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'It's All Wrong': Apparently The Avengers Almost Included A Totally Different Villain And One More Classic Marvel Hero Before Kevin Feige Stepped In

 Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, and Scarlett Johansspn in The Avengers.
Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, and Scarlett Johansspn in The Avengers.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a behemoth force in the entertainment industry thanks to both movies and the live-action shows that are available with a Disney+ subscription. But Phase One was a huge risk, especially the very first Avengers movie, which was written and directed by Joss Whedon. And apparently The Avengers almost included a totally different villain and one more classic Marvel hero before Kevin Feige stepped in. Let's break it all down.

Fans who spent years watching the Marvel movies in order know what a cultural reset the original Avengers movie was. The crossover event was an ambitious step forward with serialized storytelling, and was a huge success. But in the book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, Whedon explained some of the variations to the story that came during the writing process. That includes a new villain and additional hero. In his words:

We went through a lot of insane iterations. At the very beginning, I wrote entire drafts that had no bearing on what I would eventually film. There was a moment where we thought we weren't going to have Scarlett [Johansson], and so I wrote a huge bunch of pages starring The Wasp. That was not useful. I also worried that one British character actor [Tom Hiddleston] was not enough to take on Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and that we'd feel like we were rooting for the overdog. So I wrote a huge draft with Ezekial Stane, Obadiah Stane's son, in it. Kevin looked at it and said, 'Yeah, no.' Louis D'Esposito actually at one point said, 'Yeah, Kevin, it's all wrong. But look how good it is. This is really good wrong!'

Is anyone else's head spinning? Clearly The Avengers went through a number of iterations before shooting finally began back in 2011. And that includes drafts were Loki was joined by the son of Obadiah Stane aka the villain the very first MCU movie Iron Man. Plus we might have been introduced to The Wasp years before Evangeline Lilly made her debut as Hope van Dyne in Ant-Man.

It's fascinating to get this peek behind the curtain on The Avengers, especially considering how Whedon's scrapped ideas would have affected upcoming Marvel movies that came after. In the end, the right decisions were probably made, and a new blockbuster franchise was born.

It's hard to imagine The Avengers without Black Widow, but it sounds like scheduling made that a very real possibility for a period of time-- despite Scarlett Johansson's debut in Iron Man 2. And if that happened, Whedon would have brought in The Wasp. Although I'm curious about who could have gotten that role if that plan moved forward.

Aside from Wasp, it's fascinating to hear that there were concerns about Tom Hiddleston's Loki being the only villain in The Avengers. He's had a legendary tenure as the God of Mischief, cumulating in Loki Season 2's finale. Still, I think that bringing Obadiah Stane's son into the narrative would have been interesting, especially since it offered a connection to the MCU's very first villain. Perhaps those plans can come together sometime in the future.

More insider information can be found in MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studio, which is available for purchase now. The next MCU movie hitting theaters is Deadpool 3 on July 26th. In the meantime, check out the 2024 movie release dates to plan your nextmovie experience.