The 5 Weirdest Choices The MCU Almost Made

The difference between success and failure often lies in your ability to kill a bad idea. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a perfect example of this, though you wouldn't know it, since their worst ideas never saw the light of day (well, for the most part). Any one of these could have changed the MCU -- and maybe the whole entertainment landscape -- in some very weird ways.

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5
Civil War Was Almost A Zombie Movie

Captain America: Civil War has to do so much heavy lifting to launch other MCU characers that it's kind of amazing the movie itself is good at all. It introduces Black Panther and Spider-Man, integrates Ant-Man into the group, and sets the stage for Infinity War and Endgame. You imagine a screenwriter being handed a set of strict studio directives and then told to go wild with the remaining four pages of the script.

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Yet at the early stages, this movie bore no resemblance to what we got. Spider-Man almost wasn't in it. Some heroes fought on different sides. The Wasp almost showed up. And at one point, it wasn't even going to be Civil War.

Instead it was going to be an adaptation of "Madbomb," a Jack Kirby story about a ... bomb ... that makes you mad. It would've still contained the basic Bucky / Captain America plot, but not the major Iron Man stuff. The problem was that before Civil War, Marvel Studios was worried they wouldn't be able to negotiate a deal with Robert Downey Jr. to be in the movie (but more on that in a moment).

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So instead of Big Government Iron Man, there would have been even more focus on Baron Zemo, who would have set off a bomb that turned civilians and heroes alike into uncontrollable zombies. Now, the people wouldn't have been dead, just rage zombies like in 28 Days Later. Just imagine: Instead of the hordes of mindless aliens and robots the Avengers had overcome in earlier films, they'd have had to fight ... hordes of random citizens?

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Maybe they could have pulled it off. It'd have certainly added a layer of moral complexity, with Cap weeping as he bashes a brainwashed octogenarian in the face with his shield. But yeah, it's probably best that they went another direction with it. As for the RDJ stuff ...

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Related: 7 Wildly Different Versions Of Movies That We Almost Had

4
Disagreements About Civil War Almost Ruined Everything

Robert Downey Jr. practically is the MCU. Hell, the next Spider-Man film is all about people trying to live up to the standard he set (which was also the plot of the last Spider-Man movie). So it's bizarre to think that a pay dispute almost kept him out of Civil War and nearly caused Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to quit entirely.

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RDJ's contract was up after Age Of Ultron, and really, there was no reason he had to be in Captain America 3 at all. But Batman v. Superman was coming out, and Marvel wanted a similar hero vs. hero film that could dunk on it so hard that the backboard shattered. So they asked Downey back for a small role, but he asked for a much bigger role (and a much, much bigger paycheck), which turned it into Civil War, aka Avengers 2.5.

Enter Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter. When he heard about this, he went ballistic and tried to get Downey written out of the movie. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind the whole MCU thing, was apparently so pissed off by this that he threatened to quit.

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Just on a story level, that would have had a ripple effect across the rest of the MCU. Civil War would have been severely different, as I mentioned. But you also lose the Spider-Man / Tony Stark mentor relationship. Considering how the plot of Infinity War and Endgame unfolds directly from the events of Civil War, those are now different films too. And would Downey have stuck around for more films if things had turned ugly?

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Ultimately, Downey's negotiations caught the eye of Disney. When they heard about Perlmutter's penny-pinching, they changed the leadership structure so that Feige could do his thing. Otherwise, today we'd probably be reading about how petty budget squabbling did to the Avengers what Thanos couldn't.

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Related: 10 Great Movies And TV Shows That Were Almost Disasters

3
Inhumans Was Supposed To Be The Big Movie After Infinity War

Remember Inhumans, that show that lasted approximately four minutes on ABC? It had an IMAX debut, and then it died in the street like a weird teleporting dog? (That sentence would make more sense if anyone had watched the show).

For those who didn't lose hours of their life to Bad Wigs: The Experience, here's the breakdown: There are these people called Inhumans, which are like mutants, except not really. This is partially because they have a ruling caste who lives on the moon and decides who gets powers (and also they have slaves). In the show, they get transported to Hawaii, because it's cheaper than the moon (although probably not significantly). In the end, Inhumans only managed to score one more aired episode than the show based on the GEICO cavemen.

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Originally, though, the Inhumans weren't getting their own show -- they were getting their own film. They would've shown up in the first movie set after the Snap, between Infinity War and Endgame.

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But why the big push for a property that is, on the whole, a terrible idea? Well, that's Ike Perlmutter's whole shit. He was likely pissed that Fox had the film rights to the X-Men, so he was pushing, in comics and movies, for the Inhumans to take over as the #1 easy Marvel excuse for a random character to have powers.

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Unfortunately for Perlmutter, those aforementioned shakeups at Marvel meant we didn't get the adventures of a pasty superpowered royal family on the big screen. The Inhumans flopped on TV, and no one noticed or cared.

Related: 5 Classic Movies That Were Almost Ruined By Horrifying Ideas

2
Almost Everything About The Avengers Was Going To Be Different

When Joss Whedon was brought on to direct The Avengers, a lot of things were in the air, but the release date wasn't one of them. He had a little time to do a lot of stuff, which meant this efficient crowd-pleaser of a film was a last-minute juggling act.

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Like, you know how when it comes down to it, girls are all interchangeable? You can just swap one redhead out for another. People can't even tell the difference! That was Marvel's idea when making the first Avengers. Unsure if Scarlett Johansson was going to come back, Joss Whedon had the idea to replace her with the Wasp. But she wasn't going to be the same kickass spy that Widow is in the finished film. Instead the whole film would have been from her perspective, following as she became an Avenger.

They got so far that there are animatics with Wasp in it. And they'd go a step further in the next Avengers movie, shooting film plates for Captain Marvel's arrival (during the end reveal of the New Avengers), only to replace her with Scarlet Witch. Because they're all pretty much the same, right?

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At another point, Whedon thought that maybe an ancient god wielding a mind-warping weapon and commanding an endless legion of aliens wouldn't be a logical threat, so he was going to introduce a second villain for the Avengers to face. Because as we all know from poet laureate Joel Schumacher's masterpiece Batman Forever, haphazardly adding a second villain is a trick that never goes awry. Red Skull was considered at one point, but the baddie that Whedon had in mind was Ezekiel Stane, the son of Obadiah, the villain from the first Iron Man. Would he build a suit? Would he pose any kind of existential threat? Were audiences THAT impressed with bald Jeff Bridges that they wanted to know what his shitty kid was up to? The questions are endless.

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What's baffling is how simple the film we now have is in comparison. There are few new characters, the villain is one we've seen before, and the main focus is on the heroes we know and love coming together to fight. Right there we have the first commandment of superhero franchises: Resist the urge to overcomplicate things.

Related: 5 Classic Movies That Almost Had Terrible Endings

1
The First Post-Credits Tease Was Thrown In At The Last Minute

If Iron Man is the father of the MCU, then Nick Fury is its cool uncle. He's always coming around at random times, saying cryptic shit, is never there when you need him, and his best friend is a cat. And when Fury first appeared after the credits in Iron Man, it was game-changer. But despite it being the best, coolest, most fashionable and hip idea in the entire Universe, Fury's cameo almost wasn't.

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You have Samuel L. Jackson himself to thank for the scene. See, he is a hardcore comic nerd. There's a reason his portrayal as the superhero-obsessed Mr. Glass is so good -- he lives that shit for real. And when he heard Marvel was making Iron Man, he had his representative call them and ask for a role.

When Kevin Feige got the call, he thought about it and decided that Jackson would be perfect for Nick Fury. Which, again, is all thanks to Jackson. Back in the 2000s, Marvel had launched its Ultimate imprint, which redid all its heroes for the modern age. The Ultimate version of the Avengers -- the, uh, Ultimates -- was a huge influence on the Avengers film, and was written by Mark Millar. Millar had a lot of pull with Marvel, so when he came up with the idea of basing Ultimate Nick Fury's likeness on Jackson, they made it happen. Jackson found out about it and agreed to let them use his likeness on one condition: That he would play Nick Fury in any movie they made.

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So when Feige got the call, he brought Jackson in for the stinger. That scene's writer, Brian Michael Bendis, was contacted the day before the scene was shot and wrote some dialog. Yeah, that's right. Iron Man being brought into a bigger world, the MCU, the tradition of post-credits teasers -- all of those were last-minute additions. And it all stems from the producers following one universal rule of life: When Samuel L. Jackson calls, you pick up the damned phone.

For more, check out The Awful Spider-Man Movie James Cameron Almost Made:


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