Since Robert Downey Jr. introduced Iron Man to the world 14 years ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gone through four distinct stages, the entirety of the Infinity Saga, and more Easter eggs than we care to count.
Although the MCU packs a lot into its runtimes, there is usually some content that is left on the cutting room floor. The transition from page to screen is never an easy one. A single scene may dramatically change the course of a carefully-crafted series, whether it be post-credit stingers or entire characters.
Even though they may touch viewers’ emotions, scenes, where Steve Rogers struggles to fit in with modern society or Stephen Strange, treats a wounded dog are hardly MCU-defining. If you’re prepared to put on some spandex, here are 10 deleted sequences that would have drastically altered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it.
It’s no secret that Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk—which debuted shortly after 2008’s Iron Man but at a time when the concept of a shared universe was still just a seed—is the MCU’s black sheep. An alternative opening depicted Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner fighting the Hulk’s alter persona in the bleak world.
Banner attempted to kill himself with a gun in the desolate Arctic setting, but the Hulk spits the bullet out. The infuriated green behemoth then proceeded to destroy a glacier. If you look closely, you can see Captain America’s frozen body and his shield waking up from their frozen slumber.
This would have completely changed Chris Evans‘ First Avenger origin tale and the way Nick Fury discovered him in Fury’s Big Week comic book series. However, this fleeting cameo was a fantastic opportunity to connect Norton’s forgotten Hulkin to the MCU’s mythology.
Jon Favreau’s Iron Man did more than just have the privilege of launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe—it also sowed the seeds for all that would follow. The Nick Fury post-credits stinger gave us a taste of the Avengers, but it also almost introduced a particular wall-crawling hero and some talented kids.
Fury discussed radioactive bug bites and various mutations in an extended version of Samuel L. Jackson’s well-known post-credit scene. It’s incredible to think that Spider-Man and the X-Men could have been presented in the first MCU film, but complicated rights difficulties prevented it.
Instead, we were forced to wait until 2016 for Captain America: Civil War and 2022 for Ms. The impending advent of the X-Men and mutantkind in the main MCU timeline has just recently been hinted at by Marvel.