Joss Whedon's The Avengers almost featured Wasp instead of Black Widow and another villain to help Loki. Marvel Studios is celebrating the way they've grown the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last 10 years in epic style with the release of Avengers: Infinity War. While their latest movie is breaking nearly every box office record, it wasn't too long ago that the film that really kicked off the MCU was doing so. The Avengers changed the way Hollywood has operated ever since thanks to Marvel Studios bringing together several franchise stars.
They're the stalwarts of the MCU by now, but the first film brought Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) together to battle Loki (Tom Hiddleston). That may be what the final product was, but it wasn't always the plan. Marvel Studios' original MCU plan was very different, and it turns out so were some alternate takes to Whedon's script.
Speaking to Thrillist, Whedon discussed how The Avengers almost looked completely different. In this alternate film, Wasp was featured heavily instead of Black Widow. With more powers in play though, they also considered bringing in the son of Iron Man's Obadiah Stane to serve as another antagonist, which apparently Kevin Feige wasn't a big fan of.
We went through a lot of insane iterations of what might be. At the very beginning, I wrote entire drafts that had no bearing on what I would eventually film. There was a moment where we thought we weren't gonna have Scarlett [Johansson], and so I wrote a huge bunch of pages starring The Wasp. That was not useful. I also worried that one British character actor was not enough to take on Earth's mightiest heroes, and that we'd feel like we were rooting for the overdog. So I wrote a huge draft with Ezekiel Stane, Obadiah Stane's son, in it. Kevin looked at it and said, "Yeah, no." [Marvel Studios co-president] Louis D'Esposito actually at that point said, "Yeah, Kevin, it's all wrong, but look how good it is. Like this is really good wrong." That was a nice boost.
The possibility of Janet van Dyne's Wasp being in Avengers was much more than just an idea Whedon kicked around. In the years since the film was released, animatics that have since been scrubbed from the internet showed Wasp in the now iconic 360 shot on the streets of New York. Rumor had it that Demi Lovato was being looked at, as well as Eva Longoria. Wasp didn't make it in Avengers obviously, but two versions of her are about to debut. Evangeline Lilly finally gets to suit up as Wasp in Ant-Man and The Wasp this summer, which will also feature the debut of Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet. After all this time, it may be Avengers 4 that finally makes Wasp an Avenger.
Including Ezekiel Stane is a different story though. Its no secret Marvel toyed with the idea of including multiple villains in Avengers, but Ezekiel's involvement is new. Previous reports pointed to Red Skull possibly returning to fight with Loki. The only help the god of mischief got was with the Chitauri, and its safe to say introducing the son of Iron Man's villain would've been a bit too much. Feige clearly thought so too, which is why he stopped this idea quickly. Maybe it could've worked if the idea was worked on more, but its clear The Avengers worked just fine without these changes.