The X-Men joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still just a distant hope for fans, and Spider-Man’s future in the MCU is in major jeopardy right now in the wake of the Sony-Marvel rift. But it turns out that there were plans to include both, at least in passing reference, way back at the very beginning of the MCU.
On Saturday night at the 45th annual Saturn Awards, after being presented with the first-ever Stan Lee World Builder Award, Kevin Feige revealed a deleted post-credits scene from Iron Man that shows Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) referencing both Spider-Man and the X-Men without actually naming the (at the time) non-Marvel properties.
“We pulled some things out of that vault that we said, ‘We’ll never show this to anybody, put it away,'” Feige says about the deleted scene. “We’re bringing them out, we’re putting them on this disc, and I’m about to show you a deleted scene that has never been seen by anyone before right now.”
The clip begins when Fury approaches Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.) at the very end of Iron Man, the first MCU film, talking about the Avenger Initiative — just like in the actual post-credits scene that made it onto the movie. But this alternate scene sees Fury talk about “gamma accidents, radioactive bug bites and assorted mutants” before complaining about how he has to “deal with a spoiled brat who doesn’t play well with others and wants to keep all his toys to himself,” aka Tony.
It’s a short scene but one with huge implications. Despite not having access to the properties of Spider-Man and the X-Men back in 2008 when Iron Man was released, Marvel clearly still wanted those characters to exist in the MCU. Fast forward to more than a decade and a full slate of films later and the X-Men still haven’t been able to be included in the MCU, and Spider-Man joined for five films only to be tragically yanked away due to corporate red tape after Spider-Man: Far From Home. This doesn’t help answer any of the complicated questions surrounding either property’s potential future in the MCU, but it does reveal that there were attempts to include them through references at the very beginning. That’s something!
Feige also revealed that this scene along with much more teased material will be released as bonus features on the upcoming Infinity Saga DVD box set, so it sounds like there’s a lot more where this came from. What else has the MCU been hiding all these years? We’re about to find out.