Today, audiences are never more than a few months away from a new superhero movie. While comic book movies were scoffed at by serious filmmakers for years, the superhero genre has become an all-encompassing pop cultural force over the past decade and a half. As new superhero movies have tried to top their cinematic predecessors, the size of these movies' casts has grown to epic proportions. With Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War reportedly set to feature roughly 60 characters. Despite that film's massive roster, most of the other Marvel films aren't quite that ambitious. For a variety of reasons, most of Marvel's movies have had to stop some fan-favorite characters from making appearances.
Now, CBR is taking a look at 15 characters who were cut from Marvel movies. For this hardly comprehensive list, we'll be looking at examples of characters that almost appeared in Marvel-based productions from Marvel Studios, Fox and Sony Pictures. While some of these characters never made it past the initial stages of scripting, others were featured extensively in scenes that were left on the cutting room floor. We'll also be looking at what kinds of roles these characters would've played, who might've played them and examining why these characters were cut.
15 ROGUE IN X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Director Bryan Singer's 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past was partially sold on the idea that it would unite two generations of X-Men in one time-twisted tale. While franchise mainstays like Patrick Stewart's Professor X, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Ian McKellen's Magneto all had meaningful roles to play, a subplot revolving around Anna Paquin's Rogue was cut from the movie's theatrical release.
Although she still made a brief cameo at the end of the theatrical cut, Rogue's main storyline would've taken place in a Sentinel-controlled alternate future. Shawn Ashmore's Iceman died rescuing her from being imprisoned in the ruins of the X-Mansion, and she would've returned to the team after that. Rogue's subplot was cut from the theatrical release to streamline its complex narrative, but it was fully restored in X-Men: Days of Future Past: The Rogue Cut, which was released on home media in 2015.
14 MARY JANE IN THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
While the films were far from perfect, the charming relationship between Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy was the strongest aspect of Marc Webb's Spider-Man movies. In 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Shailene Woodley's Mary Jane Watson almost added a new element to that dynamic.
Mary Jane wouldn't have had the biggest role in the already overcrowded feature, but Woodley completed filming on several scenes in the film. Allegedly, her Mary Jane would've briefly seen Spider-Man in action and had brief introductions to Peter and Gwen. Although Webb praised Woodley's work, Mary Jane was completely taken out of the final film. He claimed that this move helped streamline the film's narrative and kept the focus on Peter and Gwen's relationship. Unlike many of the other entries on this list, no footage of Woodley as Mary Jane has ever officially been released to the public.
13 HAWKEYE IN CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLIDER
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye hasn't had the most luck. With the exception of a lengthy scene on his family's farm in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, most of his noteworthy moments have come in the middle of crowded fight scenes. While Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: The Winter Soldier wouldn't have given him a major showcase, the 2014 film almost gave Hawkeye and the Captain a bonding moment.
In the deleted scene, Hawkeye would've been one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tasked with capturing Captain America. After a quick fight, Hawkeye would've given his fellow Avenger some key information before going down with a punch. According to the Russos, Renner wasn't available for filming, and they gave most of his narrative beats to the film's other characters.
12 BEAST IN X-MEN
As one of the founding members of the X-Men and one of the team's members on the iconic X-Men: The Animated Series, Beast seemed like a natural candidate to appear in X-Men. While the character appeared in early scripts for Bryan Singer's 2000 film, he was taken out of it, along with a few other characters, due to budgetary restrictions.
While it's unknown what the full extent of Beast's role in the film would've been, Industrial Light and Magic worked up some concept art for how the blue-furred, acrobatic genius could work in live-action. Allegedly, some aspects of Beast's character, including his role as the X-Men's chief scientist, were folded into Famke Janssen's Jean Grey. Although he didn't make his full debut until X-Men: The Last Stand, a human Dr. Hank McCoy, played by Steve Bacic, made a small cameo as a mutant rights activist in X2: X-Men United.
11 SENTINELS IN X2: X-MEN UNITED
After the success of his first X-Men film, Bryan Singer had more ambitious plans for his 2003 feature, X2: X-Men United. Some earlier drafts of the film featured the giant mutant-hunting robot Sentinels. While they took on a much smaller role in later drafts of the film, producer Simon Kinberg said that Sentinels could have been used in a deleted training sequence in the X-Men's Danger Room.
Even though Singer admitted that giant robots were a tough sell in the relatively grounded X-Men franchise, Guy Hendrix Dyas and Ricardo Delgado still created concept art for the mechanical mutant-hunters. Unlike the more futuristic Sentinels featured in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, these Sentinels had a more industrial look, and some designs could transform into a giant wheel. Eventually, both the Sentinels and the Danger Room were cut out of the film due to budgetary concerns.
10 CAPTAIN MARVEL IN AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
While Brie Larson is set to bring one of Marvel's most prominent Avengers to life in 2019's Captain Marvel, the Marvel hero almost made her cinematic debut much earlier. Carol Danvers was supposed to make an appearance in Joss Whedon's 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron. Along with Spider-Man, she would've appeared with a newly expanded team of Avengers in the film's final moments.
Even though Whedon shot some footage setting up Captain Marvel's special effects, the hero had no presence in the final film. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said that it wasn't the time to introduce the character, who hadn't even been cast or fully conceptualized when the movie was being filmed. He also said that he didn't want to introduce such a major Marvel character without any context. That special effects footage was ultimately used in the dramatic moment where Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch joined the Avengers.
9 LOKI IN AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Captain Marvel wasn't the only character cut out of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Tom Hiddelston's fan-favorite villain Loki also had a small role that was taken out of the Joss Whedon film. During a scene where the Scarlet Witch gave all of the Avengers visions, Thor had a dark vision of Asgard. That vision mainly served as a tease for 2017s' Thor: Ragnarok, and originally featured Loki impersonating Odin and whispering to his adopted brother.
While that scene remained, Loki was removed from it for a few reasons. Whedon said that it helped cut the film's lengthy running time down some and helped the overall flow of the film. Kevin Feige went even farther, and said that the character's presence confused audiences at test screenings. Even though the robotic Ultron was the film's main villain, some assumed that Loki was pulling his strings from behind the scenes.
8 ANGEL IN X2: X-MEN UNITED
While Alan Cumming's Nightcrawler stole the show in 2003's X2: X-Men United, Bryan Singer's second X-Men movie almost introduced another famous blue-skinned mutant, Angel. Both Warren Worthington III and his fellow founding blue X-Man, Beast, were included in some of the film's early drafts. Both were eventually cut out due to budget issues and concerns about putting too many characters in the film.
In the movie, Angel would've been transformed into the brutal Archangel by Brian Cox's William Stryker. While his comics counterpart was experimented on by Apocalypse, this cinematic Angel would've been a graduate of the Weapon X Program. In all likelihood, his wings would've been coated in the same adamantium that covered Wolverine's claws and the fingernails of Kelly Hu's Lady Deathstrike. When Ben Hardy's Angel became Archangel in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, this angle was dropped and his transformation hued more closely to its comic book roots.
7 WHITE QUEEN IN X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
After the success of the first two X-Men movies, director Bryan Singer famously left the franchise to make Superman Returns instead of X-Men: The Last Stand. Before director Brett Ratner took that film in another direction, Singer and writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty had started to plot out a story. Like Ratner's X-Men film, their proposal was a loose adaption of "The Dark Phoenix Saga."
One of the main characters in that proposal was Emma Frost, the White Queen. In a departure from her usual role as a mutant telepath, the cinematic Frost would've been an empath who was able to control emotions. As one of the film's main villains, she would've tried to take control of a resurrected Jean Grey. Although the part was designed with Sigourney Weaver in mind, the White Queen was written out of the movie when Singer and his writers left for Superman.
6 ADAM WARLOCK IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
Given his traditional relationship to Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock was bound to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sooner or later. In comics, the somewhat obscure cosmic hero starred in several series, helped form the modern Guardians of the Galaxy and became a quasi-religious figure in the Marvel cosmos. While the character's cocoon was seen in the closing moments of 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, he was supposed to have a much larger role in the film.
Director James Gunn has stated that Adam Warlock was originally going to be a major character in the sequel. Ultimately, he cut Warlock out of the film to give Pom Klementieff's Mantis and the rest of the film's roster of characters more room. While the character won't appear in Avengers: Infinity War, Gunn has said that Adam Warlock will play a meaningful role in the MCU's future.
5 JUBILEE IN X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
For longtime X-Men fans, one of the most noteworthy parts of 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past was the young team of X-Men briefly seen in the film's post-apocalyptic future. This gave some fan-favorite characters like Fan Bingbing's Blink and Omar Sy's Bishop a chance to have a few brief moments on the big screen. Several other famous mutants almost made it onto this team, and one of those characters was the firework-producing Jubilee.
As seen in designs from one of the film's concept artists, Phillip Boutte Jr., Jubilee would've likely traded her trademark yellow coat for more practical tactical gear. Although no actors were every publicly linked with the role, the concept art bears a striking resemblance to Jamie Chung. While she didn't have a role in the film, Chung will be playing the teleporting mutant Blink Fox's upcoming live-action X-Men series, The Gifted.
4 JUGGERNAUT IN X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
In one of the most memorable sequences from X-Men: Days of Future Past, Evan Peters' Quicksilver ran at super-speed through the Pentagon to break Magneto out of jail. While this scene made Quicksilver an integral part of the cinematic X-Men, it almost starred a character who was cut out of the film entirely, the unstoppable Juggernaut.
Vinnie Jones, who played the Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand would've played an older version of the character, while Josh Helman was set to play a younger version of the character in the film's 1970s sequences. After jumping from a helicopter, Helman's Juggernaut was supposed to crash through the floors of the Pentagon to get to Magneto's subterranean cell. When his role was cut, Helman was recast as a young William Stryker. As seen in concept art from Philip Boutte Jr., Jones' Juggernaut would've ditched his trademark helmet for a hooded combat suit.
3 DAZZLER IN X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
While Dazzler was never set to play a major role in Bryan Signer's 2016 film, X-Men: Apocalypse, the singing X-Man's breakout album almost made a highly-publicized cameo. With the mutant ability to turn sound into exotic forms of light, Alison Blaire has the ideal powers for her day job as a pop music star. Before she joined various X-teams, Dazzler starred in her own long-running 1980s comic, where the album Sounds of Light and Fury made her a breakout star.
In one of the movie's deleted scenes, several teenage X-Men would've come across Dazzler's album while hanging out in a mall. After Taylor Swift was spotted visiting the set, the Internet was filled with rampant, unfounded, speculation that the pop diva could be playing Blaire. While that was never in the cards, Singer later explained that he cut the light-hearted mall scene to help the dark film's tonal consistency.
2 HULK IN CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
In 2016, Captain America: Civil War brought just about all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe together for a massive superhero showdown. Despite its massive cast, directors Joe and Anthony Russo left a few notable Avengers out of the proceedings. While Chris Hemsworth's Thor was busy doing Asgardian stuff, Mark Ruffalo's Hulk was included in several of the film's early drafts.
Christopher Markus, one of the film's writers, said that the Hulk would've made the fight between the heroes too one-sided. Although a cameo near the end of the film was discussed, Ruffalo and Markus said that it was removed to keep the Hulk's whereabouts a mystery after his dramatic exit in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. While this decision may have been disappointing at the time, it paved the way for Thor: Ragnarok, where Ruffalo's Hulk and Hemsworth's Thor will battle and team-up in late 2017.
1 THE WASP IN AVENGERS AND CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Even though she's one of the founding members of the Avengers, the original Wasp, Janet van Dyne, hasn’t made more than a glorified cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Director Joss Whedon wanted to work her into the film, and she even appeared in several storyboards for the film's famous group shots. Since the film had so much going on, Whedon felt that he couldn't introduce another new character in the proceedings, and her spot on the team was given to Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.
After Evangeline Lilly's Hope van Dyne was given the Wasp's costume at the end of Peyton Reed's 2015 film Ant-Man, there was some discussion about giving her a role in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said that they cut the character to give her heroic debut a bigger platform in Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is set for a 2018 release.
Stay tuned to CBR for all the latest in comics and pop culture news. Let us know which one of these characters you would've liked to have seen on screen in the comments!