Although it may seem like the executives at Marvel Studios, such as Kevin Feige, have all the answers when it comes to the events of the MCU, sometimes we forget that they’re only human, and it’s always a moving work in progress. Occasionally, ideas don’t make the final cut regardless of how big they may be.
Having said that, there have been a few times during production when entire characters have ended up being scratched or moved around within the MCU—some you may know about and some you may not! Here are just a few of the characters who almost appeared in different parts of the MCU, but never did:
1. Hawkeye in Captain America: Winter Soldier
The character of Hawkeye debuted in the first Thor film and eventually played a big role in the first Avengers movie. After that, we didn’t see Clint Barton in action again until Avengers: Age of Ultron. Since the second Cap film revolved around the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., Barton was originally set to appear in it, but the screenwriters ultimately omitted him because they felt there would be too many supporting characters in the plot.
2. Captain Marvel in Avengers: Age of Ultron
It turns out that the powerful Captain Marvel almost debuted much earlier than this year. Joss Whedon originally wanted the character to show up in the last act of Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Kevin Feige decided to hold off and cast her later on. Though she certainly made a strong impression in Captain Marvel, she would’ve been a welcome addition to the team at any point in time.
3. Wolverine in Fantastic Four
The idea of Wolverine making an appearance in the Fantastic Four films occurred early on, before Hugh Jackman made the character synonymous with the X-Men movie franchise. Although both entities are owned by Fox, the minds behind the Fantastic Four ended up cutting the Wolverine cameo and thus, any connection between the two films. We can still spot a quick allusion to it in an extended scene though!
4. Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Shailene Woodley was originally cast as the famous love interest of Peter Parker in a story arc in which both Mary Jane and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy had romances with Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Woodley filmed her part as Mary Jane, but the footage eventually got dropped from the final film. Director Mark Webb said he greatly regretted her omission from the second film, but it looks like that’s just how the cookie crumbled for this casting/character.
5. Captain America in The Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk served as a weird beginning for the Hulk within the MCU, with Edward Norton playing the role that Mark Ruffalo would later take on. In some teaser trailers for the film, we briefly see Bruce Banner in an arctic wilderness setting, and if the story had gone down this path, Banner would’ve inadvertently found Steve Rogers’ frozen body, thus starting Captain America’s story and his MCU connection. However, that route was never taken, and Cap ended up premiering in his own origin film.
6. Nick Fury in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Before Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury debuted in a post-credits scene in Iron Man, there was another idea that involved the character. In the second Fantastic Four film, the creators had planned for Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andre Braugher to take on the role. Since Fox owns the Fantastic Four, the studio tried to get the rights to the character but failed, so the idea was dropped. The rest is MCU history…
7. Wonder Man in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The inclusion of the wacky character Wonder Man in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, played by Nathan Fillion, was James Gunn’s idea. Fans have showed great interest in seeing Wonder Man on the big screen, but ultimately Gunn just couldn’t find a place for him in the movie. He even thought up a brief Wonder Man cameo in the form of a film festival named after the character’s alter ego, Simon Williams. That scene also ended up getting cut, so Wonder Man remains a fantasy casting.
8. Storm in X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The Wolverine origin film had a lot of problems, but one of its redeeming qualities was the handful of cameos by several famous mutants including Emma Frost, the Blob, and even Professor X himself. Director Gavin Hood originally wanted to include a young version of Storm in the movie, but it ended up creating timeline issues. In the end, Wolverine and Storm still met for the first time in the first X-Men film. However, young Storm’s brief cameo can be seen in the deleted scenes featurette included on the X-Men Origins: Wolverine DVD.
9. Fantastic Four in Deadpool 2
Deadpool’s universe doesn’t exactly abide by the laws of separate worlds or overlapping timelines, so an appearance by the Fantastic Four could’ve very well occurred. Ideas were floated of a collective cameo being made by the cast of the 2015 adaptation, but that group was eventually replaced by the actors from X-Men: Dark Phoenix. An appearance by either of the Fantastic Four teams would’ve created some casting overlaps for Chris Evans and Michael B. Jordan, but it still would’ve been funny. Maybe next time.
10. Sabretooth in Logan
The complicated relationship between Wolverine and his half-brother, Sabretooth, was one of the best things to come out of Wolverine’s origin movie. The ending of Wolverine’s story would have been the perfect time to have a reunion between the two mutants. Both Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold reached out to Liev Schreiber to reprise his role in Logan, but scheduling conflicts ended up making an appearance impossible.