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Scenes That Never Made It Into The MCU That Would Change The Entire Timeline

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been firing on all cylinders for more than a decade now. Ever since the success of 2008's "Iron Man," the franchise has seen incredible highs, and some unavoidable lows as it charts a course across the universe with more leading characters than any single movie series has seen before.

Despite it seeming inevitable in hindsight, the success of the MCU was never really a sure thing. Marvel Studios was starting out with the major handicap of not having the rights to its most popular characters, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. As such, the company had to make do with mostly b-list characters from Marvel Comics that had little cultural currency at the time.    

Marvel's solution was to weave a giant tapestry of a cinematic universe where different heroes popping up in each other's films became a regular occurrence. This single tactic, unheard-of at a time of solo superhero movies, took the MCU to the top of the box-office charts over the next decade. Let us take a look at some deleted scenes from MCU films that would have had a major impact on the franchise' interconnected narrative. 

Thanos meets the Living Tribunal

In 2018's "Infinity War," The Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) grew more powerful than anyone else in the universe after getting his hands on multiple Infinity Stones. It took the combined might of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to briefly hold-off Thanos on his home planet Titan. Strange in particular acquitted himself admirably against the Mad Titan before being dusted due to Thanos' snap. 

The writers of the movie, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, revealed that at one point in the script, Strange sent Thanos on an out-of-body experience. "[The] idea was that [Thanos is] sort of zipping through the universe being presented with all of his many, many crimes," McFeely explained at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con. "So bodies are being thrown at him, he lands and things turn into bodies, hands are grasping at him, and it's just really kind of grim. And at the end he gets dumped in front of the Living Tribunal who judges him guilty. It was great."

In Marvel Comics, the Living Tribunal is a multiverse entity of unfathomable power who sits in judgment of every being in the Marvel-verse. According to McFeely, the presence of such a character would have made even someone like Thanos seem small and insignificant in comparison, and so the decision was made to drop the Living Tribunal cameo from the final draft of the script. 

Miles Morales has entered the chat

2021's "Spider-Man: No Way Home" was that rare blockbuster that was being endlessly hyped not for the characters who were confirmed to appear in the film, but the characters that might show up in the film. After months of feverish speculation and online gossip, fans collectively cheered and celebrated when Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire's versions of Spider-Man joined Tom Holland in the film.

As epic as the moment was, there was one major Spidey missing from the line-up: Miles Morales, who previously headlined his 2018's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." There is even a line by Electro (Jamie Foxx) in "No Way Home" that wonders about the existence of a Black Spider-Man. It turns out the hint at Miles' presence was going to be much more overt at one point. 

In a deleted scene from 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming," Donald Glover's small-time crook character makes a phone call where he can be heard saying to his nephew, "Sorry, Miles. I'm not gonna make it." The scene proves that Miles' entry into the MCU has been on the minds of the producers for years now, and it's likely only a matter of time before he makes his debut as a new Spider-Man.

Quicksilver lives

The MCU is often praised for taking multiple major characters and giving them their own moments to shine in big ensemble storylines. That has been the very basis of the success of the "Avengers" movies, which always feel very much like stories of a superhero team rather than one or two main characters and many sidekicks. 

This kind of balancing act is tough to pull off consistently. Occasionally, a character will slip through the cracks. This happened with Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." The character's death at the end of the movie after getting hit by a hail of bullets was so underwhelming that it was mocked in "WandaVision," by a seemingly-resurrected and/or alternate reality Quicksilver. But the speedster almost came back from the dead much earlier. Almost immediately, in fact. 

During an interview for Empire podcast (via CinemaBlend), director Joss Whedon revealed that a few scenes were filmed which had Quicksilver surviving his bullet injuries. "We did actually shoot him in the last scene, in an outfit, with his sister," Whedon explained. "We also shot him, waking up, saying, 'Ah, I didn't really die from these 47 bullet wounds!' Actually, we shot something else with that, but ... maybe I'll let you know about that later. But the intent was to earn this, and then you have to stand by it."  

Wanda and Rocket take off together

The MCU has been consistently praised for its chemistry between the cast members. 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" relied heavily on this, as various heroes paired off to go into the past to retrieve Infinity Stones from across the universe. Wanda Maximoff aka The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) was not a part of this adventure, as she had been dusted previously by Thanos' snap. But there was a version of the storyline where Wanda survives, and teams up with none other than Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy to find an infinity stone by... driving a really long way.    

"There was an iteration where Wanda was alive," the film's co-writer Christopher Markus told Screen Rant. "She hadn't been blipped. Wanda and Rocket drove a car from the Triskelion to Doctor Strange's house, then used the doorway to go to Kamar-Taj and just get [an Infinity Stone]." The idea never made it past the concept stage as it was deemed too slow for an action movie. Wanda remained blipped, which in turn directly led to the events of "WandaVision" and beyond.   

Fury knows Spidey and the X-Men

Today, mid/post-credit scenes in the MCU are considered a necessary tradition for the franchise, a way to set up future movies and tease the arrival of major Marvel Comics characters and get fans hyped years in advance. But there was one post-credit scene that was eventually cut from 2008's "Iron Man," likely for promising way more than the studio could afford to at the time.

In the deleted scene, Nick Fury arrives at Tony's Stark's residence after the latter has publicly admitted to being Iron Man. "As if gamma accidents, radioactive bug bites, and assorted mutants were not enough," Fury comments to Tony while walking towards him. "I have to deal with a spoiled brat who doesn't play well with others and wants to keep all his toys to himself." With that single line, Fury would have confirmed the existence of Spider-Man and the X-Men right at the start of the MCU. 

Unfortunately, the rights to those characters were not with Marvel Studios at the time. Perhaps this was why the scene was removed from the final cut of the movie. The superhero line-up in 2012's "The Avengers" would have looked a lot different if Marvel Studios had managed to overcome the legal hurdles and expand on Fury's words in the deleted scene.

Captain Marvel is simply there

The last addition to the MCU during the "Infinity Saga" was Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). Her arrival was teased at the very end of "Avengers: Infinity War," after Thanos had already snapped half of existence away, and she only became a full member of the Avengers in the 2019 sequel "Endgame." 

But according to a deleted scene from "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Captain Marvel could have been in the mix much earlier. She was depicted as already being a part of the Avengers without any explanation given for her backstory. Another hero would have also been a part of the scene — Spider-Man himself — if the director Joss Whedon had gotten his way.

"I was like, 'And Spider-Man, we could do that too," Whedon explained to Empire Podcast (via IndieWire). "Cause Sony had approached us during the first movie about a little integration. So I would have put both of [Spider-Man and Captain Marvel] in, but neither of the deals were made." While Carol Danvers had to wait a long time for her MCU debut after that, Spidey actually did show up in the next quasi-Avengers movie, 2016's "Captain America: Civil War."

The Incredible Hulk finds Steve Rogers

While everyone fondly remembers "Iron Man" for kickstarting the MCU, there was another movie released in the same year that was also a major part of the franchise. 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" was not a big success at the box-office or with critics, but is still critical to the genesis of the MCU, complete with a Tony Stark cameo scene. In the scene, General Ross is approached by a suave and dapper Tony to talk about working together on "a team we're putting together." Originally, however, another Avengers was meant to make his debut in "The Incredible Hulk" as an Easter egg.

deleted opening scene for the movie shows Steve Rogers aka Captain America's frozen body breaking out of the ice in the same location where Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) tries unsuccessfully to take his own life. If the scene had been kept in the movie, it would have meant a fellow superhero was responsible for Captain America coming out of the ice into the modern world, instead of Nick Fury being the one to bring him out on behalf of the US government. This would have mirrored the original source material from the comics, where Captain America was brought out of hibernation by Iron Man and the other heroes in "Avengers (1963) #4." 

Zola survives to fight another day

Captain America (Chris Evans) suffers a curious case of having the best solo narrative in the MCU, while also having the least interesting villains. None of the Captain's villains were considered compelling enough to return as a major threat in the style of Loki — even Red Skull's brief return was more of a cameo than anything. But that could have changed with the re-introduction of Arnim Zola in 2015's "Ant-Man."

Zola was a Swiss-born scientist who worked for HYDRA at the height of its power during World War II, and remained faithful to the cause until present times. Zola makes an appearance as a consciousness that has been downloaded onto a computer system in 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." The character was shown to have been destroyed along with the computer system that housed its consciousness. Or did he?

Concept art for "Ant-Man" showed a version of Zola that had managed to survive by transferring its consciousness into a robot body. The plan to include Zola in the movie was ultimately scrapped. If he had been shown to survive, it would have had a major impact on the Avengers, particularly Steve Rogers.    

Odin lets Frigga die

Parents don't get a lot of love in the MCU. Either they were long dead before a character becomes a superhero, or their presence actively makes things worse. Into the latter category falls Odin Borson (Anthony Hopkins), father of Thor, Loki, and Hela, and the root cause of many of the issues plaguing their family.  

It is revealed in 2017's "Thor: Ragnarok" that Odin used to be a bloodthirsty conqueror who used his own daughter Hela as a weapon against other civilizations. After Odin grew weary from centuries of war, he banished Hela to an otherwordly prison and erased all traces of his history as a callous tyrant. Odin continued as ruler of Asgard, and his parenting skills continued to be crappy, leading to the main cause of friction between Thor and Loki.

The only family member who seemed to escape Odin's terrible interpersonal skills was his wife Frigga (Rene Russo). But a deleted scene from 2013's "Thor: The Dark World" showed even that relationship in a terrible light. In the scene, the Dark Elves have captured Frigga and demand Odin give them the "Aether" in exchange for her life. Odin refuses, and watches Frigga get stabbed to death in front of him.

The Quantum Realm hides big secrets

Depending on which fan theory you believe, the "Quantum Realm" introduced in 2018's "Ant-Man and the Wasp" could either be a hiding place for Kang the Conqueror, or the genesis point for the MCU's take on mutants and the X-Men. For now, all we know for sure is that the quantum realm can be used to travel through time as shown in "Avengers: Endgame." 

But we could have gotten a lot more concrete information if a deleted scene from "Ant-Man and the Wasp" had made it to the final cut of the movie. In the scene, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) takes her long-lost husband Dr. Henry Jonathan "Hank" Pym (Michael Douglas) on a tour of the realm. "There's so much we didn't know about this place, Henry." Janet says. "Worlds upon worlds. Entire civilizations. Far more than we ever theorized."

If the scene had been retained in the movie, the civilizations being referred to might have played a bigger role in "Endgame" when the Avengers travel through the quantum realm to go into the past. For now, fans are speculating whether one such civilization within the quantum realm might have become a temporary home for a certain quartet of astronauts looking to make their MCU debut soon.   

Natasha Romanoff finds her roots

It took more than a decade for Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to get her own solo movie, and she was already dead in the main continuity before 2021's "Black Widow" even came out. The movie let fans in on Natasha's pastL She was part of a Russian spy program since childhood, and never knew who were birth parents were. The emotional arc of the film revolved around Natasha finding her new family amongst her fellow assassins and learning to be okay with never knowing who her birth parents had been. 

But this storyline is directly contradicted by a deleted scene in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War," which takes place directly before "Black Widow." In the scene, Natasha gets emotional as she tells Steve that she visited the graves of her birth parents in Russia and managed to get some measure of closure over their passing.    

P.E.G.A.S.U.S., E.X.O.D.U.S., And G.O.L.I.A.T.H.

Ever since the original "Iron Man," it became clear that Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark was going to be the main star of the MCU, even though Iron Man was (until that point) never more than a b-list hero in Marvel Comics. Keeping Tony's importance in mind, many storylines regarding other major characters also started to revolve around him.

Cast in point, a deleted scene in 2010's "Iron Man 2." While researching a new element his father had left him clues to, Tony tells his AI butler, "Give me everything from Projects P.E.G.A.S.U.S., E.X.O.D.U.S. and G.O.L.I.A.T.H." Each of the three projects Tony mentions have great significance for other Marvel superheroes. 

"Goliath" was a version of "Ant-Man" tech that allowed the user to grow to gigantic sizes. "Pegasus" had to do with a light-speed engine that involved Captain Marvel. Finally, "Exodus" was a program that conducted research on human mutants. 

There is no afterlife

2016's "Doctor Strange" added a brand new dimension to the MCU by confirming that actual magic exists in its universe. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) went on a journey of rediscovery when he became a member of the school for sorcerers run by The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).

At one point, Stephen experiences a literal out-of-body experience when his soul is forced to leave its body and reach the astral plane, where time and distance cease to matter. Yet, despite the confirmation of the existence of magic, higher planes of existence, and human spirits, a deleted scene from "Doctor Strange" almost revealed that there is no afterlife for mortals. 

In the scene, wayward sorcerer Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) meets a priest in a church. The two talk about scripture for a few moments, before Kaecilius states that he can prove beyond doubt that there is no afterlife, and kills the priest to make his point. If Kaecilius' statement had been taken as fact, it would have directly contradicted the existence of beings like the Ghost Rider, who is powered by Hell itself, and Black Panther, who can experience some form of the afterlife where he talks to his ancestors.  

Valkyrie comes out

For few years now, the MCU has been criticized for a lack of diversity amongst the main characters of its various franchises. 2021's "Eternals" was created partially as a response to that sentiment. Among a host of diverse new heroes, the movie showcased Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) as the MCU's first openly gay superhero.

But that landmark distinction almost went to Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie a few years earlier. The character was introduced in 2017's "Thor: Ragnarok" as a hard-drinking former shield-maiden of Asgard who had fallen on difficult times. In a deleted scene from the movie, a woman can be seen coming out of Valkyrie's bedroom as a hint towards her bisexuality.

The point is further driven home in a deleted scene in "Avengers: Endgame." Thor leans in to kiss Valkyrie, but she brushes him off with a laugh, hinting that she is possibly the only woman in the MCU who has not fallen for the God of Thunder's hunky charm. "Thor: Love and Thunder" director Taika Waititi hinted to Variety that Valkyrie's bisexuality will finally be addressed in the upcoming movie.