The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a tremendous pillar of the movie industry. The MCU's movies have been steadily coming out for over a decade and they’ve made all sorts of other superhero and comic projects possible as a result.
The popularity of superhero movies is nothing new, but what’s so special about the MCU is their nearly perfect track record.
What these movies have done has become the new normal and a lot of the time it feels like Marvel’s reputation is as unblemished as Captain America’s shield. As a result, fans are hungry for more sequels and spin-offs, but it can be difficult to maintain quality control with so much out there.
The truth of the matter is that the reason why so many Marvel projects are successful and of a higher quality is because there are just as many pitches that get shot down and extinguished before they get too far off the ground.
Some of the major cancelations and changes in Marvel’s schedule have been public, but there are also many titles that most people have no idea came so close to reality.
There’s a lot of attention focused on the Marvel movies that don’t come together, but the projects that are in the pipeline for television and even video games see just as interesting development cycles.
Whether it’s a She-Hulk TV series or a Punisher video game, these ideas will unfortunately remain fascinating hypotheticals.
Accordingly, here are the 30 Canceled Marvel Projects We Never Got To See.
30 Guillermo Del Toro's Incredible Hulk (TV Series)
The MCU has always had difficulties with figuring out just exactly what they should do with the Hulk.
While he’s now a fundamental member of the Avengers, there was a time when Jeph Loeb and others were considering transitioning the Hulk over to television, but not without the right team behind it.
In 2012, Loeb offered Guillermo del Toro the chance to write and direct a dramatic Incredible Hulk series.
Del Toro expressed interest, but the project stalled in development and eventually Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. replaced it on the TV front.
This might have meant that Hulk wouldn't be as central in the MCU, so maybe this was for the best.
29 The Sinister Six (Movie)
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and The Sinister Six were announced at the same time, but the latter was the project that everyone got excited about.
The idea of doing an “Avengers of villains” movie is a great idea, and the idea came before Suicide Squad.
Chris Cooper’s Norman Osborn would have led the pack of villains and the movie would have taken a very unique slant on the heist genre. The best part is that the deeply creative Drew Goddard would be the one writing and directing the movie.
Once the MCU absorbed the Spider-Man character, this movie no longer made sense as the universe’s canon had been rewritten.
It would have made for a truly interesting experiment, however.
28 Donald Glover’s Animated Deadpool (TV Series)
Now this one is the sort of loss that’s so sizable that it’d be worthy of Deadpool himself breaking the fourth wall to complain about it.
After being impressed with his groundbreaking work on Atlanta, FX gave Donald Glover control of an animated Deadpool series.
Glover and his team had written several scripts and animation had been put together, but FX abruptly pulled the plug.
There’s still been no real reason given, but it was hot off the heels of the Disney and FOX deal.
The only salve for this wound is that Deadpool’s abrupt cancelation is still so recent that it might still live to see another day.
27 Generation X (TV Series)
Generation X is a huge distillation of the ‘90s at their worst and it’s quite the fascinating failure. What’s even more ridiculous is that something as tone deaf as this actually grew out of the exceptional X-Men: The Animated Series.
The X-Men cartoon was ending in the mid-‘90s, so the plan was to follow it up with a live-action spin-off of sorts called Generation X.
Directed by Jack Sholder of Nightmare on Elm Street 2 fame, Generation X focuses on Jubilee and her mutant friends while they trained and acted super angst-y.
The unsuccessful pilot aired as a maligned TV movie, which revealed that the show broke X-Men canon in some extreme ways.
26 Daredevil (TV Series)
Believe it or not, but people have been trying to make a Daredevil series happen since the ‘80s. While the Netflix show takes quite a serialized approach to its stories, Matt Murdock’s role as a lawyer makes the character perfect for more procedural stories too.
Matt Murdock appeared in an ‘80s TV movie, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.
The movie centered on the Hulk, but it was also meant to function as a backdoor pilot for a Daredevil series.
Rex Smith would reprise his role of Murdock/Daredevil and Stirling Siliphant would write the series.
In spite of a strong foundation, budgetary restrictions and waning interest by the network stopped the series from ever coming together.
25 Power Pack (Movie)
Marvel entered a surprising arrangement with Artisan Entertainment in 2000 that would allow the company to turn 15 of their properties into live-action movies.
One of the more niche titles in this deal, Power Pack, would be put into consideration.
Even though Power Pack isn't the most popular of properties, it supports a strong team dynamic and younger skewing characters who connect well with audiences.
In spite of its obscurity, Power Pack has been attempted to be brought to life several times, including as a TV show.
Most recently, there was an attempt to integrate it into the MCU.
It stands to reason that at some point the series will break through and get its opportunity!
24 Doctor Strange (TV Series)
It might seem like the general public has only recently become interested in the character of Doctor Strange, but there was actually nearly a full series devoted to the Sorcerer Supreme back in the late ‘70s.
In 1978, there was a Doctor Strange TV movie that aired on CBS with Peter Hooten as Stephen Strange.
The series took a lot of liberties with the character. For example, Strange was now a psychiatrist.
While the movie was in development, a spin-off series was also being worked on. The show was meant to dig deeper into Strange's mystic roots and also feature Morgan Le Fay, but when the TV movie proved to be unpopular, the series was understandably abandoned.
23 X-Men Origins: Magneto (Movie)
After the one-time “conclusion” of the X-Men movie series with The Last Stand, the plan was to branch off into solo origin films that would dig into some of the most popular character.
This idea would only come together for Wolverine, but the plan for the following installment was a Magneto origin story scripted by David Goyer.
X-Men Origins: Magneto would have told a dark story about a young Magneto hunting down Nazis before his initial meeting with Charles Xavier.
The ridicule of Origins: Wolverine not only ended this project, but also the entire Origins line.
However, most of these ideas later ended up in the very strong First Class.
22 Iron Fist (Movie)
After the first X-Men movie struck gold in 2000, superhero adaptations were suddenly in hot demand and everyone was curious about which comics property would be the next big hit.
The superhero craze would ultimately still take some time to come into its own, but X-Men’s success led to some unusual ideas going into development, like an Iron Fist film.
Iron Fist has now found life as a Netflix series, but in 2000, John Turman was hired to write the movie, with Kirk Wong directing and Ray Park set to star.
Iron Fist got into pre-production, but the movie failed when Wong left the project. He was replaced by Steve Carr. However, the movie never recovered.
21 Black Widow (TV Series)
Ever since her debut in Iron Man 2, people have been clamoring for Black Widow to get a solo movie where she can really let loose.
It’s interesting to note that people have been playing with the character on television for a few decades now.
A Black Widow television show actually makes a lot of sense, and in 1975, an attempt was made to create a Black Widow TV movie and series starring Angela Bowie (yes, David Bowie's ex-wife).
The series had some respectable ideas. For example, Daredevil would have been Natasha’s love interest and occasional partner.
The concept was pitched to several networks but they all said that it was too expensive of an idea.
20 Blade 4 (Movie)
The superhero adaptation landscape has grown so much and become so advanced that it's easy to forget that Blade was the first real hit Marvel movie.
The first two Blade movies were huge successes. They pushed the genre to exciting places, but Blade Trinity took an admittedly different direction.
In it, Wesley Snipes’ Blade gets saddled with new characters played by Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel who very much eclipse his character.
There were plans to take Blade further and push him deeper into a vampire apocalypse, but it never came to be.
After Snipes got into disagreements with David Goyer over the series’ direction, the fourth movie was scrapped and some of its ideas went into Blade: The Series.
19 23. Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (Video Game)
A video game that’s based on Daredevil is such a good idea that it’s a shame that it hasn't happened.
Back in 2002, Encore Entertainment and 5000ft Inc. put together a Daredevil game for the PS2. However, when the Daredevil movie was announced in 2003, the game's scope kept expanding and the small title turned into a huge open-world epic.
The game would feature both Daredevil and Elektra as playable characters, but Sony kept requesting odd changes, like Daredevil grinding on power lines similar to Tony Hawk.
The game was practically finished, but Marvel and Sony couldn't agree on the many requested changes and so it was ultimately canceled.
18 Fantastic Four 3 (Movie)
Tim Story's Fantastic Four movies are largely seen as flawed, if not admirable movies. They nail the casting and get a lot of things right, but they still have plenty of haters.
A third movie in the series didn't happen due to the sequel's spotty reception, but it sounds like it could have been the best one.
Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue, might have been introduced in the movie.
However, the most notable detail is that Story had planned to include Black Panther in the movie (with Djimon Hounsou playing him). Had this happened, it's fair to say that the MCU wouldn't have had the rights to use Black Panther in their movies, so maybe it was for the best.
17 She-Hulk (Movie)
While the Hulk has seen a complicated relationship with adaptations, one of the benefits of She-Hulk is that her alter ego’s background is in law, not science.
Accordingly, in 1989, the character was set to appear in a sequel TV movie to The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, but was eventually written out.
She-Hulk was then going to be given her own TV series, but that idea fell apart, too.
Finally, the next year, B-movie icon Larry Cohen (Maniac Cop) got the closest to success and wrote a script with Brigitte Nielsen intended to star.
Unfortunately, it collapsed before it got too far along, but Nielsen still did a publicity shoot as the character.
16 Marvel: Chaos (Video Game)
In 2007, EA Chicago began work on a sprawling, massive XBOX 360 title that was meant to be Marvel: Chaos.
The game looked great and it featured an impressive roster of characters that extended far beyond the current MCU.
Players would have been able to play not only as familiar characters like Captain America, but also as other unique characters like Doctor Doom and even the Phoenix.
Marvel: Chaos had a lot of heart and looked good on the outside, but the title was abandoned after severe quality issues never persisted.
Eventually, EA Chicago shut down entirely.
15 Spider-Man 4 And 5 (Movie)
The story of Spider-Man 4 and 5 is one of the biggest examples of hubris and disaster as far as superhero movies go.
Raimi hit it out of the park with the first two Spider-Man films, but his third effort featured heavy studio interference and he was forced to incorporate Venom into an already full movie.
All of this eventually ended any interest in continuing the series, but there were plans to shoot a Spider-Man 4 and 5 back-to-back.
In fact, scripts were already written.
Spider-Man 4 would have featured John Malkovich as the Vulture and introduced Anne Hathaway as Felicia Hardy, but she’d become the Vultress rather than Black Cat.
14 Marvel’s Most Wanted (TV Series)
The MCU’s main television counterpart, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has always shared a weird relationship with the movies, but it’s still been an extended part of the same story.
While the series has struggled with ratings over the years, it’s found a strong fandom.
In fact, its fandom is so immense that a spin-off was even pitched to ABC not once, but twice, before Marvel ultimately gave up on the idea.
Marvel’s Most Wanted would have focused on Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, who both became fast favorites on S.H.I.E.L.D.
Most Wanted produced a pilot and got far along, but unfortunately a series based around the exploits of Mockingbird isn’t yet in the cards.
13 Daredevil 2 (Movie)
Mark Steven Johnson’s Affleck-starring Daredevil feature film gets mocked a lot, but it did well enough to garner Elektra her very own spin-off movie.
This naturally meant that Johnson also had plans for a sequel in mind that would hopefully reunite Daredevil and Elektra. It would also play with the fact that Kingpin now knew Daredevil’s identity.
All of the cast was ready to return and Johnson was considering the “Born Again” storyline for his main inspiration, with an appearance from Mr. Fear also being in the cards.
When Elektra underperformed, Daredevil 2 was scrapped. However, that didn’t stop other visionary directors like David Slade from attempting to reboot the dark hero.
12 X-Men: Mind Games (Video Game)
The Sega Genesis had two highly successful X-Men games that came out in the ‘90s, so Sega’s plan was to follow up these titles on the Sega 32X.
X-Men: Mind Games would allow players to control Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, or Bishop as they fought against Arcade and worked their way through his trap mazes.
Mind Games was featured at 1995's E3, but it never saw release and the failure of the 32X was largely seen as the reason.
That being said, other canceled titles by Scavenger Inc. eventually made it over to the Sega Saturn, yet Mind Games unfortunately did not.
11 The Incredible Hulk 2 (Movie)
The Hulk is certainly the odd man out when it comes to the MCU’s Avengers.
The year 2008’s The Incredible Hulk is still canon, but the movie's Banner, Ed Norton, was replaced with Mark Ruffalo and the movie has still never received a proper sequel (which might have something to do with Universal’s co-ownership of the character).
Unfortunately, The Incredible Hulk leaves a lot of loose ends and it’s disappointing that they’ll never be resolved.
The transformation from Samuel Sterns into The Leader at the end of the movie would have given the Hulk a formidable villain for a sequel, but alas, it never came to be.
At least Thor: Ragnarok was a lot of fun.
10 Damage Control (TV Series)
Due to the recent popularity of superhero adaptations, networks started to mine both DC and Marvel for interesting niche properties to try something new with.
Comedy seemed like the big answer here, and so in 2015, Ben Karlin set out to make a series about Marvel’s lesser-known property, Damage Control.
This show would have focused on the people at the bottom of the chain of command who do the grunt work in the MCU.
It feels like Damage Control would have very much been a companion piece to the DC-set comedy Powerless and maybe they could have worked together.
Karlin’s series didn’t get anywhere, but Damage Control does eventually show up in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
9 Spider-Man: Classic (Video Game)
Shaba Games and Activision saw a lot of success with Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, and so in 2008, they were given another go with a Spider-Man title.
Spider-Man: Classic’s goal was to play as a Greatest Hits of Spider-Man’s best fights.
The game recreated classic battles from the Spider-Man canon (minus Venom material, since he was prominent in Web of Shadows), such as showdowns with Carnage and Mysterio.
Not only that, but in a nice nod to comic crossovers, Wolverine would have also been a playable character.
Shaba's bankruptcy in 2009 was the cause of the cancelation, but some designs were at least carried over into Beenox's 2011 Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
8 Ghost Rider (Video Game)
Curiously enough, there was a Ghost Rider PlayStation game that was in development all the way back in 1998.
Crystal Dynamics teamed up with Neversoft to create an action-platformer title that revolved around Danny Ketch, the new Ghost Rider from the ‘90s.
Ghost Rider would use his chain to fight. The game would supposedly play a lot like the Castlevania games.
There were also ambitious plans to be able to rotate the game's 3D backgrounds on its axis for new paths and depth, but it was largely unnecessary, albeit ahead of its time.
The game was canceled after six months once Crystal Dynamics left the publishing business to become their own developer.
7 The Silver Surfer (Movie)
The Silver Surfer first appeared in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, where he took on quite a central role, but people have been trying to get the Silver Surfer on the big screen for years.
Andrew Kevin Walker of Se7en fame had even penned a script for a Silver Surfer movie back in 2000.
Another attempt was made during production of Rise of the Silver Surfer. The movie ends on a cliffhanger of sorts for the character and the plan was to give him a solo movie that would advance his storyline and explore his origin.
When the Fantastic Four sequel failed, the Silver Surfer project sadly faded away, too.
6 Hellfire Club (TV Series)
In 2015, Marvel and FOX teamed up for two X-Men-centric TV projects that were designed to be more unconventional.
One of these shows turned out to be FX’s Legion, but the other one was Hellfire Club, which would focus on the villainous group.
Hellfire Club was meant to piggyback off of X-Men: First Class and carried that level of baggage with it, but 24’s Evan Katz and Many Coto were interested in bringing the project to life.
Katz and Coto continued to stall on the project and people came to the natural conclusion that the show never moved forward.
FOX instead embraced a friendlier project that’s still set within the X-Men universe, The Gifted.
5 Amazing Spider-Man 3 (Movie)
Spider-Man is such an interesting Marvel property because not only does he have countless animated series, but the movie series has been rebooted three times. Spider-Man is an extremely relatable character, and thus there is always a market for him.
Andrew Garfield did a respectable job as Peter Parker, but the Amazing Spider-Man series attempted to do too much and worried about future movies more than itself.
Before everything was retooled, the planned sequel would have seen the return of Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin, as well as the possible addition of Kraven the Hunter and Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, as plans of a Sinister Six venture were also in development.
4 X-Men: Pryde Of The X-Men (TV Series)
The ‘90s X-Men: The Animated Series has a very sterling reputation among comics fans, and rightly so. Many fans don’t realize that this beloved series was actually the second attempt at an animated X-Men show, with the first being in 1989.
X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men pulled from issues of Uncanny X-Men. However, its pilot put its focus on Kitty Pryde and her team as they fought against Magneto and the Brotherhood.
Financial issues and internal problems caused production to stall, but it still helped out the '90s cartoon.
It was also the inspiration for Konami's 1992 X-Men video game, so at least it went somewhere.
3 X-Women: The Sinister Virus (Video Game)
Now this is actually an interesting angle for a game, even if the title is just terrible. Sega was hungry for more X-Men games after their previous effort on the Genesis performed so well.
X-Women: The Sinister Virus was supposed to take a different approach this time around.
X-Women focused on the female airborne X-fighters, like Storm, Jean Grey, and Rogue. It also decided to take to the skies, whereas previous titles were stuck on the ground.
Clockwork Tortoise was supposed to hit a 1997 release date and promo materials came out in ’96, but the game never came out.
No real reason was provided, but Sega shifting their priorities onto the Saturn would make sense.
2 The Avengers (Video Game)
All of the movies in the MCU see a lot of success, but the Avengers team-up efforts are especially popular. Therefore, video game companion titles seem like a no brainer.
Eventually, Avengers games became available, but it took a surprisingly long time.
Part of the reason for this might be that THQ Australia was actually working on an Avengers title, but it was canceled when the company folded.
Avengers was meant to be a first-person tie-in to the first Avengers movie.
However, it would also feature an original storyline written by Brian Michael Bendis, no less, and touch on the “Secret Invasion” storyline.
Captain Marvel was even supposed to be an unlockable character.
1 Marvel 2099: One Nation Under Doom (Video Game)
One Nation Under Doom was wildly ahead of its time, as it wanted to focus on alternate Marvel timelines way before movies or television were interested.
In 1996, Saffire teamed up with Mindscape to make a 2D sidescroller for the PlayStation that focused on the Marvel 2099 line.
The game’s demo featured Punisher 2099 taking out S.H.I.E.L.D. troops, but also showed Spider-Man 2099, Hulk 2099, and X-Men 2099 in display, too.
However, Mindscape decided to stop publishing certain console titles and unfortunately this was one of them, but the game got pretty far. Demos were sent out to game magazines and a playable demo was even released.
Do you know of any other Marvel projects that were canceled? Sound off in the comments!