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What Could Have Been / Marvel Cinematic Universe

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There's a pretty substantial quantity of What Could Have Been regarding Marvel Studios and Disney's incredibly successful, multi-billion dollar film franchise. The various elements related to the production of the movies set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe is absolutely astonishing.

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Phase One

    Iron Man 
  • Tom Cruise was the first choice for the role of Tony Stark before Robert Downey Jr. However, the project was shuffled around for a few years and Paramount lost the rights. When they obtained the rights back, Cruise became occupied with other film franchises.
  • Rachel McAdams was approached for the part of Pepper Potts before the casting of Gwyneth Paltrow. McAdams would later go on to play Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange.
  • Len Wiseman had discussions about directing the movie before Jon Favreau was hired.
  • Harry Gregson-Williams was offered to score the film before Ramin Djawadi was hired, but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with Prince Caspian.
  • The film had a lengthy production cycle that dates back to the early 1990's. Jeff Vintar and Stan Lee pitched a story for Fox that would have had M.O.D.O.K. as the main villain, and Quentin Tarantino was approached as the director. Due to having too much on their plate with X-Men and the studio's other Marvel movies (as well as Tom Rotham's rumored dislike of superheroes), Fox ended up selling the rights to New Line.
  • A new script was written for New Line, which featured a Cameo from Nick Fury to set the character up for his own movie. Subsequent drafts also featured Howard Stark (who was still alive in this version) as War Machine, the movie's Big Bad. The execs also made bizarre demands and suggestions, such as saying that Iron Man shouldn't fly and should suit up by using a toaster. David Hayter did some work on the script, while both Joss Whedon and Nick Cassavetes were approached to direct. When production stalled for too long, the license lapsed and the rights returned to Marvel.
  • When the film was officially set up at Marvel Studios as the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Mandarin was originally set to be the main antagonist. Mark Millar convinced Jon Favreau to go with Iron Monger instead, arguing that the Mandarin was a poor tonal fit for an origin movie (in addition to being a walking pile of Unfortunate Implications). Eventually, a Mandarin appeared in Iron Man 3, even if it turned out to be a fraud, and Aldrich Killian was given a similar role (and dragon tattoos), but the real Mandarin will eventually come to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
  • An early draft of the script revealed Tony Stark to be the creator of Otto Octavius's tentacles from Spider-Man 2.
  • Another draft had Crimson Dynamo as the villain, aspects of the character were incorporated into Whiplash in Iron Man 2, by virtue of making him a Russian named Vanko, like the original Dynamo.
  • According to Jeff Bridges, Stane was originally supposed to survive the final battle against Tony, with the heroes opening up the destroyed Iron Monger suit to find that there was no corpse inside. Presumably this would have poised him to return for future movies.
  • There was originally a detailed explanation of the suit's HUD, but test audiences turned out to quickly be able to make sense of it, and were actually more confused by the explanation, so it was all taken out.
  • Samuel L. Jackson recorded an alternate version of the now-famous post-credit stinger, which featured Nick Fury referencing "radioactive bug bites and assorted mutants" during his speech to Tony. It's unknown if this was meant to imply that the then-recent Marvel films from other studios like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy or Fox's X-Men movies existed in the same continuity as Iron Man, but the lines were presumably omitted due to legal reasons (though ironically Spider-Man entered the films directly later on, and the Disney/Fox deal opens the door for the X-Men to appear). This alternate scene sat on the cutting room floor for over a decade until it was released as an extra in a limited edition box set of the entire Infinity Saga.
  • Even the ending of the film was an ad lib! Originally the MCU would have proceeded like the comics, with "Iron Man" being passed off as Stark's bodyguard, but Robert Downey Jr. decided at the last minute to ad lib Stark throwing away the script and revealing the truth. Kevin Feige took a chance on making such a dramatic change to the canon, which encouraged their later experimentation and the creation of a more original franchise.

    The Incredible Hulk 

    Iron Man 2 
  • Emily Blunt was the first choice for the role of Natasha Romanoff before Scarlett Johansson was cast, but turned down the offer in order to star in Gulliver's Travels.
  • Al Pacino was considered for the role of Justin Hammer before the casting of Sam Rockwell.
  • Tim Robbins was considered for the part of Howard Stark before John Slattery was cast.
  • Edward Norton was rumored to reprise his role as Bruce Banner, in a cameo for this film, as a foreshadowing of The Avengers.
  • Rumiko Fujikawa was initially going to appear, with Marvel wanting Zhang Ziyi for the role. Her part was cut due to the film already having too much going on, but Viral Marketing showcasing her Stark-Fujikawa subsidiary was still used to promote the movie.
  • There were plans for Paul Bettany to appear in a flashback scene that would have explained the origin of JARVIS. Presumably, he would have played the original Edwin Jarvis (a role that eventually went to James D'Arcy in Agent Carter).
  • According to rumors, the film was originally meant to be Darker and Edgier, and would've dealt with Tony's alcoholism and self-destructive behavior in a much more serious manner. However, Marvel's Creative Committee got upset about certain scenes (including one where a drunken Tony would've verbally abused Pepper), leading to this subplot being nixed.
  • An alternate ending was shot where Vanko is revealed to have survived his apparent self-destruction, only to be killed by War Machine. The studio went with the more ambiguous Never Found the Body exit because they wanted to make it possible for Vanko to return in future MCU movies. However, due to the great deal of Creator Backlash from Rourke, it's really unlikely we'll be seeing Vanko again anytime soon.
  • Ivan Vanko originally had a tattoo of Loki on his neck. The film's producers feared it would cause confused fans to believe that Vanko would have a connection to this other villain from the same Marvel Cinematic Universe, so the tattoo was removed in post-production using CGI.


    Captain America: The First Avenger 

    The Avengers 
  • Jensen Ackles was approached for the role of Clint Barton before Jeremy Renner was cast, but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with Supernatural. Ackles previously auditioned for Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was approached for the part of Bruce Banner before the casting of Mark Ruffalo. Phoenix was later considered to portray the titular character in Doctor Strange.
  • Morena Baccarin, Jessica Lucas, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead screen-tested for the part of Maria Hill before Cobie Smulders was cast.
  • Joe Carnahan and Sam Mendes were considered to direct the film before Joss Whedon was hired.
  • Early production ideas included Ant-Man and The Wasp joining the team, like in the original comics and The Ultimates, which the film is heavily based on.
  • In addition, a lot of stuff about Captain America's adjusting to the 21st century was left on the cutting room for time and for the future Captain America sequel, most notably a scene where he would have met a now very old Peggy Carter.
  • Similar to the above, Whedon supposedly had a detailed backstory for Hawkeye written up, but was unable to even reference any of it due to time constraints. And, during the early planning stages (back when they were still writing Iron Man 2), Hawkeye was envisioned be depicted as a circus performer trained by supervilains who manipulate him into fighting the team, essentially a modernized version of his 616 origin story. At another point, he was planned to debut in Iron Man 2 as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who works closely with Widow and Fury. In the end, he wound up being revealed to be a family man in Age of Ultron, like in Ultimate Marvel.
  • Captain America's costume originally had a scaled mask with holes for his ears, but this was changed at the last second. The costume designers also considered adding a chinstrap, but decided that it'd be a waste to cover Chris Evans' chiseled jawline. After the less than stellar reaction to his Avengers costume, the ear holes and chinstrap were reintegrated into Cap's costumes for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.
  • One draft of the movie had it taking place from Tony's point of view.
  • Another draft, one of Joss' first when he came onto the project, would have done something similar, but with Wasp instead. He decided that too much time would end up being dedicated to this seemingly new character that he realized it would hamper the film. As there was no way to explain her, he had to cut her out, sadly, despite her being one of his favorites.
  • Adding to that, part of the reason Wasp was in the mix at all is because at one point, it looked like Scarlett Johansson would not be involved in the film. Salary negotiations with her agents weren't going very smoothly, so Marvel almost cut Black Widow from the project.
  • An alternate opening and ending frame the movie as a flashback from Maria Hill, allowing them to simultaneously flesh out her dislike towards Fury's methods yet her undying loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • There were plans to insert the Oscorp Building from The Amazing Spider-Man, but by the time the CGI model for the building had been finished, the Avengers skyline was already complete.
  • The fight between Hulk and Loki originally lasted a little longer, with Loki trying to use Self-Duplication to confuse the Hulk. This scene proved too expensive to make it past the animatic stage. Banner's line that "You could smell the crazy on [Loki]" was intended as a setup for how Hulk wins in this scene, figuring out which Loki was real by his scent.
  • At one point, there would have been a more physically active villain fighting the Avengers, presumably as The Dragon to Loki. Joss would later reveal this would've been Ezekiel Stane, Obadiah's son.
  • Rhodey was considered to have a cameo in the post-credits scene, where he is wearing his War Machine armor, only to find out he came too late for the battle, and sits down with The Avengers, but the scene was thrown away to where they just show The Avengers eating.

Phase Two

    Iron Man 3 
  • Jessica Chastain was initially approached for the role of Maya Hansen before Rebecca Hall was cast, but turned down the offer due to scheduling conflicts with The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Chastain would later go on to play D'Bari Vuk in Dark Phoenix.
  • Anthony Mackie auditioned for the part of the Mandarin before the casting of Ben Kingsley. Mackie would eventually go on to portray Sam Wilson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Jude Law was considered for the role of Aldrich Killian before Guy Pearce was cast. Law would later go on to play Yon-Rogg in Captain Marvel.
  • Emilia Clarke was originally cast in the film as an unspecified character, but changes to the script led to her being removed from the movie.
  • Tom Hooper was offered to direct the film before Shane Black was hired.
  • Jon Favreau refusing to direct the film meant that his original plan for the Mandarin was nixed. During a 2008 interview, Favreau had mentioned that he envisioned the Mandarin as the true Greater-Scope Villain of the Iron Man film series, likening him to Sauron and Emperor Palpatine. Despite the first two movies having Foreshadowing for the character, Favreau's departure from the director's chair for Iron Man 3 meant that this idea was never fulfilled. Once Shane Black and Drew Pearce took over, they instead went with the idea that the Mandarin was merely a charlatan and Decoy Leader, though a Marvel One-Shot revisits the idea of a real Mandarin being out there. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will ultimately be the debut of the Mandarin in the MCU.
  • Black wanted to do a little more of the "Demon In the Bottle" storyline in the film, but Disney nixed it, and it was already somewhat covered in the previous film.
  • A flashback featuring Tony's mother was planned, but ended up being cut from the film despite an actress being cast. This idea was revisited in Captain America: Civil War, where Hope Davis appeared as Maria Stark during a presentation of the BARF holographic device Mysterio's invention that showed Tony when he was younger.
  • Brandt was originally considered as Killian's Dragon instead of Savin. She would've even emerged instead of Killian in the ending in a Dragon Their Feet moment, with Pepper engaging her in a Designated Girl Fight.
  • Trevor Slattery/The Mandarin was originally slated to die at the end of the movie, exploding after injecting himself with Extremis.
  • Originally the film was intended to start with flashbacks of Tony's youth, other idea considered was to start the film with Tony landing in Tennessee and another had Tony cleaning up land mines with the Stark logo on them as an allusion to the many explosive elements from his past waiting to detonate.
  • In early drafts Maya Hansen was going to be the main antagonist of the film, but this was nixed by Marvel hire-ups for toy selling reasons, and her antagonistic role given to Aldrich Killian.
  • The film's original time run was 3 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Before the release of The Avengers, there were talks about Clark Gregg reprising his role as Agent Coulson. Coulson becoming the main character of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. likely also put a dent in that.

    Thor: The Dark World 
  • Mads Mikkelsen was the original choice for the role of Malekith before Christopher Eccleston was cast, but turned it down due to scheduling commitments to Hannibal. Mikkelsen would eventually go on to portray Kaecilius in Doctor Strange.
  • Patty Jenkins was originally chosen to direct the movie before Alan Taylor was hired, but departed the project due to Creative Differences with Marvel Studios. Jenkins wanted to change the story up a bit, but the people at Disney didn't want to run the risk of rewrites delaying filming and missing its release date as it was the only big live-action tentpole of the very important holiday quarter. Jenkins' version of the script having a tone similar to Romeo and Juliet and heavy focus on Thor and Jane Foster's relationship. Several years later, Jenkins would also note that when she first read the script, she hated it, and knew that if she signed on that the bad script would be tied to her name and potentially sink her career.
    Jenkins: It was painful and sad because I really loved those guys and I loved the idea of us making a Thor together, but it’s one of those things. You have to make sure that the movie you want to make is fully the right movie for that studio too. It was heartbreaking, but I also knew that it was good… I knew that it was good because I didn’t think I could make a great film out of their script.
  • Carter Burwell was originally signed to score the movie but, at the last minute, it ended up in the hands of Brian Tyler (not the first time he's done an movie set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe), who had to put together the score in a matter of weeks.
  • Valkyrie of The Defenders was set to appear at one point, and concept art of her costume was even drawn up. Valkyrie would later debut in Thor: Ragnarok portrayed by Tessa Thompson.
  • Kevin Feige revealed in an interview that Hela was originally planned to be the Big Bad, but it didn't happen 'for various reasons' and Malekith ended taking her place. Of course, Hela ended up being the Big Bad in the sequel, Thor: Ragnarok played by Cate Blanchett.
  • Alan Taylor wanted to have a Creator Cameo as the archer who lights Frigga's boat at the funeral, but he was turned down for insurance reasons.
  • An early ending of the final battle against Malekith had Thor concentrating lightning from all nine realms to destroy him and the Aether, since his method of using only one lightning like on Svartalfheim was ineffective. However, the filmmakers wanted all characters to contribute to Makekith's demise, so they added Jane, Selvig and Darcy using the gravity spikes to help Thor.
  • In the original script and during the principal photography, Loki's death was meant to be for real. However, the test audiences refused to buy it, citing Like You Would Really Do It and causing a rewrite to the ending, showing Loki's ultimate survival.

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier 
  • Anna Kendrick, Felicity Jones, Imogen Poots, Teresa Palmer, Alison Brie, Emilia Clarke, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jessica Brown Findlay, Elizabeth Olsen, and Karen Gillan were considered for Sharon Carter before Emily VanCamp was cast. Olsen and Gillan would later go on to portray Wanda Maximoff and Nebula respectively in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Michael B. Jordan auditioned for the role of Sam Wilson before the casting of Anthony Mackie. Jordan would eventually go on to play Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four and Erik Killmonger in Black Panther.
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kevin Durand, and Josh Holloway screen-tested for the part of Brock Rumlow before Frank Grillo was cast.
  • Alec Baldwin was approached for the role of Alexander Pierce before the casting of Robert Redford, but turned it down due to his wife's pregnancy at the time.
  • F. Gary Gray and George Nolfi had discussions with Marvel Studios about directing the movie before The Russo Brothers were hired. Gray turned down the offer in order to helm Straight Outta Compton.
  • M.O.D.O.K. was included in early drafts, with Peter Dinklage being the first choice for the role, but the character was cut from the final draft and replaced by Alexander Pierce. Dinklage went on to play Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and with some CGI, made a proper MCU debut as Eitri the Dwarf in Avengers: Infinity War. Also Ivanov in Agents of SHIELD wound up a Composite Character with MODOK later on.
  • Clint Barton had a role in the original script:
    Joe Russo: What it was going to be, we were trying to complicate the relationship between Cap and his S.H.I.E.L.D agent friends. If Hawkeye got a call from S.H.I.E.L.D saying Captain America is a fugitive, would he listen to that call or not listen to that call? That sequence actually was heartbreaking for us to cut it. I think it ultimately might have been a conflict with Renner's schedule. But there was a great sequence where Hawkeye was chasing Cap through Washington D.C. there was an awesome sequence where they confronted each other in a ravine on the outskirts of D.C. and Hawkeye was shooting a series of arrows closing in on Cap, Cap closing in on him. And then Cap took him down and he realized for the first time that Hawkeye was trying to trick S.H.I.E.L.D, where he whispered something into Cap’s ear that Cap had a tracker on his suit and to punch Hawkeye to make it look real, because there was a Quinjet hovering above where they were watching the feedback back at S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • The film's writers hinted that had Coulson not died in The Avengers (or been given his own show), he might have taken Sitwell's place as a HYDRA mole, and possibly being killed there instead, given the fact that a brainwashed Winter Soldier killed Sitwell when he squealed to Steve, Sam, and Natasha.
  • The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Turn, Turn, Turn" actually turns this into a Development Gag, by providing the idea that Coulson may be a big part of HYDRA, though Victoria Hand, the one who believes Coulson is a mole, later learns that it was instead John Garrett all along.
  • Originally the opening to the film was going to be a wartime flashback of Steve Rogers fighting alongside Bucky and the Howling Commandos, ending with a reveal that it was All Just a Dream, and Steve looking at a newspaper reporting of Dum Dum Dugan's recent death. It can be seen here. This introduction would have presumably taken the place of the visit to the Smithsonian and the "End of the line" flashback scene.
  • Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was going to be the Big Bad of the film, rather than Alexander Pierce. Clay Quartermain was also planned to appear, possibly taking Sitwell's place.
  • For the scene where Jenny Agutter's character takes out a room full of mooks before revealing herself to be Black Widow in a Latex Perfection mask, they were going to do the fighting with a stunt double. Agutter lobbied to do it herself, citing her ballet training.

    Guardians of the Galaxy 

    Avengers: Age of Ultron 
  • Saoirse Ronan, Sasha Pieterse, and Lindsay Lohan were considered for the part of Wanda Maximoff before the casting of Elizabeth Olsen.
  • Tom Hiddleston was set to reprise his role as Loki for Thor's dream sequence, and even filmed the scene in a one day shoot. However, test audiences were confused by his appearance, and mistakenly thought that the dream was meant to imply that Loki was the true Greater-Scope Villain and the one behind Ultron's creation (Loki's scepter, and the Mind Stone within, were used to create Ultron anyway, but Loki himself didn't show up).
  • According to the actor himself, there were briefly plans to have Tim Roth reprise his role as the Abomination from The Incredible Hulk, but the idea was scrapped.
  • The Art of Avengers: Age of Ultron features a concept art image of Wolfgang von Strucker with the appearance of Vincent Cassel, suggesting that Cassel was intended to have a role in the film as Strucker before the actor Thomas Kretschmann was cast.
  • An early script of movie was that Ultron was created by the government to eliminate the need of Avengers, but Ultron turns on its creators and then Avengers again team up to stop him.
  • Earlier drafts featured Captain Marvel as one of the New Avengers at the end of the movie. Marvel feared introducing her without explaining who she was would be too confusing for casual viewers, so they decided to wait and introduce her in her own movie instead. This was changed so late in production that Whedon had actually shot the live-action plates for her entrance using a stand-in. The shots were later used for when Scarlet Witch joins the New Avengers.
  • Whedon wanted Spider-Man to appear as part of the New Avengers at the end as well, but the deal between Marvel and Sony had not yet been finalized at that point. Fortunately, Captain America: Civil War found a way to work Spider-Man in and have him be considered an Avenger in later films.
  • Whedon considered that the Avengers would find out Coulson is alive, but he decided against it because he felt it would overshadow the rest of the filmnote .
  • The subplot with Thor and Erik would've been longer. That cave they went into was a mirror of the Well of Urðr in Asgard. In order to talk to the Norn, Thor had to enter the Pool as a sacrifice and Erik would ask the Norn about the Mind Stone inside Loki's specter and Thor would manage enough willpower to exit the pool before the Norn could consume him.
  • In addition to Captain Marvel, there were plans to use Age of Ultron to introduce a whole slew of new superheroes. The idea was scrapped fairly quickly for the same reason they ended up cutting Captain Marvel's cameo.
  • It was rumored early on that an initial cut of the film was nearly as long as The Dark Knight Rises, clocking in at 160 minutes (along with a later report that clarified that the initial cut of movie was over three hours in length). Eventually, it was confirmed that the theatrical release would be 142 minutes. A subplot involving Thor was reduced in length as a side effect of this, and the Loki appearance of the mysterious woman seen in the trailer is not present in the final film. While fans wanted an extended cut, the home video release was of the theatrical version, and very few deleted scenes were included in the extras.
  • There was going to be an unspecified cool moment involving the Hulk, during the finale but Whedon cut it in post because it didn't work in the overall story. Whedon didn't clarify what the moment was in hopes that Marvel could eventually include it in a future film.
    Joss Whedon: It's a great gag, but I couldn't justify it. We were building a lot of the final battle around it, and it was killing us. Even when we were shooting. We had to stutter-step everything else, and eventually in post I convinced them we needed to jettison this concept. I knew I could write a conclusion for Bruce and Natasha that I thought would be much better storytelling, and would be a real moment.
  • The Hulk was originally going to transform into his Gray Hulk form after being brainwashed by Scarlet Witch. According to the VFX artists, "Everybody wanted the green guy," so they settled for changing his eyes instead. A Gray Hulk figure from Funko was even produced before the character was scrapped.
  • Whedon actually conceived an alternate ending where Quicksilver survived his heroic sacrifice and was shown as part of the New Avengers line up in case Marvel vetoed his original ending. Concept art was even done up of a new costume for Pietro.
  • The Hulk was originally supposed to fly the Quinjet off into space, but this was changed because Marvel didn't want people to think they were setting up a Planet Hulk film, ironic given how much of the story was present in Thor: Ragnarok, Hulk's next appearance.
  • Ultron's fascination with Pinocchio and "I've Got No Strings" was originally going to be Emily Dickinson and "Because I Could Not Stop for Death".
  • Former Ant-Man director Edgar Wright wrote an after-credits scene for this movie, which didn't make the cut.
  • Ultron was originally going to steal the vibranium he needed from Wakanda, the home country of the Black Panther. Elaborate concept art of Ultron forging a new body in a Wakandan mine was produced, but failed to make it into the finished movie, instead Ulysses Klaue (who is established as stealing the vibranium in the first place) gives him it.
  • As with any movie, there were numerous alternate designs for the characters done up by concept artists. These include a more comic-accurate take on Ultron with his trademark jack-o'-lantern face note , as well as an alternate Quicksilver outfit that included a green shirt with a white lightning bolt as a nod to his original costume.
  • There was a concept art of the Avengers fighting an Ultron which all got merged into one giant being.

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt met with Marvel Studios for the role of Scott Lang before Paul Rudd was cast. Gordon-Levitt was previously approached for Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Steve Buscemi was the first choice for the role of Hank Pym before the casting of Michael Douglas, but turned down the offer due to scheduling conflicts with Hotel Transylvania 2.
  • Jessica Chastain was originally offered the role of Hope Van Dyne before Evangeline Lilly was cast, but turned it down due to Creative Differences over the script and character portrayal. Chastain would later go on to play D'Bari Vuk in Dark Phoenix.
  • Patrick Wilson and Jordan Peele were initially cast as Paxton and a member of Scott's gang, but dropped out of the project due to scheduling commitments and the departure of Edgar Wright.
  • Adam McKay, Ruben Fleischer, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Nicholas Stoller, Michael Dowse, and David Wain were considered as replacements to direct the film before Peyton Reed was hired. McKay would eventually go on to write the screenplay, while Fleischer went on to direct Venom.
  • Rick Moranis was offered a cameo in which Scott, while wearing the suit for the first time, falls into his bowl of Cheerios.
  • The film was originally going to be the beginning of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was eventually changed to become the finale of Phase Two, which is surprising considering that it's directly following an Avengers movie. In the grand scheme of things, this is a relatively minor change.
  • In Edgar Wright's drafts, Darren Cross' (who back then was called Greydon Clark) alter ego would have been Nano Warrior, instead of Yellowjacket. The drafts also featured a car chase sequence.
  • Originally the film was meant to focus on Hank Pym. However, the filmmakers deemed Pym as having a too family-unfriendly history, so it was then decided to focus on Scott Lang, with Pym becoming a mentor and supporting character.
  • According to Evangeline Lilly is that Hope's role was much smaller in Wright's drafts. It was beefed up significantly during rewrites, with Lilly providing some ideas and input.
  • Wright's drafts did not include the Wasp, save for a mention from Pym. Presumably, The Stinger idea with Hope becoming the new Wasp wasn't there either.
  • Scott's brief work at Baskin-Robbins was originally going to be at Chipotle, but the company didn't like their negative portrayal. The filmmakers considered Jamba Juice, then settled on Baskin-Robbins after realizing that the bright colors would be a funny contrast to the dark prison opening.
  • The ending was supposed to have a showdown between Ant-Man and Carson, with Ant-Man defeating him and reclaiming the stolen sample of Pym Particles. The ending was changed to Carson escaping and presumably delivering the sample to HYDRA in order to set up future sequels.
  • Original plans called for the movie to have a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, which would have made the picture look as wide as all of Marvel Studios' other movies save The Avengers. However, Peyton Reed decided that the 1.78:1/1.85:1 aspect ratio of The Avengers would provide more vertical area, for the shrinking scenes.
  • Concept art revealed that Arnim Zola was set to appear with Toby Jones reprising the role but the appearance was scrapped.

Phase Three

    Captain America: Civil War 
  • Bryan Cranston was considered to replace William Hurt as General Ross had Hurt chose to decline the offer to reprise the role.
  • Quite a bit concerning the involvement of Spider-Man.
    • He was very nearly removed from the playing field of this movie, as Sony apparently refused the first offer that Marvel Studios gave them. However, due to the Executive Meddling mentioned above, a deal was made and Spider-Man was included in the movie.
    • Furthermore, Sony originally had a contingency plan for The Amazing Spider-Man Series in which Andrew Garfield's version of Spider-Man would appear in this movie while Chris Evans would show up as Captain America in Sinister Six or The Amazing Spider-Man 3, officially merging the TASM continuity into the MCU. However, both companies decided that it would be better to give Spider-Man a clean slate, especially considering that Sony was planning on replacing Andrew Garfield anyway.note  It should be noted that Sony intended this to be the only crossover between the TASM-verse's Spider-Man and the rest of the MCU.
    • Apparently, Spider-Man was supposed to be revealed at the end of the Super Bowl ad, but he was taken out at the last minute (presumably to save his debut for the trailer that would be attached to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
    • The Russos had toyed with the idea of giving Spider-Man organic webs like in the original Sam Raimi movie, but they ultimately felt Peter building his own web-shooters was more interesting.
    • Giving Spider-Man the Iron Spider suit was also considered. He eventually got the suit anyway, albeit, being offered it at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, before officially donning it for Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and the beginning of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
  • Originally Iron Man was only going to have a small role in this movie. However, Robert Downey Jr. asked for more screentime and a higher paycheck. Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter planned to have Iron Man written out of the film completely, in which case the Russos had backup plans to adapt another story in the event that happened. However, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige persuaded Perlmutter to accept Downey Jr.'s deal.
  • Charlie Cox has said he would have jumped at the chance to be in the film after joining the MCU got him interested in the comics, and he was excited to discover that Daredevil was part of the original Civil War story. Unfortunately, it was too late to change the plan to include him. (Oddly enough, Cox's contract mandates that he is required to show up in a movie if it is requested of him.)
  • While there was always intended to be a third party hero who wouldn't be aligned with Captain America or Iron Man, it wasn't necessarily Black Panther at first. A number of potential candidates were apparently suggested before Kevin Feige decided that Black Panther made the most sense.
  • A scene focusing on Scott Lang's personal life was cut, as it was scripted before the writers had even seen Ant-Man.
  • Hope van Dyne was going to become The Wasp in an earlier draft of the script, but she was removed due to concerns that reducing her role to a cameo alongside the Loads and Loads of Characters would be a disservice to her as a character. The fact that Evangeline Lilly was pregnant at the time also probably influenced the decision.
  • Similarly, Joss Whedon had wanted to introduce Captain Marvel as a member of the New Avengers at the end of Age of Ultron. Had he gotten his way, Captain Marvel presumably would have been one of the heroes featured in Civil War as well.
  • Likewise, Whedon confirmed that he shot an alternate ending for Age of Ultron where Quicksilver survived the final battle and became an official Avenger, just in case Disney didn't want to kill off the character. Had that happened, Quicksilver would have appeared here as well.
  • At one point, Mark Ruffalo was going to appear as the Incredible Hulk. The Hulk was cut from the script when Marvel decided to keep his post-Age of Ultron fate under wraps until Thor: Ragnarok. In addition, Hulk was planned for a post-credits scene, but the writers decided against it entirely because it didn't contribute to the story at hand.
  • Thunderbolt Ross' alter ego, Red Hulk, was also considered for inclusion, but the Russos felt that part of the character would need a proper backstory which they could not afford to give in the already crowded film.
  • Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely's original idea for Captain America 3 was a vastly different and much smaller film without the other Avengers, but Kevin Feige suggested they adapt Civil War instead. Certain parts of their original idea still made it into the movie, such as the emphasis on Steve and Bucky's relationship, as well as the use of Baron (depicted as a Colonel in the film) Helmut Zemo as the Big Bad.
  • T'Challa had a much smaller role in the earlier drafts and didn't even appear in costume, as the writers intended to put more focus on Spider-Man and save Black Panther's origin for his own movie. However, when it looked like Marvel would not be getting permission to use Spider-Man, Black Panther's role was beefed up significantly. By the time they did get to use Spider-Man, T'Challa had already become so integral to the plot that they decided to retain his role and give Spider-Man a smaller part.
  • Related to that, Spider-Man's role in the second act was deliberately written to be non-integral to the overall story just in case Sony didn't grant them permission to use the character. Markus and McFeely have said that had they been unable to include Spider-Man, they simply would have used another new hero as the sixth member of Team Iron Man.
  • A planned fight scene between Captain America and Black Widow was cut for time.
  • Early concept art of Zemo showed the character wearing a costume and his trademark purple mask. This idea was presumably jettisoned quickly, but the mask will eventually appear in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
  • There was an idea for Cap to sport a black stealth variant of his costume for the opening Lagos scenes. There's also concept art of Hawkeye wearing his face mask from The Ultimates 3.
  • There's concept art of Sharon Carter wearing a combat uniform and fighting alongside Team Cap at the airport battle. This never happens in the movie, but the uniform was heavily featured in the merchandising and marketing art for the film.
  • According to that same concept art with Cranston and some animatics, Clint Barton would've shown up much earlier in the movie rather than showing up by the second act.
  • Based on this concept art of Ant-Man fighting Cap, he was Team Stark at one point. Potentially this would've been the plan had Spider-Man been unavailable.
  • Likewise, there's concept art showing Vision phasing his hand through Iron Man's arc reactor in order to stop him from attacking Wanda, mirroring a similar scene where Vision shut down Iron Man's armor in the original Civil War comic. Presumably, Vision was going to be part of Team Cap, or at least would've betrayed Team Iron Man at a key moment in order to rescue Wanda, in the final film he instead accidentally sniped War Machine with the laser from his Infinity Stone.
  • On the off chance that Robert Downey Jr. refused to return for Civil War, an alternate storyline was pitched that involved the Madbomb.
  • Wakanda was going to be featured in some capacity instead of just a brief shot of the jungle at the end with concept art of a Wakandan city even being drawn up. This was presumably abandoned in order to give Ryan Coogler more creative freedom with the solo Black Panther movie.

    Doctor Strange 
  • Joaquin Phoenix was approached for the part of Stephen Strange when Benedict Cumberbatch initially turned down the offer. However, Phoenix dropped out of the project due to his reluctance to take on a multi-film franchise.
  • Jessica Chastain was originally approached for the role of Christine Palmer before the casting of Rachel McAdams, but turned down the offer due to her insistence on portraying a character with superpowers. Chastain was previously considered for Maya Hansen and Hope Van Dyne in Iron Man 3 and Ant-Man respectively. Chastain would go on to portray D'Bari Vuk in Dark Phoenix.
  • Gary Oldman, Christoph Waltz, Édgar Ramírez, and Mads Mikkelsen were considered for the part of Karl Mordo before Chiwetel Ejiofor was cast. Mikkelsen would later go on to play Kaecilius in the film.
  • Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, and Morgan Freeman were considered for the role of the Ancient One before the casting of Tilda Swinton.
    • Scott Derrickson also considered casting an Asian actress as the Ancient One, but was worried this would make the character seem like a Dragon Lady.
  • Tony Todd was almost cast as Dormammu at one point, a backup plan in case they didn't use Benedict's voice recording.
  • Fede Álvarez was offered to direct the movie before Scott Derrickson was hired. However, Álvarez turned it down due to his lack of interest in directing a film set within a large, multi-movie franchise.
  • Scott Derrickson wanted Nightmare to be the main villain, but Kevin Feige argued that introducing the Dream Dimension would require too much additional Exposition in a film that was already full of it. Nightmare was later confirmed to eventually appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as the Big Bad.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch originally wasn't sure if he would be able to star in the film, due to commitments to a production of Hamlet - as the film's original release was set for July 2016. When it was pushed back to November, he was able to come on board.
  • Wong was originally not going to appear at all, as Scott Derrickson was uncomfortable with the racist stereotypes surrounding the character. However, he changed his mind after the decision was made to Race Lift the Ancient One, as he was now worried about the fact that there were no Asian characters in a movie that takes place largely in Asia.
  • Originally the film was to feature a prologue set in CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, aka the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and would feature a discussion on parallel dimensions. The filmmakers felt this was too scientific for a magic-based story, and removed it.
  • The property master Barry Gibbs revealed that the Ebony Blade was meant to appear in the movie, alongside the other relics conserved in the New York Sanctum.
    That was going to go into a book called the Lexicon of Relics, but the Ebony Blade was taken out of the script. I don't quite know why. Again, as things evolved, it wasn't pertinent to the script. Things just moved on.
  • In an early draft of the movie, Doctor Strange was meant to become the Sorcerer Supreme by the end of the movie, but Derrickson and his crew had many many problems with that.
  • In concept art for the Chamber of Relics the Screaming Idol was featured.
  • Co-Writer C. Robert Cargill revealed on his podcast Junkfood Cinema that he suggested cameos for Jeffrey Combs and the late Dick Miller but ultimately was unsuccessful in securing them. Combs had previously starred in Doctor Mordrid which started as a Doctor Strange film.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 
  • Matthew McConaughey was initially offered the role of Ego the Living Planet before Kurt Russell was cast. When asked about why he turned it down, McConaughey responded with this.
    McConaughey: I like Guardians of the Galaxy, but what I saw was ‘It’s successful, and now we’ve got room to make a colorful part for another big-name actor.’ I’d feel like an amendment.
  • Glenn Close was initially attached to reprise her role as Nova Prime, but James Gunn decided against it as he was trying to cram her into the movie rather than have her appear organically.
  • James Gunn wanted David Bowie to have an appearance in Yondu's crew, but the latter's illness and death prevented that from happening. He then planned to again include a Bowie song in the soundtrack (in this case "Suffragette City"), but for unknown reasons it didn't make the final cut.
  • Along with Mantis, Gunn initially planned to have Adam Warlock join the team; he cut Warlock because of the already large number of subplots and character arcs, and this didn't make it past the treatment phase. It would later be confirmed that Warlock would get Refitted for Sequel with the third film in the series, The Stinger for Vol. 2 likely the set up for his later appearance where Ayesha and the Sovereign, having played a role in creating him in the comics, are planning on using him as a weapon against the team.
  • Originally, Groot was going to be fully grown again, but James Gunn opted to keep him as a baby for the sequel. This partially impacted the choice to have a two-month Time Skip from the last film, as the movie was meant to be set in real time as previous MCU movies had been. Gunn explained these changes came because he couldn't make the story work as he'd originally intended; Baby Groot ultimately became the connecting tissue of the film's core theme, Family of Choice, and helped him develop the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits' growth as not just colleagues but as a family unit. He still grows, however, as a credits scene shows him matured into a teenager and appears this way in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
  • Gunn was very hesitant to kill off Yondu and wasn't going to do it at one point, but ultimately decided that it needed to happen to give some real stakes to the movie.
  • Chris Pratt wanted to add a joke where Peter points out that Ego looks just like Kurt Russell, but James Gunn refused. This may have inspired a scene where Ego, his true colors revealed, briefly shifts into the form of David Hasselhoff, Peter having claimed as a child that David Hasselhoff was his dad.
  • The early designs for Mantis had green skin and a more insect-like appearance, but James Gunn decided to have her look more human, as she did in the original Avengers comics she first appeared in.
  • The Stan Lee cameo was originally a bit different — he was originally going to talk about the time he was a DJ at a strip club, which would have taken his meta cameo even further by suggesting that he plays the same character across all Marvel adaptations, becoming Hilarious in Hindsight when Disney bought Fox, and therefore the rights to the Fox-owned Marvel properties such as Deadpool.
  • Had 20th Century Fox not allowed Marvel Studios to use Ego, it's quite possible the film would have been very different, given Marvel didn't realize they didn't have the film rights to the character until production was about to start. One only wonders what the film would have been like then. note .
  • Some concept art showed Rocket sporting a totally badass two-piece outfit as opposed to the jumpsuits he wore in both films.

    Spider-Man: Homecoming 

    Thor: Ragnarok 
  • Charlize Theron was considered for the part of Hela before Cate Blanchett was cast.
  • Lupita Nyong'o auditioned for the role of Valkyrie before the casting of Tessa Thompson. Nyong'o would eventually go on to portray Nakia in Black Panther.
  • Ruben Fleischer, Rob Letterman, and Rawson Marshall Thurber were considered to direct the film before Taika Waititi was hired. Fleischer would later go on to direct Venom.
  • Lady Sif was planned to return, but Jaimie Alexander's commitments to Blindspot prevented her from appearing.
  • Taika Waititi wanted to get John C. Reilly to reprise his role as Rhomann Dey from Guardians of the Galaxy, but couldn't find a logical way to fit him into the story. This is hinted at in the final film when Valkyrie mentions Xandar.
  • At one point, Anthony Hopkins mentioned that he felt like doing two Thor movies were enough and that he'd be sitting this film out, but he changed his mind and came back even with it being Odin's last MCU appearance.
  • Likewise, both Hopkins and director Alan Taylor previously said that the ending of Thor: The Dark World was meant to indicate that Loki had successfully performed a Kill and Replace on Odin. The makers of Ragnarok chose to ignore this implication and reveal that Odin was alive in Norway, no doubt to make Loki more sympathetic than if he'd killed him or, — in the original version of the script — abandoned him without his memories on the streets of New York to scratch out a living as a homeless person, he dies of old age anyway though, and appears one last time as a Spirit Advisor during the climax.
  • Waititi has said if Freddie Mercury were still alive, he would have asked Queen to do Ragnarok's score, since Flash Gordon was a huge influence on the movie.
  • Balder the Brave and Beta Ray Bill were both considered to appear in the movie, but it was decided they wouldn't be big enough draws. At least Beta Ray Bill's face is shown outside the arena.
  • The Curb-Stomp Battle where Hela destroys Mjölnir was originally going to take place in New York (as seen in the trailers), but the setting was changed to a field in Norway because the director felt Hela finding Thor and Loki in the city was far too convenient (though the shots of the actors are the same, it's just the scenery that's different).
  • The film was initially envisioned as Darker and Edgier, but began going in a more retro, comedic direction after Taika Waititi was hired. This is even be reflected in the movie's original logo from the Phase 3 announcement, which had a more serious design than the one that was ultimately used after Waititi took over.
  • Taika Waititi originally stated that he wanted the film to be 100 minutes long, as he felt long movies tend to be a drag. He lengthened the run time so he could keep some of the best jokes.
  • Taika Waititi revealed that the Dark God Perrikus was planned to appear at one point.
  • Tessa Thompson pushed for a scene that confirmed Valkyrie's bisexuality by showing a woman leaving her bedroom. It ended up being cut.
  • Valkyrie was planned to be Thor and Loki's long-lost sister at one point in the writing process, which would have made her a Composite Character with Angela. This reveal was ultimately given to Hela instead.
  • Taika Waititi wanted to include a scene about Thor remembering having met Valkyrie when they were children, leading to a flashback set in an 80s-inspired Asgard with an overweight Thor and Emo Loki. Also, the snake story was considered to be told via a flashback at one point, but both scenes were cut because the flashbacks would have felt forced. Thor becomes fat in Avengers: Endgame instead, but despite the seeming comedic value of him being an alcoholic recluse in that film, he is this way for more dramatic reasons, his failure to stop Thanos.
  • The Destroyer armor was supposed to make a return appearance, only for it to be obliterated by Hela during a fight scene. The idea was scrapped, presumably because the Destroyer was last seen in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
  • There were plans for an alternate post-credits sequence which would have revealed that the Grandmaster and Topaz had stowed away in the Asgardian refugee ship, but instead he stayed on Sakaar for The Stinger, congratulating the people for overthrowing him.

    Black Panther 
  • Chad L. Coleman, John Boyega, and Noel Clarke were considered for the role of T'Challa before the casting of Chadwick Boseman.
  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sterling K. Brown, and Mustafa Shakir auditioned for the role of M'Baku before Winston Duke was cast. Brown would later go on to play N'Jobu in the film, while Shakir would portray Bushmaster in Luke Cage.
  • Amandla Stenberg auditioned for the part of Shuri before the casting of Letitia Wright. Stenberg dropped out from the project because she recognized that a darker-skinned actress would be more appropriate.
  • Ernie Hudson was considered for the role of T'Chaka before John Kani was cast, but was turned down as the character wasn't considered big enough for him.
  • Ava DuVernay, Antoine Fuqua, and F. Gary Gray were approached to direct the film before Ryan Coogler was hired. DuVernay turned it down because she wasn't comfortable with not having total creative control, while Gray declined in order to helm The Fate of the Furious. Gray was previously considered to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier before The Russo Brothers were hired.
  • Nabiyah Be announced on Twitter that she was playing Tilda Johnson/Nightshade in the film. Just one month later, however, Gabrielle Dennis was cast as Nightshade in Luke Cage, and Be's tweet was deleted. In the film itself, Be's character is credited as "Linda".
  • Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole toyed around with the idea of introducing Patriot from the Young Avengers, but ultimately felt it would distract from the main story.
  • Coogler also wished to add Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter to the movie, though due to legal issues regarding the deal with Sony, he couldn't feature him.
  • The concept art reveals that at some point, Shuri was going to have made her own Black Panther suit.
  • The initial assembly cut of the film (which is in no way to be considered a watchable version despite the implications by media outlets reporting on it) was four hours long.note  The final cut is 2h 15m. Regardless, even in more completed versions of the film, a lot of material ended up of the cutting room floor before final release, including some stuff that Coogler really wanted to keep (four of which did end up on the DVD release):
    • The four deleted DVD scenes that were all said to have been cut due to issues related to pacing:
      • Chronologically, the first was a scene that would've taken place early in the film, featuring a young T'Challa and Nakia playing in the catacombs near the temple of the heart-shaped herb garden, where they find T'Chaka mulling over his actions earlier that evening regarding his brother N'Jobu.
      • The next scene would've occurred after T'Challa's first visit to the Ancestral Plane and reuniting with his father there. Following the ceremony, T'Challa and Zuri have a quiet conversation where they reminisce about T'Chaka.
      • The third (and seemingly the fan favorite, even by Coogler himself) scene occurs after Killmonger's first meeting as king with the tribal council, featuring Okoye and W'Kabi arguing about their different perspectives on the coup and Killmonger's plans for the country.
      • The final scene would've been a preamble to T'Challa's mid-credits speech at the UN, where he meets with Everett Ross who warns against revealing Wakanda's true nature to the world for the first time.
    • There was also a flirtatious interaction between Okoye and Ayo during T'Challa's coronation ceremony that was shot and shown to media reporters alongside other footage early in production at an exclusive press event, but was ultimately cut from the film without any stated reason.

    Avengers: Infinity War 
  • The movies were originally to be marketed as a Movie Multipack (with a Part 1/Part 2 label), but it was ultimately decided to give each movie its own name.
  • Both films were originally going to be shot at the same time, but this proved to be a scheduling nightmare for the actors, and was abandoned. Filming for Endgame instead began a month after the completion of Infinity War.
  • If Kevin Feige hadn't convinced Disney to jettison the Marvel Creative Committee, this would have been Chris Evans' final outing as Captain America, as pretty much everyone was sick of the Committee's heavy-handed editorial interference. The result of the decision had Evans gladly renewing his contract past this film, which included a cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming — complete with Lampshade Hanging in The Stinger:
    Captain America: How many more of these?
  • According to the Russo brothers, they considered giving the main characters of The Defenders (2017) cameos, but they ended up not including them since the film had already over 60 characters and it was "practically impossible" to keep contact with the showrunners of their respective shows.
  • The Russo brothers also considered introducing Adam Warlocknote , but decided that his backstory was too complicated to weave into a film that was already bursting at the seams with characters.
  • The early draft of the story was planning to have a scene between Steve and Tony settling their differences from Civil War. Although it didn't happen to not slow down the movie. They do sort of later on in Endgame, but not in the way planned before. Also, initially it was Falcon who followed Iron Man to space and not Spider-Man which potentially would've made for a less dramatic death scene when Thanos snaps his fingers. Spider-Man's quote in the final version did go on to be attached to many memes about the deaths in the film, after all. Remember that Marvel had been planning this film long before the deal with Sony; if that deal wasn't signed then Spider-Man would have been completely absent from the film.
  • Producer Nate Moore tried to get the Russos to spare Black Panther, but couldn't convince them.
  • Early drafts of the script featured Sharon Carter and her relationship with Steve, but she was written out when the romance subplot was deemed unnecessary.
  • The older drafts also had Thanos going to Xandar and decimating the Nova Corps in order to steal the Power Stone. The scene also would've featured the return of Glenn Close as Irani Rael from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, who presumably would've been killed off. The writers ended up cutting the scene because they felt it would've felt redundant, and that opening with Thanos attacking Thor and the other Asgardians would resonate more with the audience. Xandarian Forces appear during the Endgame climax, but no named character part of the group appears.
  • Relatedly, another idea was to have young Richard Rider as the only survivor of the massacre of the Nova Corps on Xandar. He would've been the one to flee to Earth to warn the heroes of Thanos, rather than the Hulk. Had this happened, Glenn Close would've provided the voice of the Worldmind A.I. within Richard's helmet.
  • The Russo Brothers wanted to create a fake voicemail from Steve Rogers for fans who would try to call his number, but they did not get permission.
  • The Russos wanted to introduce Captain America as late into the film as they felt they could get away with, and even considered having him not show up until the final battle. This is why there's that big moment of him saving Vision with a sudden leap into frame; that was going to be his entrance into the movie itself. Ultimately, the Russos decided to introduce Cap much earlier (specifically during Wanda and Vision's fight with the Black Order) due to everyone at Marvel Studios disliking his late appearance into the film.
  • Initially, Thor was going to track down the ghost of his deceased grandfather Bor Burison (who had previously appeared in a cameo scene in Thor: The Dark World) in order to find a way to stop Thanos, rather than forge Stormbreaker at Nidavellir with Eitri. Also in consideration was that Thor would face off against Jormundgandr, the World Serpent. The artbooks elaborate on this sequence further, explaining that Stormbreaker would've instead been an ancient weapon already forged long ago, used to kill Jormungandr by one of Thor's ancestors. Thor's quest would've involved heading to the World Serpent's corpse to retrieve the axe, and fighting their way through the Serpent's giant children on their way out.
  • One early draft of the script featured a scene where Star-Lord interrupted a poker game on an outlier planet in order to get some information from Howard the Duck. The scene also would've featured a cameo from Ken Jeong, continuing the Running Gag of the Russo brothers sneaking in appearances from former Community cast members. Jeong later wound up with a cameo in Avengers: Endgame, as a security guard who watches as Ant-Man escapes the Quantum Realm inside a facility, while Howard the Duck appears in the same film during the climax, without Seth Green voicing him.
  • In early ideas the climax when Thanos encounters the young Gamora, Thanos was walking through a river of blood representing the blood of his victims instead of walking through water. The idea was scrapped because it was "too dark."
  • Initially, Inhumans was intended to be the film released right after Infinity War (instead of Ant-Man and the Wasp); but then it was downgraded to TV series and Exiled from Continuity alongside all other TV series. If it was kept as a film, the Inhumans would have likely been introduced first in Infinity War, probably as the owners of the Soul Stone, and Thanos would have attacked Attilan as in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers, as a result the Soul Stone is instead on Vormir, guarded by Red Skull and requiring one to sacrifice someone they love.
  • As for the look of Thor post-Ragnarok, it was revealed that there were plans to model him after the Thor from The Ultimates.
  • According to a Q&A the Russo Brothers held, there was a draft of the film that had Thanos as the narrator of the whole film, which would've involved giving the Black Order some more backstory, and introducing them in cool sequences. However, the brothers decided to shelve it because it resulted in a 250-page long script.
  • The snap was originally to be pushed to the start of Endgame, as admitted by the screenwriters but many felt this would deprive the film of a proper climax and Kevin Feige himself had long envisioned and insisted on the snap being a natural conclusion of what was always conceived as a two-part film, hoping to simulate on screen the impact readers experienced when Starlin closed Issue 1 of The Infinity Gauntlet with the snap.
  • The Merged Hulk was going to debut here instead of Endgame, busting out of the Hulkbuster suit to beat Cull Obsidian. Eventually, they felt that a) with too many things going on, it would be better to have him be introduced in the next Avenger movie, and b) it was the wrong tone for the scene, being a victorious moment when the heroes were already headed towards defeat. This was changed so late in production, that the scene—plus most of Endgame—had already been shot, hence why there exists merchandise depicting this moment, despite not actually being in the movie. This unfortunately had the effect of the Hulk only having big heroic moments in Endgame.
  • Dr. Strange was going to send Thanos to be judged by the Living Tribunal during the fight on Titan, which was scrapped both because it killed the pacing of the fight, and the difficulty of establishing who the Living Tribunal even was for non-comic fans after zero previous foreshadowing for him.
  • As revealed by the Russo Brothers during a segment of IGN's "Up at Noon" show, if Marvel had the film rights to the X-Men (which they wouldn't until Disney outright bought Fox) and they'd appeared in the film, Thanos's snap would've killed all the X-Men except for Wolverinenote .
  • Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote scenes where Cap, Natasha, and Falcon fought a bunch of criminals while hiding out post Civil War, and of Steve eating and subsequently bleeding into some mashed potatoes. Both ideas were cut because the former took place too far ahead of their involvement with Thanos, and Kevin Feige found the latter scene to be horrifying.
  • On Knowhere there is a Freeze-Frame Bonus where Tobias Fünke can be seen in a tube (dressed in his Blue Man Group attire from The One Where Michael Leaves). The Russos wanted to get David Cross to reprise his role, but due to scheduling conflicts it couldn't work out so he's presumably played by someone else here.
  • Early in the planning phase, there was an idea for Captain America himself to represent the Soul Stone. The Russo Brothers mentioned that this fell through rather quickly.
  • Howard the Duck, Sharon Carter, Bor, and Happy Hogan were included in early versions of the movie, but they were ultimately removed (Happy did have a cameo, but it was cut).
  • The artbooks detail several unused concepts and sequences that didn't make it into the final film, including:
    • An alternate, more elaborate version of the Q-Ship battle with Ebony Maw. The battle would've involved Strange and Tony briefly swapping abilities, with Tony wearing the Cloak of Levitation and sending the Mark L armour to Strange in order to break him out of Maw's grasp. The Eye of Agamotto would have linked with the armour, forming a glyph-like chest RT and briefly becoming a magically-powered armour.
    • An alternate version of Loki's death, which built off an alternate draft from Ragnarok's climax, where Loki disappeared with the Tesseract instead of joining Thor on the Statesman. The opening scene would've revealed that Loki had fled to Jotunheim, to hide himself and the Tesseract from Thanos, to no avail. His fate still remained the same, but instead Dying Alone as opposed to saving his brother in an act of redemption.
    • An early draft of the Sanctum battle would've had Black Widow present instead of Tony, also shown in the artbook. The battle would've involved Widow, Banner and Wong briefly entering the Mindscape through the Sanctum, where they would've faced their worst fears.
    • A minor action beat/reveal during the Battle of Wakanda, involving War Machine vs the Black Order. During the battle, War Machine would have been overpowered and sliced in half by one of the Black Order, only for them to discover the suit was empty - revealing that Rhodey was remotely piloting the suit from afar using a giant holographic rig, his disability and PTSD making him unable/unwilling to physically take part on the front line. The sequence was scrapped due to a similar beat having already been done with the Mark 42 in Iron Man 3 as a comedic gag.
    • Other drawn sequences included Hulk emerging from the Hulkbuster (an idea changed late enough into production that a toy depicting the scene was actually released by Hasbro) and Thor's quest to Jormungandr, both of which are detailed above. Unused concepts also detailed additions to the Wakandan army, such as robotic panthers, and panther mech suits.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp 

    Captain Marvel 

    Avengers: Endgame 
  • The Downer Ending to Avengers: Infinity War was originally going to be this film's Downer Beginning; had that been the case, Infinity War would have ended with Thanos completing the Infinity Gauntlet before actually using it in this movie. However, the creative teams working on the two films decided that it best suited the story to have the actual Cliffhanger follow the Badass Fingersnap itself and to show its fallout before making viewers wait a year to see how the story would be resolved.
  • It was executive producer Trinh Tran's idea to kill off Thanos early in the film, assuring the writers that having accomplished his goal to decimate half life in the universe, Thanos had no longer a purpose in life and could die satisfied. To ensure the movie still had a Big Bad for the climax, the Time Heist brought Thanos from the time of Guardians Of The Galaxy 2014 forward.
  • Initial versions of the film had more memorials like the Wall of the Vanished in San Francisco erected in every city of the world.
  • Before showing Captain America's support group, there were some shots filmed on Central Park to show that the Snap also wiped out half plant life, depicting Central Park lacking fifty percent of its trees, as confirmed by Word of God back during Infinity War in regards to plant and animal life.
  • In one draft, Rhodey would have become Vice President of the United States after the time skip. This was scrapped because, according to co-writer Christopher Markus, "it didn't have any story weight".
  • The Time Heist suffered many variations during the film's development:
    • The first draft of the script had the characters avoid going back to the events of The Avengers and included Iron Man going with Thor and Rocket to Asgard to collect the Tesseract from Odin's vault (and getting into a fight with Heimdall in the process as the latter would have localized him with his enhanced senses).
    • When Iron Man and Ant-Man plan to retrieve the Tesseract from the 2012 Avengers, there were plans to feature either Nick Fury or Maria Hill as the one to ask the Avengers to deliver both Loki and the Tesseract. When Robert Redford announced his plans to retire after starring on The Old Man & the Gun, they opted to ask him to reprise the role of Alexander Pierce once more, shooting his appearance in one day — his very last one as an actor, other than the version of himself depicted as the President in Watchmen.
    • There were plans for the present day Thor to fight his slimmer, more muscular self from Thor: The Dark World during the Asgard sequence, but that battle was dropped in favor of the similar fight between Captain America and his 2012-era self.
    • Jane Foster was originally going to play the role of the person who pep-talks Thor out of his funk since Natalie Portman was willing to return now, but it was ultimately decided that it would make more sense to give that role to Frigga, since being Thor's mother and it being the point in time where she was to die makes her playing this role much more emotional (which lead to Jane's only scenes in the final film being archived footage from Thor: The Dark World). An scene featuring a conversation between Jane and Rocket was apparently filmed but cut. Though in terms of a major role, Portman was later confirmed to return for Thor: Love and Thunder.
    • A heist in the Triskelion to get the Tesseract and raiding Doctor Strange's apartment, long before the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Doctor Strange, was also considered, back when the writers were hesitant about revisiting The Avengers but ultimately made logical sense to do it at that point, and also in terms of audience familiarity, leading to their attempt to take the Tesseract directly from SHIELD instead, and Hulk running into the Ancient One (as she had not died yet at the time) to get the Time Stone from her.
    • The first draft of the script had the Avengers retrieving the Power Stone from Morag long before the events of Guardians of the Galaxy, back when Morag was actually flooded, as James Gunn previously stated in the audio commentary of Guardians that Morag is entirely covered by oceans and the water lowers every three hundred years. Anthony Russo later noted that early on, the sequence may have involved the presence of a "giant sea eel". Instead War Machine and Nebula visited Morag during the Time Heist, even knocking out Star-Lord.
    • According to the film's DVD Commentary, Peggy Carter was not featured in the Camp Lehigh sequence when Captain America and Iron Man traveled back to the 1970s in the first draft of the film, but Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely ultimately opted to include her as her inclusion was lovely.
    • There was a draft where at Vormir, Clint made the sacrifice for the Soul Stone instead of Natasha, but several women on the crew objected saying that Natasha should be the one to show her heroism and sacrificial love for Clint and his family. Another idea had Captain America as the one to go to Vormir, forcing him and Red Skull to collaborate together so the former could obtain the Soul Stone.
    • The scene at Vormir was originally was going to be much more action-packed, with Thanos and his army attacking Natasha and Clint partway through. The deleted footage officially released shows the mountain being suddenly attacked by Necrocraft, with the two being caught in a losing battle with Thanos' soldiers. Natasha is mortally wounded in the process, and eventually jumps in order to save Clint as Thanos approached him. This was scrapped in favor of making the scene much more emotional and personal, with Natasha choosing to jump herself as opposed to being under duress.
  • The Dark Elves from The Dark World almost returned as part of Thanos's army.
  • At one point, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely considered having Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne participate in the final battle with their old Ant-Man and Wasp suits. It was scrapped because they feared that their presence would've made the battle a "character orgy".
  • The final battle was originally going to be longer, with many characters grouping in a "trench" to discuss their battle plan. It ultimately didn't go through since it didn't feel genuine. The scene was still filmed and included as an extra for the film on Disney+.
  • There were plans to include the Living Tribunal but was vetoed by Marvel. The Russo Brothers felt that in retrospect, it would not have made sense for him to appear out of nowhere.
  • Katherine Langford was cast as an older version of Morgan Stark, who would've spoken to Tony in the Soul Stone just before his death, mirroring the scene where Thanos briefly spoke with a child version of Gamora at the end of Infinity War. The scene was deleted after test audiences found it confusing.
  • In one draft, after discovering the Avenger's plan, past-Thanos traveled to his Earth and wiped it out, along with its Avengers, before traveling to the present day and taunting the present-Avengers with the bodies of their past-selves. In particular, the scene would've had 2014 Cap getting decapitated by Thanos, whose head would've been presented to 2023 Cap to mock him with. This was fortunately left out, but this Thanos escalated the plans of the older one much further (destroy 100% of life and the universe, remake it with him as a god) to make up for this.
  • One version had the unsnapped Avengers going to the Avengers compound after returning, then the movie would cut to five minutes later and they'd all be eating pizza. McFeely referred to this scene as "terrible".
  • According to Kevin Feige, one of the scrapped ideas for this movie would've had the Avengers return from the Time Heist, only to find that 2014 Thanos had overtaken 2023 Earth, sitting on a throne of skulls while waiting for them.
  • Howard the Duck wasn't intended to be featured in the film at all. However, one month ahead the film's release, while checking the finished footage of the Battle of Earth in VFX, the Russo Brothers opined that it would be great to add Howard in the scene and their request was complied.
  • After filming on Tony Stark's funeral concluded, it was considered to digitally add Cassie Lang on the scene to accompany her father, but as Kevin Feige realized, most of the attendants of the funeral had to be Tony's fellow heroes, so Cassie's inclusion was scrapped despite the presence of the Barton family and Harley Keener.
  • According to Sean Gunn, an entire battle in the sky was shot as part of the final battle, and would've featured Kraglin wearing (but not using) a fin with a Yakka arrow similar to the one Yondu had in in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which he had been practicing with in a credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 after Peter gifted him it before the credits). Kraglin can also be seen with all the Avengers on the ground pre-green screening (he's right behind the Wasp in this video), but he's digitally replaced by Groot in the movie proper.note 
  • If the concept art is to be believed, there were plans to have the Hulk rematch Thanos in this film, dealing a significant uppercut to him at one point.
  • Jeff Ford revealed that Black Panther and Ebony Maw were originally going to have a longer battle with each other, rather than the brief scuffle they had in the final battle. It was ultimately reduced to what it was as to flow better towards the final confrontation between Tony and Thanos.
  • The artbook reveals a scrapped sequence detailing an alternate death for 2014 Nebula. Instead, 2014 Nebula would've managed to take the Gauntlet during the final battle and attempted to use it to impress her father, as a nod to her status as the True Final Boss in the original comic. However, she would've been unable to withstand the Stones' power and is killed by them, foreshadowing Tony's own death.
  • Concept art shows that Nakia was supposed to be part of the Amazon Brigade charge during the final battle.
  • Apparently, Ant-Man was supposed to take on a more proactive role during the final battle, as opposed to taking on a single Leviathan and then being relegated to getting the van running, concept art shows he would've been summoning giant ants to act as biological Humongous Mechas for the heroes to ride upon, with one particular piece of art depicting Rocket, Groot and Doctor Strange using one as an impromptu tank, and another showing him using the giant ants to take down a Leviathan.note 
  • A reunion between the respective duos of Rocket and Groot, Tony and Pepper and Hope and Scott involving them giving each other hugs was cut.
  • Concept art reveals that Ant-Man, Hulk and Spider-Man were supposed to team up to invoke a Fastball Special. Similarly, Peter Quill and Captain America are shown fighting back-to-back, and Groot, Rocket and Spider-Man were supposed to use Spidey's webs and Groot's vines to slingshot Rocket towards the enemy. Hulk and Black Panther were planned to have a similar team-up to take down a Leviathan.
  • Rather than being broken in half, Thanos was supposed to shatter Cap's entire shield.
  • Another piece of art displays Miek dueling a Chitauri soldier, implying he would've been more than a background character during the final battle.
  • According to Boss Logic, Tony's eyeball was supposed to pop out of its socket during his death scene.

    Spider-Man: Far From Home 
  • Matt Damon was approached for the part of Quentin Beck before Jake Gyllenhaal was cast. Damon previously had a cameo role in Thor: Ragnarok as an Asgardian actor portraying Loki.
  • Sony had been developing a Mysterio standalone for their universe of movies spun off of Venom, but it appears to have been cancelled entirely after Marvel made their plans for the character clear.
  • Similar to Ant-Man at the end of Phase Two, this movie was meant to be the beginning of Phase Four, but was changed to be the final movie of Phase Three. Funnily enough, both movies are comedic Breather Episodes that came out after an Avengers movie starring a bug-themed superhero, this one a little bit more dramatic compared to Ant-Man as it involves Peter still grieving for Tony and feeling uncomfortable taking on his legacy.
  • There were briefly plans for the movie to feature the debut of Sam Wilson as the new Captain America with Anthony Mackie reprising his role, but it was decided that Peter having to save the day on his own without calling on the Avengers to help him out would fit his character arc better. This is likely why The Falcon and the Winter Soldier instead planned to have U.S. Agent as the next public Captain America (Far From Home makes it clear the general public doesn't know Steve's true fate and what he did next, and assumes he was killed during the battle).
  • New Asgard in Norway was considered as one of the destinations for Peter's field trip.
  • Jon Watts revealed that they considered Captain Britain to appear in the film, although the idea was scrapped during production.
  • Co-writer Erik Sommers said that the character of Swarm was discussed as being one of the illusions used by Mysterio, back when the team wasn't named the Elementals.
  • According to the director, the post-credits reveal that Nick Fury was actually Talos would have been foreshadowed with a Continuity Nod to Captain Marvel, in which "Fury" eats diagonally-cut toast.
  • According to the writers, the Twist Ending in which Peter's identity as Spider-Man is exposed in a video made by Mysterio was going to be different with Peter publicly revealing his identity as Spider-Man during the final battle with Mysterio, an attempt to redo the earlier try during Homecoming but it was changed to make it more of a Wham Episode, as both tries for him to willingly to do, references to Civil War, fly in the face of the Peter that wears a mask to protect his loved ones.

Phase Four

    Black Widow 

    The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 
  • According to insider rumors, one of the main subplots for the series (which has the purported production name "Pandemic Productions, LLC") was originally planned to center on a villainous scheme to unleash a bioweapon on the general public. Purportedly this was ultimately scrapped or at least substantially rewritten during the shooting of the series as the coronavirus epidemic began to spread across the world in mid-late February.note 

    The Eternals 

    Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 

    Untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel 

    Thor: Love and Thunder 
  • The film was originally supposed to be released on November 5, 2021, but the CO-VID 19 pandemic forced the movie to be pushed back to a February 18, 2022 release date.

    Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 

  • The TV show was originally tentatively planned as a movie, which was even included in Jeremy Renner's contract. However, Kevin Feige felt that it would be a better fit as a series on the new Disney+ streaming service, and Renner agreed to the change.

Marvel Television and Shorts

    Marvel One Shots 

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
  • Melinda was originally going to be a white woman named Althea Rice. Ming-Na Wen gave such a strong audition that the character became Chinese and her name was changed.
  • "The Hub" was written to exploit the real-life friendship of Brett Dalton and Iain De Caestecker - it is the first episode to air after the premier of Thor: The Dark World, and the following episode "The Well" covers the crossover elements. This along with the fact that Episode 10: "The Bridge" ends on a cliffhanger before the show returned the following year with "The Magical Place" strongly suggests that before "The Hub" was written, episodes 8-11 were meant to be aired as #7-10; ending the year 2013 with a two-part, mid-season finale.
  • It's been confirmed that Triplett was originally more of a Mauve Shirt - he was going to die in the Season 1 finale around the same time as Garrett did, but his popularity and likability with the production team (and fans) led to his getting a half-season reprieve before finally biting it in season 2 being killed by the Terrigen that turned Raina and Skye into Inhumans. For that matter, Grant Ward is rumored to have been considered for death in the same season finale before they decided he had too much potential to be killed off that quickly prolonging until the mid-season finale of season 3, where Coulson finally kills him, and the new Big Bad Hive then possesses his corpse for the rest of the season.
  • A spinoff involving Lance Hunter and Mockingbird, Marvel's Most Wanted was planned for a 2015 release, but it was shelved in favor of giving Agent Carter another season. It was revisited a year later and a pilot was featuring Delroy Lindo as Dominic Fortune was shot, but ABC ultimately passed on ordering the series, causing Lance to return in season 5 in a guest role, though Adrianna Palicki's obligations to The Orville presumably kept Bobbi from doing the same.
  • An extended scene on the Season 2 DVD with Bobbi and Agent Calderon implies that the Enhanced HYDRA asset that Weaver fought at the academy was about 8 ft. tall and had skin like steel. Presumably, it got cut because it was too close a reference to Colossus from X-Men.
  • There were plans to use Loki Scepter from the original ''Avengers'' movie during the show, but the idea was scrapped due to Age of Ultron.
  • There were discussions about having Emily VanCamp reprise her role as Sharon Carter from the movies, but her commitments to Revenge prevented this.
  • Crystal from Inhumans was announced to be making an appearance in Season 5 shortly before that show started. Then its horrific reception caused them to walk back on whatever the plan was.

    Agent Carter 

  • Michael C. Hall, Damian Lewis, and Scott Adkins were considered for the role of Matt Murdock before the casting of Charlie Cox.
  • Jason Statham was approached for the part of Bullseye in the second season. Bullseye would later appear in the third season of the series portrayed by Wilson Bethel.
  • Sonny Chiba was considered for the role of Stick before Scott Glenn was cast.
  • Shortly after the first season was filmed, Marvel Studios reached an agreement with Columbia Pictures to share the film rights to Spider-Man, which would have allowed Ben Urich to be working at the Daily Bugle. That would have radically changed his position at the paper, since J. Jonah Jameson, regardless of his opinion of superheroes, is an absolutely fearless newspaper editor and publisher and he would have backed the reporter's investigations all the way.
  • Many have suspected that Ben Urich was killed off because of the same rights dispute that caused them to change the Daily Bugle to the New York Bulletin. However, Steven S. DeKnight has said that it was always part of the plan to kill off Ben:
    Steven S. DeKnight: I’ve been known to kill off a character or two in my past (laughs). I wish I could take credit for this, but killing off Urich was decided before I signed on. I want to say it was Marvel’s idea. They really wanted to show that toward the end of the season because we knew we’d get some sympathy for Fisk, to have him do something truly terrible that would propel Matt into that final endgame in the confrontation with Fisk. And to let the audience know that the gloves were off: just because he was a beloved character in the comics, doesn’t mean he’s safe. It’s one interpretation. It’s like writers doing a new run of the comic. It felt right for the story. Much like episode four where Fisk kills Anatoly, not because he did something to cross him in the criminal world, but because he embarrassed him on a date. Urich gets murdered because he committed the unforgivable sin in Fisk’s mind: he went to Fisk’s mother. The last thing you want to do with Fisk is at all involve, insult, drag through the mud the women in his life he loves. That will be a serious trigger for him.
  • An interview from Steven S. DeKnight reveals some material that was left on the cutting room floor, such as:
    • It was originally planned for Elena Cardenas to meet a far more gruesome death - in a bombing that left only her limbs and whatnot behind - rather than get murdered by a junkie on Wilson Fisk's orders. The writers thought it was too violent and decided a stabbing was more straightforward. Incidentally, such a plot element was used in Jessica Jones, where Kilgrave tries to kill Simpson by using Jessica's elderly neighbor Mrs. De Luca as a suicide bomber.
    • The original first draft of the scene where Claire is kidnapped and taken to the Veles Taxi garage to be tortured by Sergei was originally more graphic, in the sense that Sergei would have threatened her with sexual assault.
  • According to DeKnight, the scene where Stick reports the outcome of his mission to Stone was intended to be a Post-credits Scene, but it was simply added at the end of an episode due to the way Netflix airs its episodes.
  • According to Amy Rutberg, Marci was only planned to be in one episode but things changed and they chose to give her more screen time.
  • The entire series is arguably this - supposedly, Marvel offered Fox an extension to reboot Daredevil in return for Marvel being able to use some of the more cosmic-related charactersnote  associated with the Fantastic Four (which Fox owned the rights to at the time), presumably for the intent of using them for films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers Infinity War. Fox refused the offer, intent on making their own Fantastic Four movie...which not only did not involve any of the characters that would've been involved in the deal, but ended up being a Box Office Bomb; the Daredevil rights would later revert to Marvel, and this series was likely greenlit as a result.
  • The Punisher was originally set to be introduced in a post-credits scene at the end of the first season, where he kills Leland Owlsley, with the character's face unseen but his skull insignia appearing. The idea was dropped because of the way Netflix airs its episodes.
  • The plan from the start of production on season 3 was for Ray Nadeem to die as ultimately happened in the final product. However, for a period of time, the writers and showrunner actually toyed with the idea of sparing Nadeem, but Jay Ali insisted on keeping to the original plans of killing him.
  • Had the show gotten a fourth season instead of being cancelled, filming would've began in February 2019.

    Jessica Jones 
  • Alexandra Daddario, Jessica De Gouw, Teresa Palmer, and Marin Ireland screen-tested for the role of Jessica Jones before Krysten Ritter was cast.
  • Jim Carrey was the original choice for the part of Kilgrave before the casting of David Tennant.
  • Carol Danvers was originally going to appear as a supporting character, but this went out the window due to potential complications with the then-upcoming Captain Marvel film. Trish Walker was given her role as Jessica's best friend instead.
  • The world of the show was originally going to be closer to that of the comic, with superheroes already being a well known and established part of the universe and superpowers being much more ubiquitous. This was changed to match the more subdued Marvel Cinematic Universe, where for the most part, the only publicly known superheroes at the time were the Avengers and Daredevil. Although, the public is at least aware that there are more "gifted" individuals than just the aforementioned ones.
  • Originally Jessica Jones was due to be introduced into the MCU via the One Shots before the show was released, with a script written by Drew Pearce.
  • The writers were setting up Will Simpson to become his supervillain identity of Daredevil villain Nuke in Season 2, but the writers had no idea where to fit it within the plot, so they opted for Simpson being brought Back for the Dead.

    Luke Cage 
  • Lance Gross and Cleo Anthony screen-tested for the role of Luke Cage before Mike Colter was cast.
  • The crew hoped to get Prince as one of the acts in Cottonmouth's club, and even put in Pop's swear jar specifically to entice him, due to his own policy of fining fans who used profanity at his shows. Sadly, he died before they could approach him.

    Iron Fist 

  • As mentioned above, the television series was originally intended to be a movie. Joe Robert Cole (currently the co-writer for Black Panther) had even written a first draft of the script back in 2014, but left the project once it was removed from the schedule. In the original film schedule, the Inhumans would have been released after Avengers: Infinity War, instead of Ant-Man and the Wasp. Screen Rant considers that the likely project was to introduce the Inhumans in Infinity War before their solo film, as Spider-Man and Black Panther were introduced in Civil War. Thanos and the Black Order would have attacked Attilan, as in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers, to retrieve one of the infinity stones, and their solo film would have been set in the aftermath of Thanos' attack.
  • Mark Brooks made some unused concept art for the series, including a much more impressive and comic accurate design for Auran.

    The Punisher 
  • Louis Herthum and James Frain auditioned for the role of Frank Castle before the casting of Jon Bernthal.
  • The creative team tried to work in a cameo for Claire Temple, and Rosario Dawson was very hopeful about it, but ultimately they couldn't figure out a way to have her organically appear (likely considering there was no way she'd be inclined to help someone like Frank) and figured it was better to not force it. This is the reason why Curtis has to stitch Frank's arrow wound up, and later on Dinah's father has to put Frank back together after being tortured by Rawlins. And it is also the reason why Karen Page functions as the crossover character to link this show to the other shows, instead of Claire.
  • Steve Lightfoot has revealed that Karen Page was never part of his original plan for the show and she was essentially written in at the eleventh hour. He also may have had more scenes planned for Karen, but Deborah Ann Woll's schedule didn't allow it. She was also shooting The Defenders while The Punisher season 1 was being filmed. Likewise, while a leaked set photo from the set of The Punisher season 2 suggests she'll be back, she again won't be in many episodes since most of the season's shooting schedule is happening simultaneously with Daredevil season 3, which is Karen's flagship show.
  • In one interview, Michael Nathanson revealed that he originally auditioned to play David Lieberman, which makes one speculate who would've played Sam Stein if that had happened.
  • Actor/writer Adam G. Simon pitched a gritty R-rated Punisher film within the MCU to Marvel and updated the pitch to account for Frank Castle's prior appearances in the MCU.
    Simon: In my take, we find Frank Castle as we left him at the end of the series, only now completely aware of the threat that superheroes and villains pose to mankind. So, Frank Castle has to go gunning for the person who he feels is responsible for the innumerable civilian casualties. The one who started it all by organizing these weapons of mass destruction to come together. Nick Fury. The twist is that Frank is being used, he spots the double-cross early at the end of act one. From that point on, we have a 3:10 to Yuma situation. Frank and Fury on the run from everyone, heroes and villains. It’s 3:10 to Yuma meets Léon: The Professional by way of Winter Soldier.

  • Originally, Runaways was going to be a full-on MCU movie that got as far as casting calls before the studio decided to put its full focus on the Avengers franchise instead. instead. It was retooled in a show after more movies were released to develop the universe, making it easier for audiences to accept.
  • The season 3 finale teased the introduction of Victor Mancha, one of the most popular Runaways characters, but then the show was cancelled.


    Other Assorted Trivia 
  • Way back when Marvel announced their Phase One film slate in 2006, a solo Nick Fury film written by Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One, End of Days, Hollow Man) was one of the titles included. Nothing ever came of this, and Fury instead ended up appearing across the MCU as the major connective force between the movies.
  • James Gunn was interested in directing a Thunderbolts movie, which Kevin Feige claimed was a possibility should Guardians of the Galaxy do well enough at the box office. The surprise success of Guardians led to Marvel quickly announcing a sequel, which resulted in Thunderbolts being regulated to Development Hell.
  • A Runaways film written by Drew Pearce was in the works for Phase 2, and got far enough along in production that a casting call was released (which drew flack for allegedly whitewashing Nico Minoru, though Marvel claims this was a misunderstanding), and Keke Palmer was approached for a role. The film was shelved indefinitely after the massive success of The Avengers caused Marvel to rethink its plans for future movies, and lead to the creation of Series/Runaways on Hulu.
  • Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Nick Fury, and Loki were all considered as possible Marvel One-Shots, but were ultimately rejected. The former three because Marvel felt they couldn't be done justice given the short length, and the latter because the studio thought the required special effects budget would have been cost-prohibitive. The former two ultimately got their own movies, and Loki his own Disney+ series.
  • Daredevil began as a pitch for a movie reboot in the MCU. It was determined that while the idea was too low stakes and low budget to work as a film, it was the perfect fit for Marvel's burgeoning line of Netflix shows.
  • When Fox still had the Daredevil rights, Kevin Feige offered them an extension in exchange for Fox returning Galactus and the Silver Surfer. This means there's an alternate timeline somewhere where the Netflix Daredevil show never happened, but Marvel got to use Galactus and the Surfer in Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War, Captain Marvel, and Endgame.
  • Don Cheadle has said that there were discussions about a solo War Machine Spin-Off. Cheadle's idea was to have Rhodey go rogue and become a fugitive in order to complete a forbidden and politically-volatile mission that he viewed as morally right. Joe Robert Cole was hired to write the script, but the project was shelved due to potential conflicts with Shane Black's plans for Rhodey in Iron Man 3. Cole would later go on to write the Black Panther film with Ryan Coogler.
  • Doctor Mordrid was going to be a Doctor Strange movie, but the Doctor Strange license expired.
  • Blade:
    • In a case of "what could not have been", Marvel made it clear that after New Line Cinema's Blade license expired, that there was no intention of him joining the MCU. Most likely, it was due to his Darker and Edgier nature and ties to the supernatural being an odd fit at the time. Then, after many years of fan requests, the world of the MCU itself being better established, and the MCU becoming such a Cash Cow Franchise, a proper Blade reboot was announced for MCU Phase 5 with Mahershala Ali in the lead role.
    • The creators of the Underworld franchise proposed a crossover with Marvel's Blade, presumably with Wesley Snipes reprising his role. Marvel Studios passed due to wanting to have a clean slate to reintroduce Blade at some point in the future.
  • An Inhumans movie was initially scheduled for Phase 3, with a tentative November 2018 release date, which was later pushed back to July 2019. After Ike Perlmutter (who had championed the project despite a lack of interest from Kevin Feige) was ousted from Marvel Studios, the film was pulled from the Phase 3 line-up altogether, with a live-action TV show being ordered by ABC instead.
  • Marvel's initial choice for Nick Fury was George Clooney, not Samuel L Jackson. Although Clooney's first superhero outing was an Old Shame for him, what caused Clooney to reject the role was the rather violent Marvel Fury MAX series. As such, Marvel went to Jackson, who had let them use his likeness for the Ultimate version of Nick Fury in return for being able to portray him in a film at a later point.
  • Back in 1979, Marvel planned to release what effectively would've been the first Avengers movie, long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a concept. However, the Avengers (and Spider-Man) were side-characters for Dazzler, a disco-theme mutant. Buckle up, this gets wild. As part of a cross-promotion idea between Marvel and Casablanca Records, they envisioned Dazzler as a comic book hero whose's "secret identity" of a pop singer would be an actual singer in the real world. This idea evolved into an animated special and then a full-blown movie pitch, where Dazzler would join with the Avengers and Spider-Man were flung into the future to fight super-powered versions of KISS, Cher, Donna Summer and The Village People. Other weirdness included Robin Williams playing the main love interest and Rodney Dangerfield playing three lawyers who are the personification of an Eldritch Abomination. Both the film deal and record deal fell through, leaving Dazzler as a comic book character alone, and delaying the first appearance of the Avengers in a film by 33 years.
  • Plans for a Luke Cage movie had been kicking around for years. Quentin Tarantino was once set to direct one after Reservoir Dogs starring Laurence Fishburne, but abandoned it due to studio insistence that Wesley Snipes be chosen instead. Columbia Pictures started development in 2003, with a screenplay penned by Ben Ramsey, Avi Arad serving as producer and John Singleton directing. Jamie Foxx and Tyrese Gibson were considered for the lead role, while Dwayne Johnson and Idris Elba expressed interest in playing Luke Cage.
  • There were plans for an Iron Fist movie since 2000 starring Ray Park with a script by John Turman and co-financed by Artisan Entertainment. Kirk Wong signed to direct in July 2001, with filming set for late 2001/early 2002. It nearly went into pre-production in March 2002. Wong left the project in April 2002. By August 2002, pre-production had started. Filming was pushed back to late 2002 and then to late 2003. In March 2003, Marvel announced a 2004 release date. In April 2003, Steve Carr entered negotiations to direct. In November 2003, the release date was moved to 2006. In March 2007, Carr placed the film on hold due to scheduling conflicts.


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