Captain America nearly cameoed in The Incredible Hulk and here's why the scene was left on the cutting room floor. Although it is now common (if not expected) that the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe movies will reference ones that came before or will come later, this was not as prevalent when the MCU began in 2008. As the first film in the universe, Iron Man stood on its own without Easter eggs for other characters and movies Marvel Studios was developing. But, The Incredible Hulk was a slightly different story.
Coming out just a few months after Iron Man, the MCU reference that The Incredible Hulk is most-known for comes at the very end of the film. Marvel Studios worked quickly to get Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark to cameo in Incredible Hulk's post-credits scene to tease the idea of Hulk joining the Avengers at a later date. The cameo unmistakably tied the first two MCU films together and teased audiences that a crossover could happen down the line. Even before this cameo was filmed, The Incredible Hulk was set to reference Tony as some Stark Industries tech appears in the film. But, the Stark tech also helps set up another MCU hero: Captain America.
Following a conversation between General Ross and Emil Blonsky about a now-defunct super-soldier program, the Stark cryogenic chamber is revealed to hold a version of the serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. It is a blatantly obvious tease for Marvel fans for a character that Marvel Studios was at the time developing a solo film around. The teases for Captain America's introduction almost didn't stop there either, as he was originally set to have a cameo in the film.
Captain America's Cameo In The Incredible Hulk Explained
Captain America's cameo in The Incredible Hulk comes in one of a few deleted scenes from the second MCU film. In one of the scenes, Bruce Banner travels north to the Arctic Circle to kill himself after not being able to find a cure. After he wanders through this snowy setting and is about to pull the trigger, Bruce transforms into the Hulk once again. The scene then shows that Hulk is responsible for a giant ice structure collapsing, which breaks up the frozen ground below. Although the moment is quick, Captain America's body and shield can be seen frozen in ice on the bottom left side of the screen.
Why Incredible Hulk's Captain America Scene Was Cut
As fun as it may have been to get this Captain America cameo in 2008, the scene was cut from The Incredible Hulk during the editing process. So, why did Marvel Studios and director Louis Leterrier make this decision? It came down to the contents of the scene before Captain America shows up. Since the entire scene is part of Bruce trying to kill himself, it was decided that this was too dark to include in the film. The suicide attempt was mentioned by Bruce in The Avengers though.
While the dark nature of the scene was the primary reason behind the scene being cut, it also gave Joe Johnston a bit more freedom with Captain America: The First Avenger as a result. Captain America ended up frozen in ice either way, but his solo movie had him frozen within Red Skull's plane. This scene from The Incredible Hulk would indicate that Captain America would've been thrown out of the plane during the crash or attempted to escape beforehand. The latter would've made more sense to War Machine, but it would've completely changed Cap's role in the MCU.
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