As you might imagine, it is incredibly difficult to fit everything that you want to get into a superhero movie into an actual superhero movie. This is especially true for movies about superhero teams, as you have to service so many characters that you are almost inherently going to end up cutting one or two characters short in the final release of the film.
However, often a bigger problem is simply a matter of time. If directors had their way, nearly every superhero film would be three hours long. Practicality, of course, demands that they be much shorter than that. As a result, they have to make some difficult decisions when it comes to editing the film. There are so many scenes filmed, but until the editing process, no one knows for sure what will make it into the final cut. This can be awkward when a scene shows up in the trailer, which is made before the final edit is done, and yet does not make it into the final film. Here, we will spotlight 15 significant scenes that were cut from famous superhero films, and you never knew!
In X-Men: First Class, James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender’s Erik Lensherr put together a team of super-powered mutants to stop the evil Sebastian Shaw from starting a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Of course, Erik ends up revealing that he believes in a lot of the same things as Shaw, but just in a different way.
Xavier uses telepathy to make Angel suddenly see Magneto dressing in drag.
When recruiting Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz) at the strip club where she works, Xavier demonstrated how his powers work in a deleted scene where he uses his telepathy to make himself and Angel suddenly see Eric dressing in drag. It was a funny scene, but also a very odd one, especially as Erik doesn’t even know what’s going on. So, it makes sense that they dropped this one.
14. GIANT-SIZED BAT, MAN
Batman Forever was the first Batman film for both Joel Schumacher as director and Val Kilmer as Batman. In it, Kilmer’s Bruce Wayne discovers his late father’s journal and began to doubt his personal crusade for justice. In fact, when he meets Dick Grayson, whose family was murdered in front of him by Two-Face, he sees himself in Dick. He then decides that rather than helping him get vengeance on Two-Face, he will instead retire as Batman and try to live a normal life.
In a bizarre deleted scene, Bruce is convinced to become Batman again when he reads his father’s journal some more and is visited by a spirit of a gigantic bat. At very least, that’s a very well-done giant bat. So hey, they got that right! In general, though, they were right to cut the scene as it was way too weird.
13. GETTING A RISE OUT OF SUPERMAN
If you felt that the only thing the original Christopher Reeve Superman films were missing was an innuendo-fueled scene involving Superman cooking a soufflé, then do we have the scene for you! In a deleted scene originally intended for Superman II, we see Superman and Lois Lane together (just their faces) at his Fortress of Solitude.
Superman tells her, “I’ve never done this before.” Lois tells him, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Just… don’t rush it.”
We then pull back and see that Lois is coaching Superman through an attempt at cooking a soufflé with his heat vision. Yes, someone came up with that idea, committed it to paper and then had two actors actually act it out in front of a camera. That was a thing that actually happened.
12. THE WADE WILSON CANCER TOUR
In Deadpool, Wade Wilson is a mercenary who finally finds love in his life with a stripper named Vanessa. So, of course, he discovers that he dying of cancer. He then undergoes a “world cancer tour.” When there are no more options left to cure him, he undergoes a dangerous experiment that cures the cancer but turns his body into, in effect, a walking, perpetually-healing tumor.
In the released film, we don’t see the “world cancer tour,” but in a deleted scene, we see a sick Wade travel to a dingy clinic in Mexico where a phony doctor promises miracle cures. When Wade discovers that the doctor is conning his patients, he murders him. It’s a really well done scene, but also way too dark for the film, so it is very logical that they left it out of the finished product.
11. THE HULKICIDE IS PAINLESS
In Incredible Hulk, Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner is doing his best to maintain a zen-like state of meditation to keep himself from “hulking out.” However, he takes that up only after discovering, in a deleted scene, that he could not simply end his own life. The scene in question showed Banner travel to the Arctic where he took a gun and put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He then, of course, turned into the Hulk instantaneously and spit the bullet out.
Banner has to come to terms with the fact that the Hulk won’t let him die.
It was a well-made scene, but also pretty darn bleak, so it makes sense that it was cut. Amusingly enough, that scene would have also tied the movie more into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as we would have briefly seen Captain America’s body in the arctic ice in the scene.
10. ROGUE’S FINAL DECISION REGARDING THE CURE
A film that was a perfect example of how difficult it is to give a large cast all something to do was X-Men: The Last Stand, which saw Cyclops appear as basically a glorified cameo and saw the Rogue/Iceman/Kitty Pryde love triangle go mostly unexplored. Rogue, in particular, went from being a central figure in the first film to almost a background character in the final film in the original cinematic X-Men trilogy.
One major development that was left on the cutting room floor was Rogue deciding to ultimately not take the mutant “cure” in the film. However, after that scene was deleted, it was replaced with a scene where Rogue does, in fact, give in to the temptation of the cure and takes it.
9. SUPERMAN RETURNS… TO KRYPTON?
Superman Returns ended up being over two and a half hours long, which is a pretty astonishing running time when you consider that Singer deleted an entire extended sequence from the film to get it down to “just” two and a half hours.
The film opens with Superman returning to Earth after a journey to see if he could find any other survivors of the destruction of Krypton.
In the finished film, we’re simply told, “Nope,” but in the original version, Superman finds out himself by journeying to the wreckage of Krypton (the planet is still mostly intact, but just nothing left on its surface) in his space ship (complete with a special silver space suit for Superman). He almost dies when he realizes that the wreckage of Krypton has become Kryptonite.
8. EVERYTHING’S ON SALE AT THE BATMAN STORE!
When the first Batman film came out in 1989, it started a new “Batmania” that evoked the similar reaction by the public back in 1966 when the Batman TV show first hit the airwaves. Batman was everywhere in 1989. There wasn’t a licensed product around that didn’t suddenly have a Batman logo on it. Cereal, candy, video games, clothing, hats: the Bat was inescapable!
Tim Burton, who was not the world’s most mainstream director at the time, was particularly shocked by the materialistic response to the film, so originally, in Batman Returns, he showed how the fictional Gotham City was going through a similar scenario, as they had “Batmania” of their own, with stores devoted just to Batman. The idea was clever, but probably a bit too clever (especially showing the real life arcade game with Bruce Wayne’s face on it).
7. A ROGUE FUTURE
Up until this point, we have only talked about deleted scenes, but in X-Men: Days of Future Past, there was a whole complete sub-plot cut from the original film! You see, X-Men: Days of Future Past featured mutants in the past and in the future, so they had even more trouble fitting everyone in. In the finished film, there’s a moment where Wolverine accidentally stabs Kitty Pryde in the future, making it difficult for her to concentrate on keeping Wolverine’s mind in the past.
Iceman has to track down Rogue and break her out of mutant prison.
In the deleted scenes, she is injured too badly, so Iceman has to track down Rogue and break her out of mutant prison so that she can come back and absorb Kitty’s powers and take over her duties. Since the scenes were their own little plot, they were easily excised and Kitty simply fought through the pain instead.
6. ONE LESS THING FOR PETER PARKER TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT
Peter Parker is the king of guilt, and Marc Webb’s pair of Amazing Spider-Man films lay things on particularly thick. Peter Parker is an orphan who discovers that his scientist parents, Richard and Mary Parker, might have been killed due to their genetic research that involved Peter himself. In the first film, his beloved Uncle Ben is murdered (which Peter blames himself for) and Captain Stacy, the father to Peter’s beloved girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, is murdered (which Peter blames himself for). In the second film, Gwen is also is murdered (which Peter blames himself for).
Originally, there was some glimmer of hope for Peter at the end of Amazing Spider-Man 2, as Richard Parker was going to turn up alive at the end of the film and meet Peter at Gwen’s grave. Sadly for Peter, though, it was deleted.
5. HULK IS TOO BIG FOR HIS PURPLE PANTS
This one is a bit tricky, as it stretches the definition of “deleted” a bit, but we think that it still qualifies. In the mythology of the Incredible Hulk, one of the things that has amused fans for decades is the question of, “How do the Hulk’s pants stay on when Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk?” The rest of his clothes always tear off, but his purple pants always seem to manage to hold on in the transformation.
Hulk actually fights naked and in the original fight against the “Devil dogs.”
In Ang Lee’s Hulk, he wanted to explore this idea by having the Hulk actually fight naked and in the original fight against the “Devil dogs” (the Gamma-irradiated dogs), he was going to have Hulk’s pants come off in the fight and have him fight the dogs naked. The scene was animated that way, but ultimately the studio decided against it, so they added pants, thereby “deleting” the original scene.
4. PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF PG-13
In modern cinema, what constitutes a PG-13 film versus an R-rated film can often be incredibly nebulous. We know that explicit nudity is always going to get you an R-rating. We know that rampant profanity is always going to get you an R-rating. However, the tricky part is violence.
Here is the truly twisted thing of it all: violence itself does not merit an R-rating, but bloody violence does. That is why the use of guns in films constantly goes up, especially in PG-13 films, since you can film gunfights in such a way as to not show a lot of blood. In the original cut of The Avengers, when Agent Coulson was stabbed to death by Loki’s scepter, there was too much blood, so the scene pushed the movie to an R. They deleted the excessive blood and the movie got a PG-13 rating.
3. DEALING THE JOKER BACK INTO THE DECK
Like the Rogue scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the deleted scenes in Suicide Squad essentially demoted the Joker from a prominent figure within the film to more or less an extended cameo in the movie. In the finished film, Joker gets a bit of a “dream” cut, as he is shown to be a devoted boyfriend who will move Heaven and Earth to rescue his beloved Harley Quinn.
The deleted scenes don’t necessarily improve the film.
In the deleted scenes, the Joker is shown to be abusive to Harley Quinn (even pushing her out of a helicopter) and there’s a dark flashback where we see Harley Quinn chase after the Joker, crying after him to love her and even turning a gun on him briefly. The deleted scenes don’t necessarily improve the film, but it’s interesting how much they would have changed the finished product.
2. A STRANGE DELETION
In the film Doctor Strange, we got a pretty good look at Stephen Strange’s life before he was severely injured in a car accident, but originally, they went even further into Strange’s background. Director Scott Derrickson recalled, “[I]f you know the comics well, Strange has a backstory where his sister died when he was young, and that she drowned. That had a real significant effect, and was probably instrumental in him becoming a doctor. And we shot that scene, and I loved that scene. It was a really great scene. It just didn’t fit in the movie.”
Lulu Wilson, the little girl from Ouija: Origin of Evil, was to play Donna Strange. As noted, we already got a pretty good look into Strange’s background, so the addition of a scene with his sister probably was a bit extraneous.
1. EVERY SUPERHERO MOVIE NEEDS A 1980S MALL SCENE
One of the interesting aspects of the current series of X-Men prequels is that we get to see the X-Men appear in different timelines. In X-Men: First Class, we saw the 1960s, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the 1970s and in X-Men: Apocalypse, the 1980s (of course, everyone has barely aged in those 20 years, but that’s a whole other story).
Nightcrawler is shocked that people don’t mind them.
Originally, we saw the ’80s in great detail in an extended sequence where Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Jubilee explore the local mall. Nightcrawler is shocked that people don’t mind them there (he is also shocked to learn what a brain freeze is). The scene was cut for time, with only the end bit, where they leave a showing of Return of the Jedi with Jean amusingly noting that the third film (which Apocalypse was for the X-Men series) is always the worst.
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