Marvel has made massive blockbuster movies look like a breeze. With each new year, a few new MCU movies are released to the public, and they all do fairly well critically and financially. It seems that Marvel had a plan from the very beginning and is just going through the steps to realize it at this point. After all, the MCU has become such a massive franchise that there are already plans and movies in development beyond the end of Phase Three. However, as is the case with all movies, the MCU films require a lot of decision-making and alterations that change the outcomes. Every movie requires a meeting and multiple discussions about how to tell a story that fits within the MCU while still providing plenty of thrills. Kevin Feige, movie directors, and even some actors had plans for their films that were ultimately changed at the last minute. Going back all the way to Iron Man, there were still changes made to it that were in service of the larger scale of the MCU.
As these movies are released, Marvel also talks about the development of its projects, hinting at original plans it had for each. While some of the plans were noticeably ridiculous, left out of movies for good reasons, there are others that left viewers scratching their heads. Some MCU films had things omitted that probably would've made for a better product. The MCU movies could've been a lot different if Marvel hadn't made these 10 last-minute changes that saved their films and 10 that hurt them.
20 SAVED: ODIN IN NORWAY
In the time between Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, Odin had been placed on Earth by Loki. By the time Thor and Loki go to search for him, he is alone in Norway, giving a lot of retrospect to the remaining moments of his life.
However, that wasn't Taika Waititi's original plan for the film. There were scenes shot with Anthony Hopkins looking like a hobo in a city. This was changed to have all the focus be placed on Odin's interaction with his sons, which would give little to distract the viewers from the king of Asgard's death.
19 HURT: NO MEGA ULTRON
Avengers: Age of Ultron was criticized for being too similar to the heroes' previous outing, The Avengers. In both films, the team fights an army of faceless drones controlled by a single villain while trying to prevent a doomsday device from destroying the world.
Years after the second movie came out, concept art was released that showed Ultron in a massive form composed of all the different bots he made in the film. This was ultimately cut, but it was probably for the worse. Seeing the Avengers go against a giant evil robot is something straight out of a comic book that would've differentiated the movie from its predecessor.
18 SAVED: MARK RUFFALO AS BANNER
The Incredible Hulk was Bruce Banner's first appearance in the MCU, but he was played by Edward Norton. Naturally, fans expected him to reprise his role in The Avengers, however, that wasn't the case, with a falling-out between Marvel and Norton moving them to recast the character.
They chose Mark Ruffalo for the role, who is arguably a better pick than Norton. Ruffalo brings an unease to the character, like a bomb that could explode at any second. He explores the duality of Bruce Banner as a character, bringing weight that Norton never had. He's been a great choice since then.
17 HURT: NO HAWKEYE IN THE WINTER SOLDIER
With Captain America: The Winter Soldier came the reveal that HYDRA had been growing like a parasite within S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades. Cap wasn't alone in dealing with the threat, though, as Black Widow joined the ride to help him.
However, the Russo Brothers originally were going to put Hawkeye in the movie as well, considering he was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent too. It's sad that he didn't make it in, though, as the film never properly explains his whereabouts. Even when he returns in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there is no telling what he did in the meantime or how he reacted to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s downfall.
16 SAVED: THANOS' LACK OF ARMOR
Every tease of Thanos leading up to Avengers: Infinity War showcased the Mad Titan decked out in his standard armor while sitting on his throne. Many fans expected him to don the armor when he finally came to Earth to fight the Avengers. While that was the case originally, the decision was made for him to leave his armor behind after the first few minutes of the film.
The reason this was a good choice was that it showed how he was going through his own journey. He suddenly became a character with real thoughts and emotions who was trying to save the world.
15 HURT: ANT-MAN IN PHASE TWO
From the early plans of the MCU, Marvel wanted Ant-Man to join the original roster of Avengers. They had plans for an Ant-Man movie that ultimately fell through. The project was delayed because Marvel went through several directors until they settled on Peyton Reed. Their insistence on a particular tone for the movie ended up hurting it in the long run.
Furthermore, while Paul Rudd does an excellent job, it is disheartening to see that Hank Pym was not the one in the Ant-Man suit. The MCU still pays proper respect to the character, but having him appear so late in the game makes him feel like a background character at best.
14 SAVED: WAITITI'S RAGNAROK
When Thor: Ragnarok was first announced, it came with a dark logo, foreboding the destruction of Asgard and everything we know about it and everyone that resides there. Sometime between the reveal and its release, though, Marvel debuted a new logo, hinting at a much different tone, which was a result of them bringing on Taika Waititi.
After having an initial vision for the movie, they decided that they had no clear direction. Instead, they allowed Waititi to forge a new path regarding Thor's latest adventure. This proved for the best, as Thor: Ragnarok made the character likeable, gave him new powers, and allowed new partners to steal the show.
13 HURT: IRON MAN 3'S VILLAIN
Iron Man 3 is often known as the film that got the Mandarin wrong. Whether you feel that's true or not, there aren't many arguments that Aldrich Killian was the right villain -- he was particularly one-note and forgettable after the credits rolled. However, he wasn't the original idea for the antagonist in the film.
There were plans to have a female villain who would essentially have the same position as Killian. It's unclear if that was the role held for Maya Hansen is anyone's guess, but the change was made simply because Marvel wanted to sell more toys. It's a shame considering any change to Killian might've resulted in a better antagonist.
12 SAVED: THE SNAP
The original plan for Avengers: Infinity War was that the movie was going to be the first half of a two-part film. In the second part, that was when Thanos was going to snap his fingers. That reality would be resolved in the same movie, though, with the Avengers quickly figuring out a way to come out on top.
However, Marvel decided to not brand them as two halves of a whole story, but as two separate entities. As such, that was when they decided to end Avengers: Infinity War with Thanos' dreaded finger snap. It effectively turned the movie into a tragedy, leaving viewers wanting more.
11 HURT: THE NEW WAR MACHINE
Rhodey has gone through two actors, the first being Terrence Howard in Iron Man. However, it wasn't long before there were some butting heads between Howard and Marvel, leading Marvel to recast the character for Iron Man 2. While Don Cheadle does a good job as Rhodey, having such a jarring change in actor isn't necessarily a good thing.
It left a lot of viewers scratching their heads, as Cheadle and Howard have no resemblance to each other. It also puts some bad blood between Howard and Marvel, leading to some bad rumors about the company. However, everyone has accepted Cheadle as War Machine by this point.
10 SAVED: ANT-MAN ON TEAM CAP
Marvel always wanted Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. While they were working tirelessly to put the character in the film, they had an alternate plan if a deal fell through with Sony. The original plan was to put Ant-Man on Iron Man's side. The problem with this take is that it comes after a movie where Scott Lang learns to never trust a Stark from Hank Pym.
In the final release of Civil War, Lang even tells Iron Man "you can never trust a Stark." Putting him on Iron Man's side would've seemed like a drastic shift in the character's perspective that wouldn't have been properly explained.
9 HURT: INHUMANS TURNED INTO A TV SHOW
The original plan for the Inhumans was to have them star in their own movie in between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. They would essentially serve as Marvel's answer to the X-Men due to them not getting the rights for those characters.
However, plans changed once Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp were brought onto Phase Three. As a result, The Inhumans was taken off of the film slate and thrown into a TV show. Unfortunately, the project seemed so rushed and out-of-touch with the rest of the MCU that it was critically panned with no hope for a continuation.
8 SAVED: ARNIM ZOLA THE COMPUTER
Arnim Zola first appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger, only to have a re-appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a massive computer that preserved his consciousness. However, earlier drafts of the film showed him sporting a more robotic appearance with a television screen showing his face, similar to his look in the comics.
Ultimately, it's better that he was chosen to become a computer, as the robot with a digital face is a bit ridiculous, even for a comic book movie. It would've seemed tonally inconsistent in a movie as concise and grounded as The Winter Soldier.
7 HURT: WASP ABSENT FROM CIVIL WAR
For Captain America: Civil War, there were plans to put Wasp in the film alongside Ant-Man, however, that was not the case and only Scott made an appearance. However, this serves to the detriment of the Wasp character. After an end-credits tease in Ant-Man, it seems like a missed opportunity not to have her in Civil War.
Furthermore, it doesn't make much sense that Scott would suddenly disappear without any sort of concern from Hank or Hope. It could've served as a chance to establish their dynamic leading up to Ant-Man and the Wasp, though Civil War had bigger priorities.
6 SAVED: DEFENDERS ABSENT FROM INFINITY WAR
There was a time when fans thought that the MCU's television characters would make an appearance in the movies. While no one showed up during Avengers: Age of Ultron or Captain America: Civil War, many were hoping that they'd show up in Avengers: Infinity War. As a matter of fact, there were plans that involved the Defenders making an appearance in the film.
That idea was ultimately scrapped, though, and it's a good thing. Avengers: Infinity War already already has a mess of characters smashed in and adding four more with individual television series would've been too great of a juggling act, even for the Russo Brothers.
5 HURT: LESS VILLAINS IN AGE OF ULTRON
Instead of going for just one big villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there were plans to include more along the way. Joss Whedon and Marvel had ideas to bring in Loki and Abomination from The Incredible Hulk. Antagonizing the Avengers alongside Ultron, it could've led to the MCU's version of the Masters of Evil.
These two were ultimately left out of the movie, though. The problem is that the heroes facing solely Ultron felt much too similar to their conflict in The Avengers. Had they gone up against a team of villains, it could've been much more interesting to watch.
4 SAVED: CAPTAIN MARVEL'S ABSENCE
Captain Marvel is a character who isn't set to appear until just before Avengers 4. While this is in service to Marvel's plans with her leading role in the MCU, that wasn't always the case. Her debut was originally set for Avengers: Age of Ultron. At the end of the movie, when Cap addresses his new team of Avengers, Whedon was going to throw Captain Marvel as a new character in the roster.
However, Marvel decided against this, which was ultimately for the better, as Captain Marvel's position in the Kree/Skrull War will give more context for her character, as well as making her arrival in Avengers 4 feel that much larger.
3 HURT: SPIDER-MAN AND NICK FURY
Spider-Man was always going to have a character bring him into the MCU, but the plan was not always to have Iron Man be the one to do it. Nick Fury was the first choice to serve as the mentor figure to Spider-Man, which would hearken to the Ultimate Universe as well as the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.
Seeing Tom Holland interact with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury likely would've been a nice dynamic to watch. While Tony Stark isn't a bad choice for Spidey's mentor, Nick Fury's absence seems a bit like a waste. He is set to appear in Spider-Man: Far From Home, though, which could give viewers that dynamic.
2 SAVED: HULK NOT IN INFINITY WAR
At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk takes over Banner seemingly forever. However, Thanos shows up and causes the Hulk to go into hiding. Early marketing for Avengers: Infinity War suggested that Hulk would return in the film near the climax at Wakanda, and there were even toys that suggested he would bust out of the Hulkbuster armor.
However, this didn't end up being the case, as Hulk still refused to come out by the film's end. This was a good decision, as Hulk returning will be a triumphant cinematic moment, one that will be better served in Avengers 4. Infinity War already gave its triumphant moment to Thor.
1 HURT: THE MANDARIN
The Mandarin is Iron Man's greatest rival and, as such, was planned as the antagonist for the first Iron Man. Favreau wanted to see Stark go against this magical villain but he ultimately decided not to put Mandarin in the movie, as he didn't feel that audiences were quite ready to see such a magical confrontation, instead opting to place Iron Monger.
While the general public might've thought it weird to see a character like the Mandarin, the conflict between him and Iron Man is something that has been horribly robbed from fans on-screen. The Mandarin might've served as an ongoing antagonist as well, someone Iron Man needed to work across multiple movies to defeat.