, with the intention of putting the Freedom Fighters through their Darkest Hour, delivering them a loss that they couldn't just easily pick back up from.
    • Sally would have been roboticized in #225, but Sonic's 20th Anniversary scuttled that, leading to "Genesis".
    • Antoine was originally planned to have died, but fan outcry over Sally's fate and Antoine's sacrifice saved him.
    • Hershey would have been revealed to be alive and undercover as a member of the Dark Egg Legion. When told of Geoffery's actions, she would have left to confront him.

    Transformers 
  • Due to Executive Meddling, the grand finale to Simon Furman's long-in-the-making saga for IDW's Transformers comic series was cut from 12 issues down to 4. Readers therefore missed out on epic battles featuring big bruisers like Sixshot and Monstructor, while the long-awaited confrontation between Optimus Prime and Nemesis Prime was reduced to a poorly-explained affair that lasted around three pages. It also resulted in many storylines and character arcs being shortened or even ruined. One character arc involved Sideswipe trying to get to Earth in order to save his brother Sunstreaker who had been kidnapped. The original ending had them being reunited and Sideswipe learning an important lesson, the new ending completely erases any potential brotherly relations between the two and Sideswipe learning the lesson that he doesn't give two craps about his brother or any suffering he experiences. One wonders just how much action readers missed out on by the story being reduced to a third of its planned length.
  • Techno-X, a proposed 90's revamp of Circuit Breaker and the Neo-Knights by Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman, set outside the Transformers universe and integrating the team more fully into the Marvel universe.
  • We nearly got a DC Comics/Transformers crossover, which would have involved Optimus Prime becoming a Green Lantern and Transformers being made out of Batman's Batwing and Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet. But by the time the story was pitched, DC was getting ready for its New 52 reboot, so the idea was nixed.

    My Little Pony 
  • Andy Price originally wanted everything to be hand-done, including the interior colors, similar to how his covers are done. That would have taken far too much time, however, so the interiors are digitally colored.
  • On page 3 of Issue #1, there was originally going to be a pony version of Sergio Aragonés among the No Celebrities Were Harmed ponies at the mustache kiosk, but Andy Price ran out of room.
  • Unfinished versions of page 3 of Issue #1 had the pony partly under a 100 weight use Symbol Swearing instead of saying "OUCH!"
  • Thom Zahler (creator of Love and Capes and also did the Twilight Sparkle spotlight issue) seriously pitched My Little Pony for IDW's Mars Attacks! Cross Through event. The plot would involve Princess Celestia casting a spell to disable the Martians' weapons, causing them to find hilarious new ways to attack ponies only to fail and eventually learn the magic of friendship. The Martians would return to their own dimenision to spread love & tolerance, only to confuse their fellow Martians that didn't visit Equestria. Alas, the Cross Through came and went, and no ponies...
  • According to Christina Rice, an early draft of the issue #2 of the upcoming Fiendship Is Magic mini-series originally had Lord Tirek kill a unicorn, but it was eventually scrapped as too dark for an all-ages comic.

    Other 
  • Image Comics 1963 Annual and 1963 #1/2 were announced but never published.
  • William S. Burroughs spent much of the 1970s collaborating with art student Malcolm McNeill to make a "Word/Image Novel" of Burrough's story Ah Pook Is Here. The book would have been one of the first graphic novels, but due to issues with publishers, the book went into development hell before being scrapped and unfinished. Ah Pook was eventually published as a short story without any of McNeill's artwork, with an animated adaptation (with no input from McNeill) being released decades later. Eventually, McNeill published his Ah Pook art as well as a companion book detailing the obstacles that he and Burroughs faced during their collaboration. The surreal, disturbing and detailed nature of McNeill's art leaves one to speculate the impact a completed Ah Pook book would have had on the comics industry and would have arguably catapulted Burroughs and McNeill as comic book icons.
  • Image Comics Doom’s IV #2 mentions an unpublished “Doom’s IV Sourcebook”.
  • The ending of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac was open-ended enough to admit a continuation, to say the least. In the first printing of Squee!#4, Jhonen Vasquez mentions his burning desire to get to work on the new JTHM series, and also recalls a mention in I Feel Sick of how Satan (who had been providing Rikki Simons and Vasquez with emotional support and sandwiches)was still hoping for a new Johnny series. From all appearances, the Prince of Lies is destined for disappointment, as are a good number of JTHM's fans...
  • Miracleman provides another Neil Gaiman example. A bit of the story of the fold of Eclipse Comics and the subsequent abbreviation of the comic is rehashed on the Miracleman page, but it doesn't mention that the series practically ended in the middle of a sentence. The frustrating lack of closure, tantalizing hints of what was coming provided in the unpublished pages so easily found online, and Gaiman's immense talent made the demise of the series agonizing.
    • But with Marvel now owning the series and Gaiman being on decent enough terms with them, things might change - as was revealed in the New York Comic Con 2013 as Marvel plans to rerelease all of the stories released by Eclipse Comics culminating in the release of the final issue.
  • In Fables, The Adversary was Gepetto, the puppeteer. However, Willingham actually had a much different plan for The Adversary's identity beforehand. Originally, he wanted the Adversary to be revealed as Peter Pan, who would come to the human world and kidnap children so they would remain young and corrupt. There would also be a hero attempting to save the children, and this would be none other than, of all people, Captain Hook. (Given the fact that Captain Hook was, in the original tales, a former Sadist Teacher, that's definitely irony) However, this was changed to Gepetto because Peter Pan wasn't public domain in the UK, and the characters of Fables all have to be public domain.
  • Star Raiders was originally intended as a 120-page-long limited series. Unfortunately, due to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, Atari canceled the deal with DC Comics midway through development. With 40 pages of painted art already completed, DC decided to cut their losses by commissioning an additional 20 pages to finish the story, then released it as a graphic novel. Needless to say, the story suffers from the compressed story arc, and many characters and plot points are Left Hanging as a result.
  • Heroic Publishing, around 2006 or 2007, was trying to get people interested in Fantastic Girl, a planned multi-media sensation who would diversify their line-up by being a Token Black heroine that would appeal to the old-school Blaxploitation fans. Fan reaction who totally negative, due to the limited info of her seemed to establish her as an Ethnic Counterpart of their Flare character, and as a result the character was quietly dropped.
  • The original six-issue adaptation of the Champions role-playing game was originally going to be 48 pages per issue and was going to feature solo stories of the individual heroes on the team as well as subplots ultimately cut out of the actual books: The search for the new Giant, The Winter Wonderlass, and many others.
    • The first four issues would introduce the heroes individually, with the fifth issue revealing many of the menaces being connected, gathering the heroes together.
      • Also, Flare was originally not going to be part of the team.
  • Another Heroic Publishing example: Eternity Smith was considered for Eclipse's line of 16-Page 50-cent bi-weekly comics, but creator Dennis Mallonee declined. DC was also interested in it, but Mallonee took the book to Renegade Press for five issues before becoming part of Heroic Publishing.
  • More Heroic Publishing info: Icicle got her solo title by accident: Heroic was planning to use League of Champions as an anthology book for most of their characters, but George Perez was interested in doing the book, so they slapped together Icicle on short notice.
  • Star Wars
    • Not a comic book, per se, but the Star Wars daily strips were nearly cancelled and taken off the LA Times at the end of 1980. The Star Wars fanclub managed to convince them otherwise via a letter. The response also mentioned that they attempted to do something similar with Ziggy.
    • Peter David was initially tapped to write the first Star Wars: Infinities mini-series, which would have adapted A New Hope. The comic would have seen Uncle Owen buying R5-D4 instead of R2-D2, which would have set off a chain of events that ended with Princess Leia usurping Darth Vader and the Emperor, and becoming a Sith Lord and the new ruler of the galaxy. She also would have taken on Luke as her apprentice and lover (since neither of them knew they were related). Understandably, Lucasfilm objected to the dark tone and the depiction of Brother-Sister Incest.
    • As mentioned above, Dark Empire was nearly published by Marvel.
    • During Walt Simonson and David Michelinie's run on Marvel Star Wars, the two came up with an idea for a plot where the Empire would build a second Death Star. Lucasfilm vetoed the idea and refused to give an explanation in order to avoid spoiling the plot of Return of the Jedi. Simsonson and Michelinie altered the story slightly to replace the new Death Star with a different Imperial battle station called the Tarkin.
  • At one time, there could have been an Austin Powers comic series. All that is known about it is a poster by J. Scott Campbell.
  • When Image Comics gained the rights to create comics based off of Power Rangers Zeo, they had also plans to cross it over with Youngblood. However, all that came out of it was a small advertisement at the end of the only issue of the Zeo comic and a blurb in an issue of Wizard mentioning what would happen in the first issue.
  • Apparently, there were plans for a Judge Dredd Spin-Off that was to follow a cadet class from day one to graduation.
  • In one interview, Alan Moore once claimed that he'd originally envisioned the titular team in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen being led by Irene Adler, of the famous Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia", but eventually replaced her with Dracula's Wilhelmina Murray because he worried that not enough readers would have heard of Adler.
  • At the same time Archie Comics was pitching possible comics towards Capcom, leading to the creation of Mega Man, they also approached Nintendo with possible comics ideas. Sonic artist Tracy Yardley! sketched up a number of concept arts using characters from Super Mario Bros., Kirby, and Metroid. Sadly, Nintendo turned them down.
  • Alan Moore planned to end his Image Comics series 1963 with an Annual drawn by Jim Lee that would pitted the Marvel Silver Age expies from his series against the more morally ambivalent characters from the Image partners. He got about halfway through the script when Lee announced that he was temporarily retiring from drawing comics, and project was shelved.
  • Archie Comics had a storyline where Archie and his friends went on a world tour, going to various places. One stop was supposed to be in Russia, however this was changed when Putin's controversial anti-LGBT laws took effect and they sent the gang to another location in its stead.
  • Star Trek: "Trial By Fire", issue 62 of the Gold Key Comics series.
  • The series that would eventually become Josie and the Pussycats was originally pitched as a newspaper strip named "Here's Josie" but that didn't work out, so it was pitched to Archie's.