16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

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It’s no hyperbole to say that the

Marvel Cinematic Universe has completely reinvented the movie industry. Not only have these simple comic book stories turned into some of the most popular and profitable movies of all time, but they’ve also redefined what a comic book movie can be.

There’s no longer a stigma that superhero movies are lesser art than “real movies.” This is an age where something like Logan can receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The juggernaut that is the MCU is churning out movies with no real end in sight. Furthermore, other franchises have taken a page from their books and it’s almost rare now when a blockbuster movie doesn’t come with a post-credits scene or an attempt to build a larger cinematic universe.

The critical and commercial success of Black Panther and the looming release of Infinity War stand as proof of how well the MCU has refined and perfected their filmmaking approach.

However, in spite of all of the franchise’s successes, these guys aren’t invincible. The MCU has made mistakes and caused uproars just like everyone else.

So, with the release of Infinity War almost a month away, here are the

 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies.

16. James Gunn Spoils Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Before Its Release

Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 Ego Starlord 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Society has become crazy on the topic of spoilers. MCU movies have turned into some of the most profitable and popular films of all time, so it should come as no surprise that some people want these experiences to be “pure” and to have nothing ruined for them.

That’s why a certain situation where the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 got excited and let some details slip is so interesting. Gunn let loose that Kurt Russell would play Ego the Living Planet, who would also be Star-Lord’s father.

Gunn didn’t think that this was that big of a deal, but fans were so sensitive about such things that he was forced to go into damage control over the reveal.

He even had to release a statement on why it wasn’t that crucial to the larger scope of the movie. Maybe fans should trust the director’s instincts.

15. The Treatment Of Black Widow’s Femininity

Jeremy Renner Chris Evans Black Widow Interview 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Black Widow’s marginalization doesn’t stay limited to her lack of a solo movie. The character has received some questionable treatment from the fact that the bulk of the Avengers are made up of single heterosexual men and that Natasha is one of the few females in the group.

There was plenty of controversy over Natasha’s line in Age of Ultron about feeling like a “monster” after how her handlers had conditioned and sterilized her.

However, what gained even more traction was a pointed interview with Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans, where the two were asked about Black Widow’s intimate history.

Renner refers t to the character as a “slut” and Evans jokes that she’s a “complete wh**e,” but these infantile remarks caused quite the stir. Evans has since apologized, but it’s important for fans to realize how female superheroes can be condescended to in this fashion.

14. Don Cheadle Replaces Terrence Howard In Iron Man 2

terrence howard iron man one time superhero actors who never got sequel 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

It’s never easy when major roles get re-cast in tent pole franchises. It’s why so many actors are pushed into multi-movie deals when they commit to certain characters. This is common practice now in the MCU, but back during the original Iron Man, neither Marvel nor Jon Favreau knew exactly what they were getting into here.

Don Cheadle is the face behind Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (aka War Machine), but many forget that in the first Iron Man the role was actually played by Terrence Howard.

Believe it or not, Howard was actually the highest paid actor on the movie, so when it came time to negotiate a sequel, Howard’s paycheck took a massive cut (even though more was required of his character).

Howard insists that Robert Downey Jr. “pushed him out” of the franchise, but it was Howard’s difficult attitude towards negotiations that pulled him out of the MCU.

13. The Reversal Of Ayo’s Orientation In Black Panther

Black Panther Ayo Army 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Black Panther has opened the floodgates in so many ways and knocked down barriers for what a superhero movie can be and look like, but that doesn’t mean that the feature is without its flaws.

The recent World of Wakanda comics place Ayo in a lesbian relationship with Aneka, a fellow bodyguard of T’Challa. Early Black Panther footage appeared to show Ayo flirting with Okoye and fans were hopeful that this character detail would carry over into the MCU.

However, Marvel made a point of telling Vanity Fair that Ayo and Okoye’s friendship was purely platonic and that she was not a lesbian. This curious statement even prompted the hashtag, #LetAyoHaveAGirlfriend.

MCU television shows have been more accepting towards gay relationships and some strides were nearly made with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie in Ragnarok, but it’s clear that there is still more work to be done in this department.

12. The Decision To Change Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s Backstories

Quicksilver Scarlet Witch Run 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

The additions of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver to the MCU in Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron helped open up the universe in a number of ways, while also adding two beloved characters to the movie franchise.

Both Wanda and Pietro made a strong impression on audiences, but they also happen to be characters that occupy a very weird space between Marvel and Fox.

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s roots in the comics make them not only mutants, but also the children of Magneto.

At the time, Marvel and FOX were not one big super-studio, so while Marvel was allowed to use the characters, they couldn’t make them mutants.

The direction they took was to turn Wanda and Pietro into volunteer guinea pigs for Hydra. This becomes a little problematic when considering that their comic origins place them as the children of a Holocaust survivor.

11. The Resurrection Of Agent Coulson

Coulson Death Avengers 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

During Phase 1 of the MCU, it’s fair to say that one of the biggest emotional moments— if not the biggest emotional moment— is the death of Agent Phil Coulson in The Avengers.

Coulson was largely the glue that held together the Avengers during their training wheels stages. He helped bring the team together and smooth out their rough patches, so it should be no surprise that his death is what wakes everyone up and pushes the team to victory in their first big team-up adventure. However, then he comes back to life.

It’s understandable that Marvel’s foray into television with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would want some connective tissue from the MCU, but bringing back Coulson was problematic for many viewers.

Coulson’s resurrection robs his death of its gravity and bringing resurrection into the canon is always a dangerous move. Couldn’t have Maria Hill been S.H.I.E.L.D.’s leader for show?

10. Idris Elba’s Casting As Heimdall In Thor

Idris Elba Heimdall Armor 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Some fans complain when a comic adaptation deviates in any way from its source material, whether there are merits to those complaints or not.

Idris Elba is an incredible actor who tends to improve any project that he’s apart of, so his addition to Kenneth Branagh’s Thor as Heimdall seems like a home run.

Elba delivers a strong, memorable performance through the franchise, but that didn’t stop White Supremacist groups from trying to (unsuccessfully) boycott the movie.

Matters haven’t gotten that better, considering that Zendaya was inundated with death threats when there were simply rumors going around that she might be the new Mary Jane in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Elba has earned acceptance as Heimdall, but as of the release of Ragnarok, the actor has been vocal about his wishes to play a character that had more of a pivotal role in the MCU.

9. Mantis’ Creator Disapproves Of Her Movie Version

Guardians Of The Galaxy Mantis Drax 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

James Gunn’s interpretation of Guardians of the Galaxy is such fun chaos that it’s easy to just buy into it all and enjoy the ride. Gunn has succeeded in putting together a wildly diverse cast of characters and figuring out how to capitalize on their weird kinship.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 throws a few more eccentric teammates into the mix and Pom Klementieff’s Mantis turns out to be a standout addition.

The empathic Mantis acts as a great foil for Drax and even gave autistic fans a surrogate to connect with on some level. However, in spite of the warm fan response to the character, her creator, Steve Englehart, has a decidedly different take.

Englehart has said that Gunn’s interpretation feels like a completely different character that simply shares the same name as his creation, but lacks her depth. However, there’s always time for more development in Vol. 3.

8. The Lack of Female-Led Superhero Movies

Black Widow Double Guns 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Let’s be clear that this paradigm is now very much in flux and there are a number of female-centric superhero properties in development. Wonder Woman has never been more popular as a character, Captain Marvel is set to debut in 2019, and Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp even gets to share the glory in the title of Ant-Man & the Wasp.

Back in 2014, the infamous Sony e-mail hacks revealed a statement from former Marvel film CEO, Ike Perlmutter, where he cites previous failures like Elektra, Catwoman, and Supergirl as enough of a reason to not pursue female-led superhero movies, like a Black Widow feature film.

On top of that, other female MCU characters like Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, and Peggy Carter have continually been marginalized. At least the wheels are in motion to remedy this and maybe there will be a Black Widow solo movie before there’s one for Hawkeye.

7. Deadpool’s Representation In X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X Men Origins Wolverine Mouthless Deadpool 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

The journey towards bringing Deadpool to the big screen has been full of twists and turns. The character might finally have a strong following and a decent movie to his name, but the character’s earlier days in film were quite problematic.

There has always been a large push to get Ryan Reynolds to play the sassy antihero and it finally happened in X-Men Origins: Wolverine– sort of.

There are a lot of problems with the first solo Wolverine feature movie, but the most unforgivable grievance is that the movie turns the “merc with a mouth” into a silent character.

The movie depicts Deadpool as a scarred, mouthless, un-costumed vigilante that’s just another Weapon X experiment. This beloved character was destroyed for many fans and it wasn’t until the characters recent “reboot” that he could get the justice that he deserves.

6. Marvel’s “Prohibition” Of Fantastic Four And X-Men Comics

Fantastic Four X Men Crossover Movie 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Marvel and FOX are friends now, but before the merger, there was definitely bad blood when it came to the representation of the studios properties in comics.

Marvel would essentially cripple their comic properties that were owned by FOX in the movie industry. In 2014, before the release of FOX’s Fantastic Four movie, Marvel canceled the property’s comic run.

Writer Jonathan Hickman would later verify that this was a result of arguments over the property’s movie rights.

X-Men has also been reduced in visibility and Marvel Comics have accordingly turned out more Inhumans material to replace them. Even X-Men mainstay, Chris Claremont, has confirmed that the reduced number of X-Men comics is absolutely because a rival corporation owns their movie rights.

Meanwhile, numerous “prologues” to MCU movie have appeared in Marvel Comics and the most popular film franchises continue to receive a boosted visibility in their comic counterparts.

5. The Learning Curve And Director Shuffle On Thor 2

Thor Dark World Malekith Adewale 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Initially, Thor was one of the first properties that was harder to nail down tonally for Marvel. Director Kenneth Branagh was expected to return for Thor’s sequel, but the arrangement fell apart and Marvel went through several directors and different angles for the sequel until Alan Taylor and Dark World were settled on.

This was one of the first times that putting together a Marvel sequel was more difficult than anticipated and started to show differences in vision. The way in which Patty Jenkins was abruptly fired also apparently really struck a sour note with Natalie Portman as well and showed a time when directors weren’t treated as well by the studio.

It was also around this time that Whedon apparently was clashing with Marvel over the direction on Age of Ultron. Fans were aware of these growing pains.

4. The Reversal On The Mandarin In Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 Trevor Slattery 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Iron Man 3 has one of the more fickle reputations in the MCU and a lot of it comes down to the ambitious choices that the movie makes with its villain.

Mandarin is one of the most sought-after, popular villains in the Iron Man comics, but he’s also a character that is steeped in racism and antiquated values. Even his name is an outdated stereotype.

Director Shane Black attempted to creatively subvert these problems by turning his version of the Mandarin into a massive misdirect.

His rendition of the character was actually an actor by the name of Trevor Slattery that’s merely a hired hand from the movie’s real villain, Aldrich Killian.

This twist outraged fans that wanted a traditional take on the classic villain. All of this caused such an upset that the Marvel One-Shot, All Hail the King, was largely made as a way to appease fans and attempt to save some face.

3. Tilda Swinton “Whitewashes” The Role Of Dr. Strange’s Ancient One

Doctor Strange Still Ancient One Karl Mordo 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

People often joke that Tilda Swinton can play anyone (she was allegedly even considered for Pennywise in IT), but Dr. Strange finally introduces a situation where the audience cocked their heads in confusion and said, “Hold on a second…”

Complicated Chinese censorship laws would mean that the Ancient One wouldn’t be able to keep his Tibetan roots. Director Scott Derrickson decided that the best approach here was to go in a different direction altogether with the mystic character.

Many people were quick to accuse the movie of whitewashing what could be a prominent role for an Asian actor.

Derrickson apologized for his casting of Swinton and attempted to use a “Trevor Slattery-esque” explanation for the changes made to the character. He also defended how the movie still uses many Asian actors for their roles’ film counterparts, but this debate still hung over the film during its time of release.

2. Edward Norton’s Need For Final Cut And His Eventual Replacement

Edward Norton Hulk 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

The Incredible Hulk is certainly an outlier in the MCU and many forget that it only came out a few months after the release of Iron Man. Many were ready to accept Ed Norton as the new Bruce Banner, but the release of The Avengers would shift the role over to Marc Ruffalo indefinitely.

The reason for Norton’s dismissal had to do with the actor’s notorious reputation of wanting final cut on his movies and the ability to do rewrites.

This attitude led to turmoil behind the scenes, which also made the brand-new MCU begin to look unstable rather than the problem-solving juggernaut that it is now.

Norton’s official response on all of this is that he wanted to be allowed more diversity and freedom in his movie roles and not be chained down to such a big franchise with so many moving pieces. Maybe he’s just green with envy.

1. Edgar Wright Gets Fired From Ant-Man

Edgar Wright 16 Marvel Controversies That Almost Ended Their Movies

Marvel has entered a real Renaissance period when it comes to their directorial choices. Unconventional, creative directors like Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, and James Gunn have all been able to flourish in the medium and deliver films that respect their voices and aren’t just pieces of an intricate interconnected superhero puzzle.

Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man still devastates many Marvel fans because the end product would have no doubt been something magical. Peyton Reed’s finished movie gets the job done just fine, but this was clearly a passion project for Wright that he was involved with long before there was even a larger MCU to worry about.

It’s a shame that Wright couldn’t bend to Marvel’s push for larger world building and synergy because he’s exactly the sort of director that Marvel would get along with now. Who knows, maybe Baby Driver 2 will throw superpowers into the mix.

Are there any other controversial 

Marvel incidents that we’ve missed? Now’s the time to sound off in the comment section!

TAGS: marvel, MCU
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