An alternate version of Iron Man's famous post-credits scene included Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) referencing the X-Men and Spider-Man. Marvel Studios is currently one of the most successful movie studios in all of Hollywood, but they were far from it when the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in 2008. They brought Jon Favreau - then still an unproven director - aboard to direct their first film, which was based around what many believed to be a C-list Marvel character. And, they hired Robert Downey Jr. to star, who at the time was viewed as a risk after recent personal struggles.
The MCU has become bigger than anyone would've imagined back then and has done it all without some of their biggest characters. Marvel sold the live-action rights to many characters to film studios in the '80s. Fox acquired the X-Men and Fantastic Four, Sony got Spider-Man, and Universal got the rights to Hulk and others. It was only recently that Sony and Marvel Studios agreed to work together to make Spidey part of the MCU, while Universal's deal has made a Hulk solo film complicated, and Fox's characters are now under Marvel Studios thanks to the Disney-Fox deal. However, an alternate version of Iron Man's post-credits scene would've teased that all of these universes were intertwined.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was recently awarded the Stan Lee World Builder Award at the Saturn Awards (via WatchMojo), but he could not be in attendance. He recorded a pre-taped message to accept the award and to give everyone a special surprise. He revealed a never-before-seen alternate version of Iron Man's post-credits scene. In the scene below (which will be part of the Infinity Saga box set), Fury references mutants and a man bitten by radioactive bugs.
While this scene was scrapped, the implications of the idea behind this line of dialogue would've been staggering. Since Marvel Studios could not legally reference mutants at that time, this could point to some sort of optimism that maybe that would change prior to Iron Man's release. This would've been right around the time that Fox was working on X-Men Origins: Wolverine and after Feige stopped working on the X-Men franchise as a producer. It is possible that he tried to bridge these worlds together at the time, but had no such luck.
Meanwhile, the mention of a man with radioactive bug bites is clearly a reference to Spider-Man. This would've come two years after Spider-Man 3 and at the time when Sam Raimi was still developing Spider-Man 4. It is also possible that Feige saw an opportunity to make Iron Man exist in this same universe. If this was the plan, Kevin Feige could've had nearly all of Marvel's characters at his disposal moving forward, finally giving him the complete Marvel roster of characters he's still waiting for.
It isn't known whether or not conversations between Marvel Studios and the likes of Fox and Sony were happening at this time though. This could've just been a quick alternate take just for fun or as a backup in case something unexpected happened. Regardless, it was the right call to go with the version of the scene that was attached to the film at release. If Marvel Studios was hoping to bring all of Marvel's movie franchises together, nothing done in Iron Man or its post-credits scene would stop that from happening. And looking back at how big the MCU has become, fans and competing studios will only wonder what could've been if this scene new version of the scene was used.
Source: Saturn Awards [via WatchMojo]
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
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- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022