With the rise of the infamous Stan Lee Marvel Universe movie cameos, the pressure has never been higher to deliver the goods when it comes to planning and executing these miniature roles. No genre does it better than in superhero movies (with the possible exception of Quentin Tarantino, but it’s perhaps debatable whether his stylized films qualify as a separate genre altogether).
With movies such as The Avengers double-dipping and taking blockbuster heroes from their own sagas – as well as launching others – the potential for featuring different players in exciting and creative ways is limitless. With just a flash of a shield, the audience can premeditate the introduction of a certain character – or through the revelation of a bored Bruce Banner, creating a satisfying book-ending effect to a long-winded tale.
Cameos, by their very nature, are short-lived. Most are only a few seconds, just enough to instil the described narrative effect on the audience. Unfortunately, do to timing, logistics, casting difficulties, or any garden variety filming road-block, some cameos were fated never to see the silver screen – or the inside of your Blu-Ray box (except perhaps on Disc 2).
Here are 15 Cameos That Were Cut From Superhero Movies.
15. X-Men – Spider-Man Steals The Scene
This first entry is less of a serious effort from the filmmakers, and more of a prank on the cast. It’s also a great treat for any fan dedicated enough to comb through the X-Men DVD extras, as it appears as a blooper in the movie’s first edition.
In the clip, we can see Spider-Man climb up and out a window to sneak up behind Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm as they down a hallway. The actors are clearly surprised as Spider-Man bashfully declares he’s in the wrong movie. He’s subsequently chased out of the scene by James Marsden, who plays Cyclops.
The man behind the mask in this cameo is Scott Leva, who was actually intended to play the role before Tobey Maguire, when Cannon Films first procured the rights in the 1980s. Leva was a stunt man working on X-Men, and it was director/writer Bryan Singer’s idea to execute the gag.
14. Blade – Stan Lee The Cop
In the first installment of this dark and action-packed vampire superhero franchise, Marvel fans almost had the pleasure of being privy to the inaugural cameo from comic/writer/publisher phenomenon Stan Lee. He was slated to cameo as a cop in one of the film’s opening scenes; as Blade (played Wesley Snipes) massacres vampires at the blood club, he’s interrupted by a slew of policeman. During this scene, a sequence was filmed with Stan Lee among the group of officers – in fact, it was intended to be Lee who discovered Quinn’s body burning.
Blade was released in 1998, which is two years before Stan Lee’s first cameo in his impressive list of 30 (thus far), unless you count the little-known made-for-TV movie version of The Incredible Hulk. But as far as Hollywood blockbusters go, Lee didn’t appear in a silver screen cameo until X-Men in 2000. It’s too bad the scene was cut from the film before it hit theatres.
13. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Storm As A Child
X-Men Origins: Wolverine came to theatres in 2009 as the fourth X-Men installment and first tale in the hugely popular Wolverine film franchise. Starring, as always, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, the film followed his torrid past, including a volatile relationship with his half-brother and detailing the melding of Wolverine’s skeleton to the Adamantium that allows him to kick so much butt (and also at the same time poisoning him and keeping him from his full potential).
In this installment, filmmakers actually shot a scene with a child-version of Storm appearing in a scene where Team X raids a village, but it never made it to theatres. However, it did appear in some trailers for the film, so a lot of hawk-eyed viewers found themselves disappoint when the snippet didn’t appear in the film. Audiences can always hold on hope for a bigger and better pay-off for the weather-altering princess – X-Men Origins: Storm, anyone?
12. Avengers: Age Of Ultron – Loki’s Left Out
Due to the breakout success of Loki’s character (played by Tom Hiddleston) in the first Avengers film, Loki was promised to receive a cameo in Age of Ultron, much to the glee of fans of the Norse supervillain.
Speculation swirled as to why filmmakers had decided to nix the popular character’s appearance, but it eventually fell to actor Tom Hiddleston to explain the decision. Apparently test-screen audiences were confused as to the role Loki was playing in the film – they wrongly assumed he had a much bigger role in the chaos ensuing.
Hiddleston said, “As they were testing the film, the initial audiences were like ‘oh Loki is controlling Ultron!’, and Kevin Feige and all the guys at Marvel were like ‘um, no, he’s not’. So they just thought it was confusing.” Unwilling to potentially confuse audiences into presuming the wrong outcome, the filmmakers left the cameo out.
11. The Avengers – Stan Lee The Wingman
Now, Stan Lee does feature in a cameo in the first Avengers film. However, it’s pretty short and feels somewhat like an afterthought – it short, it doesn’t strike the chord that Marvel has gotten so adept at hitting in its high-profile cameo appearances. His cameo as it stands in the film is as an interviewee in a news reel, where he dismisses the idea that superheroes exist in New York.
In truth, his cameo appearance was meant to be much more sizeable. Lee was originally intended to give a word of advice to Captain America after the man of the hour saved a restaurant server (played by Ashley Johnson) during the Chitauri invasion. Lee leans over and encourages Captain America to ask her out in this original cameo appearance. Lee’s exact words are sensible and to the point: “Ask for her number, you moron!”
10. Logan – A Motley Crew Of Mutants
This 2017 release and latest addition of the Wolverine franchise is set in a dystopian future and is lauded across the board as one of the best superhero films of all time. As well, the film has been a huge financial triumph – enjoying the success comfortably as it sits in its place as the fourth-highest grossing film this year so far.
There were rumours floating around before the film’s release that the character of Deadpool might make a cameo, but director and Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds shot this down, citing that the core of Logan required a darker feel. This made cameos difficult: filmmakers were unwilling to risk a kitschy tone that might undercut the narrative.
Initial cameo iterations went further that simply including Deadpool – at one point, director James Mangold admitted he toyed with the idea of including a subplot involving a whole underground society of mutants that Logan would encounter on his journey – but that, too, didn’t make the final cut.
9. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 – Nathan Fillion: Movie Star
The recently released Guardians of the Galaxy sequel has been enjoying immense success – receiving mostly positive reviews from critics, and currently earning its place as the third highest grossing film of 2017, out-earning Logan by almost $200 million.
When the film was still in production last year, there were photos released that showed Nathan Fillion on set, so fans were readying themselves for a cameo from the sci-fi star in the Guardians sequel. Yet when Vol. 2 was finally released, Fillion was nowhere to be seen. Director James Gunn explains that he planned for Fillion to show up on a poster, posing as industrialist-turned-superhuman–turned-actor Simon Williams (Wonder Man), who has yet to appear in the film universe.
Gunn had featured Fillion on a number of movie posters adorned around a theater hosting a Simon Williams film festival in the background of one of the scenes. In the end, that scene slowed down the pacing of the movie and had to be cut.
8. Watchmen – Zack Snyder As A U.S. Soldier
Watchmen was released in 2009 to polarizing public and critical opinion. The comic franchise is extensive and intricate – and thematically heavy as it tackles morality and deep-seated conspiracy – so it’s no wonder reception has varied drastically. Coming in ay 2 hours and 45 minutes, no one could protest the theatrical cut was too short – but for fans desperate to immerse themselves further in the complexities and nuance of the story, a 3 hour 35 minute “Ultimate Cut” was released in November 2009.
This version features a cameo from Watchmen director Zack Snyder. Only in this extended edition can you see Snyder is featured as a U.S. soldier during the Vietnam battle. It’s a fleeting, minute moment where the director can be seen, so it’s difficult to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for. He appears in the chopper alongside the Comedian. Snyder has alsomade a cameo appearance in Wonder Woman, which he produced and helped write.
7. Iron Man – Tribute To Ghostface Killah
Better known for his work with Wu-Tang Clan, the rapper Ghostface Killah has been a huge fan of the Iron Man comics, going so far as to name his debut album in 1996 “Ironnman.” The album reached number two on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum. Ghostface Killah has also adopted the name “Tony Starks” as a hip-hop pseudonym.
In Marvel’s breakout movie rendering of Iron Man in 2008, this devoted celebrity fan scored himself a cameo with Robert Downey Jr. Apparently Downey Jr. recognized him immediately and the two joked, each calling the other “Tony.” The cameo takes place during Tony Stark’s trip to Dubai, but was nixed from the theatrical release because it was negatively influencing the pacing of the film.
6. The Incredible Hulk – Frozen Captain America
In 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton, director Louis Letterier promised a cameo from one of the Marvel superheroes. Letterier claims to be a big fan of cameo appearances and Easter eggs, saying he even like to go and “watch them several times… and every time I see it, discover little things in the background.” So when he came forward before the premier and said that during a scene in The Incredible Hulk, fans would be able to catch a glimpse of Captain America, he was taken at his word.
After the film came out, many fans were disappointed to report there had been absolutely no sign of the Captain. Letterier backtracked and explained that the scene had actually been cut. The appearance took place during a particularly dark seen where Bruce Banner travels to the arctic and considers suicide. Considered too heavy for the film’s audience, it was scrapped. However, it has been released as a deleted scene – if you look closely, you can make can out Captain America’s figure frozen in the snow!
5. Fantastic Four – H.E.R.B.I.E. The Robot
He is the robot brain child of Stan Lee to replace the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four comic books. H.E.R.B.I.E. is created by Mr. Fantastic before they underwent their transformation into their superhero forms. He is incredibly loyal and hard-working – able to do a variety of tasks to help out the team, including the ability to connect to any computer system. The beloved robot has been hotly anticipated in all Fantastic Four films but never shown his face.
Finally, in the 2015 rendition, director Josh Tank decided to insert H.E.R.B.I.E. in the background of a scene with Sue Storm and Mr. Fantastic (played by Kate Mara and Miles Teller, respectively). He is deactivated and sitting on a shelf in storage – a satisfying cameo for eagle-eyed fans, if it had made it to the final cut. However, the scene is included in the extended edition.
4. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 1 – Stan Lee The Collector’s Item
In the first edition of Guardians of the Galaxy, a major plot-point is the Guardian’s visit to the Collector’s Museum to deposit the precious Orb to the museum’s owner, Taneleer Tivan. As the Guardians are at the museum, it is revealed the Orb is actually an Infinity Stone, which prompted Carina – desperate to break out of her enslavement – to grab it. It destroyed her and caused a enormous explosion, which the Guardians managed to escape from without injury. B
efore Carina’s interferences and the chaos of the explosion occurs, the filmmakers originally slotted in a cameo appearance from Stan Lee to take place at the museum. Lee was meant to be piece in the museum, captured behind glass. When the Guardians pass by, the encased Stan Lee collectible ends up flipping Groot the bird. This epic moment didn’t make the final cut, but it is available as a deleted scene.
3. Daredevil – Coolio As Dante Jackson
The 2003 movie version of Daredevil is a mixed bag: public opinion is varied, critical reception was poor, but it did very well financially, grossing about $100 million over its budget. It was second biggest February release ever at that time, coming in behind 2001’s Hannibal.
A year after the theatrical release in 2004, director Mark Steven Johnson released his director’s cut of the film, loaded with an R rating and 30 extra minutes of story. In this extra half hour, an entire subplot was revealed starring rapper Coolio (the creative force behind “Gangsta’s Paradise”). Coolio was cast as Dante Jackson, a drug addict featured in the comics. Dante is on trial for murder, but protests his innocence, which Matt Murdock (Daredevil) knows to be true. Many critics praise this version, claiming it’s grittier, more violent, and less romance-focused. Too bad it never made it to the silver screen!
2. Spider-Man – Where Is Wolverine’s Suit?
Though teased in the prank mentioned above, with Scott Leva sneaking into the shot of X-Men as Spidey, fans have long been wanting to see a real cameo appearance linking the X-Men and Spider-Man universes. To the surprise and chagrin of many, it almost happened.
The Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, planned on making a cameo appearance in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man back in 2002. Jackman was in New York during shooting, and planned to make an appearance walking across a shot or popping in an the background. It was good to go – all parties were on board. Except for one strange, unforeseen circumstance: no one could locate Wolverine’s suit. Jackman says: “the suit was stuck in something. And so when they were in New York when I was there, we couldn’t get it together.” It’s too bad – it would have set the stage for the rest of the Marvel cameos to come.
1. Blade II – Michael Jackson: Vampire Pimp
This second installment of the Blade trilogy takes place two years after the first movie, where Blade must now help cull the mutated super-vampire (immune to all previous weaknesses) known as Reapers. The deleted scene in question takes place at the “bad guy” sadomasochistic vampire bar known as The House of Pain. There, fans were supposed to get a taste of the carnal vampiric practices undertaken in the nefarious watering hole.
In the background, filmmakers were set to showcase an encounter with Nyssa interrupting pop legend Michael Jackson as a vampire pimp doing – well, who knows what. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, Michael Jackson had to back out of the project. Filmmakers went forward with the scene and shot it with a Czech actor, only to later nix the sequence entirely. It would have been a great moment for fans of Jackson and Blade alike – but alas, it was not meant to be.
Which of these cameos shouldn’t have been cut? Which were better off being cut? Let us know in the comments!
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