One of the most exciting events for any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is the debut of multiple trailers before its imminent release. Whether it be during the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, or even shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live or Good Morning America, fans are always on the edge of their seats in anticipation of seeing new teases for Marvel’s biggest blockbusters.
While the trailers usually give a good idea of what will happen in the movies they are attached to, almost every single trailer includes a few seconds of footage that don’t make it to the final cut of the film. Sometimes this is done on purpose to give the fans an intentional misdirection, and other times the footage either ends up as a deleted scene or never finds its way into the movie’s plans.
Some of these unused trailer moments have caused a great deal of discussion amongst the fan base either for their perceived importance to the plot of the film or simply because they were excited to see where it came during the movie’s plot. In the spirit of these occurrences, The Direct presents our in-depth look at the most notable trailer moments that were not in the final cut of MCU movies!
MCU trailers usually do a fantastic job of hiding plot details for the upcoming films. A couple of the most notable trends in these trailers have been teasing romances sometimes don't materialize, extended footage from final cut shots, and shots in the trailer that have a completely different background in the movie with the same acting. Our honorable mentions dive into a few examples of all three instances!
Iron Man – Pepper Plants a Kiss on Tony
During the first trailer for the original Iron Man, Pepper Potts is shown going all in for a kiss with her boss, Tony Stark. In the final cut of the film, she stops short before asking him to grab her a vodka martini with a very liberal amount of olives. Everybody loves a good cinematic romance, and this trailer did a great job teasing the future of Pepperony even though they didn’t become an official thing until Iron Man 2.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Liz goes in to kiss Peter
There’s nothing like a first romance, and the second trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming teased that for Peter Parker as Liz Allen went in for a smooch at the homecoming dance. The final cut of the movie brought a much darker scenario for the young hero, showing his one-on-one moment just before this scene with Adrian Toomes, who he learns is both the Vulture and Liz’s father. He then proceeds to go to the dance for about twelve seconds before going after the film’s big bad.
Ant-Man - "Is it too late to change the name?"
One of the funniest moments in the first Ant-Man trailer included Paul Rudd hilariously asking if there was any way to change the superhero's name. This was most likely an extended part of the scene where Hank Pym told Scott "I need you to be the Ant-Man," but this comedic exchange never made it to the film's theatrical cut. While Paul Rudd spent the vast majority of the movie showing off his jokes and action skills, this question to his mentor only stayed in the cut of the first teaser trailer.
Thor: Ragnarok - Hela in the Alley
The teaser trailers from Thor: Ragnarok included a couple of notable shots of the villainous Hela that were changed for the movie. Her introductory scene had its location changed from a grimy New York City alley to the beautiful fields of Norway, although the action shots of her crushing the mighty hammer Mjolnir and outfitting herself in her classic comic helmet remained in the film. This scene ended up being changed in post-production for a better moment in the final cut of the film, so director Taika Waititi inadvertently threw fans off with this different setting of the same scene.
Avengers: Endgame – Nebula Charges Into Battle
While this scene’s background seemed to put Nebula right in the thick of the film’s final battle in 2023, the real scene in Avengers: Endgame showed her 2014 reality version training and sparring with the children of Thanos. This scene was changed from the trailer to the movie simply to hide one of dozens of spoilers that came during the massive culmination event.
Spider-Man: Far From Home - Spidey Wears His Normal Suit
While making an appearance at a charity event with Aunt May in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man is shown in the trailer wearing his normal Stark-designed suit. This was edited for the final film to be the Iron Spider suit, hiding the fact that he came back in that suit before the final battle of Avengers: Endgame.
The Incredible Hulk – Bruce Banner’s fireside chat with Doctor Colin Sampson
While the reactions were incredibly mixed for the theatrical release of The Incredible Hulk, its first teaser trailer did a solid job of introducing a new Bruce Banner that existed within the MCU in its earliest stages. While most of the trailer's footage did make its way to the final cut of the film, a longer scene that started it off became one of the film's biggest casualties.
The debut teaser trailer for The Incredible Hulk opens with a fireside chat between Edward Norton's Bruce Banner and Ty Burell's Doc Leonard Sampson. These two characters never even interacted with one another in the final cut of the movie as Liv Tyler's Betty Ross turned out to be the only person to help Bruce hide out from her father and the US Army. It would have been interesting to find out where this deleted scene would have fit into the movie, and it also would most likely have helped develop Doc Sampson even more deeply as his own man.
Iron Man 2 – Tony lets Natasha Fire Off at his Party
Iron Man 2 was another early film in the MCU that ended up as a decent movie, but fans were expecting more upon the release of the film's teaser trailer. A seemingly epic battle with Whiplash had fans amped up for how this first MCU sequel would expand on the growing legend of Tony Stark, and the film also had the opportunity to introduce one of the original six members of The Avengers. From all of the footage from the trailers that teased the debut of Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, one notable moment was MIA in the movie's theatrical release.
In a scene looking to be from Tony's wild and outrageous birthday party from the second trailer, he lets his lovely new assistant Natalie (Romanoff's cover name) try out his Iron Man gauntlet and blast off a shot right inside his Malibu mansion. In the film's final cut, Romanoff was nowhere to be seen during the parties' shenanigans after telling Tony how she would spend her last ever birthday; the only time she is seen again is arguing with Pepper before Iron Man and the newly suited-up War Machine literally bring the roof down.
While Tony's party had the vibes that fans would have expected after seeing Nat's Iron Man moment, she ended up having to "settle" for simply being a badass secret agent through most of the rest of the movie's runtime. We can only imagine how Nat would have put the Stark suit to use given a real opportunity to defeat bad guys with that much more of an advantage.
Iron Man 3 –Teases for The Mandarin
The debut film of the MCU's Phase 2 served to close one chapter of Tony Stark's superhero journey with 2013's Iron Man 3. After defeating the MCU's Iron Monger and Whiplash in his first two adventures, Marvel Studios built up the last movie of trilogy through its trailers by introducing possibly the most iconic Iron Man villain from the comics: The Mandarin. Even though the movie used one of the biggest plot twists in the MCU by revealing the Mandarin to be a fake, you wouldn't have guessed that from the trailers.
Marvel Studios put their best efforts into teasing the menacing nature of the Mandarin through all of the trailers. Two shots in particular from the second domestic teaser helped this ruse with shots of him removing his hood and standing with his arms raised, likely about to pull one of his televised stunts. There is even the tease of Captain America's shield on the back of his neck that never ended up as a part of the movie, disappointing fans worldwide.
Even though the Mandarin turned out to simply be Trevor Slattery drugged up and used as an acting prop, the movie's trailer did their best to convince audiences of the threat the Mandarin was set to pose. After the Phase 4 announcements brought news that the real Mandarin would be arriving in the MCU via 2021's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, fans are already anticipating seeing Tony Leung take over the role in that film's own trailers.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Gamora Topless, Full Guardians Line-Up
When Marvel Studios announced that their 10th feature film would be Guardians of the Galaxy, the fanbase came back with a more confused reaction than had ever been seen up until that point. After the first trailer released for James Gunn's 2014 space epic though, nobody could wait to see everything that Star Lord and his ragtag team of misfits would get themselves into. While most of the moments from the film's trailers ended up in the movie, there are a couple of notable exceptions.
The first teaser trailer showed Zoe Saldana's Gamora for a brief moment looking at someone/something while completely topless, a moment which fans are still unsure of exactly where it would fall in the movie. An omitted shot that's even more memorable is the final one of the trailer where all five Guardians are lined up in front of the Nova Corp after the rap sheet introduction. Since Drax didn't end up meeting the rest of the team until they were all in the Kyln together, this was a great way to put all five heroes together without giving away any major plot details.
Guardians of the Galaxy was likely Marvel Studios' biggest risk going into the end of Phase 2, but the teaser trailers did their job and more to get fans hyped for the film's release. Even while not everything from the previews made the film, the first film made the team of misfits a household name almost instantly.
Avengers: Age of Ultron – Ultron Hand Dripping in Lava, Scarlet Witch Screams Amongst Rubble, Woman in the Water of Sights
Marvel Studios' Avengers films are always the most difficult to make trailers for. Not only do they have more characters than any other movies in the franchise, they typically have the most high-stakes plot and subsequently, the most potential spoilers. Avengers: Age of Ultron was no stranger to this fact, although its trailers not only hid the film's plot, it contained one of the most discussed trailer shots of any in the entire MCU.
The first two shots from the initial teaser trailer do a good job at hiding what came during the films plot. One includes Ultron's hand covered in lava, likely from later in the movie right before he puts his Sokovia-destruction plan into effect with his final upgraded form.
The trailer also gives Wanda Maximoff dropping to her knees and letting out a scream of agony. In the movie, a similar version of this moment was shown after she felt the death of her brother Pietro, the climax of the movie which could not be shown in the trailer.
The last shot is one that MCU fans have talked about for five years: the woman in the Water of Sights. This woman was shown for a split second in the Super Bowl trailer, but when Thor goes on his side quest to this location to find out more about his visions, she is nowhere to be seen in the final cut of the movie. She seems to be one of the casualties of scenes deleted to shorten the runtime, and director Joss Whedon has explained that she was supposed to be something like the Norse mythology version of one of the Fates that would possess Thor and answer his questions.
Thor's mission was cut incredibly short in the movie's final cut, and it feels like this woman would have played at least some kind of interesting role in that mission had she been kept in the movie. I could go on a huge rant about her absence in the final cut, but this is a gripe that so many fans have with the movie and its trailers even this long after the film's release.
Setting her aside, the other two trailer shots did their job very well in setting up the adventures in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This movie helped to set up so much of the MCU's future for Phase 3 and beyond, and the teaser trailers turned out to be quite effective in getting the fans excited for the new sequel. Hopefully, future trailers learn from what happened with the "woman in the Water of Sights mayhem" as well.
Ant-Man – Scott kisses Cassie at her party, Darren Cross Replaced by Falcon
Ant-Man was put up to the unenviable task of following Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015, a task made even more difficult by the fact that its promotional run started before the massive team-up film even released in theaters. The trailers for this film managed to do an exceptional job teasing this MCU heist film while also capitalizing on the star power of Paul Rudd in the leading role. The plot of this film was hidden very well in this movie, and two shots in particular helped with this endeavor.
In the first teaser trailer, Scott Lang is shown sitting on the couch with his daughter Cassie at her birthday party, showing how great of a dad he is. While the film does show his his top notch dad skills, this scene played out very differently in the final cut as Scott's ex-wife, Maggie, told him that he shouldn't have even been at the party after just getting out of jail. Cassie only saw him for a minute before he and Maggie argued outside.
The second teaser trailer teased one of the imminent battles between Ant-Man and Darren Cross' Yellowjacket. In the final cut, this scene featured Ant-Man and Anthony Mackie's Falcon as Scott attempted to break into the new Avengers facility in upstate New York. This was obviously changed to hide the Falcon reveal, which helped his relationship with Scott fully blossom later on in Captain America: Civil War.
These were both huge plot moments during the run time of Ant-Man, and Marvel once again did a great job of hiding major story events. The tease of Scott's complicated relationship with his family was a great touch to the movie, and the reveal of an Avenger was obviously a big moment; fans were both pleasantly surprised from both reveals.
Doctor Strange – Strange Plays Piano, Strange Pushed into Mirror Dimension
After the massive Phase 3 reveal, one of the highlights of Marvel's next few years was its upcoming release of 2016's Doctor Strange. With Benedict Cumberbatch set to take on the leading role, fans were going crazy even before the first trailers were released to the public. With so much story to tell, the trailers had a difficult task ahead of them; two shots from the second of these trailers were especially good at hiding what was coming.
The first shot is about a second long and shows Stephen Strange playing the piano. While Strange did have a piano in his expansive NYC high-rise, he was never shown in the movie playing it. This was most likely used simply as a promotional shot to show just how important Strange's hands were, especially as a surgeon. It also put more importance on Strange before his life-altering car crash (Side note: don't text and drive, unless you want to crush your hands and turn into a wizard.)
The next shot gives an image of the Ancient One forcing Strange into what is revealed to be the Mirror Dimension. When this scene came up in the movie, Strange was already well on his way to mastering his sorcery skills instead of only visiting Kamar Taj for the first time. While he was put through a crazy ride in his first visit, Strange learned about the Mirror Dimension after a solid few weeks, possibly months, after starting his training.
While these two scenes didn't hide major reveals in the plot of Doctor Strange, they did a good job of both hyping the lead character's story and teasing what would eventually happen on his magical journey. We can only guess as to what craziness will be teased in the trailers for the 2022 sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Vulture Swoops In, Spider-Man and Tony Promo Shot
Even though Spider-Man made his MCU debut in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, his appearance in the massive crossover film helped build the hype to a whole new level of crazy leading up to his first solo film. Tom Holland's portrayal of the web-slinger, along with the promise of a new dynamic duo forming between Peter Parker and Tony Stark, made Spider-Man: Homecoming one of the most anticipated films of the entire franchise after it was officially announced. This was built up even more by the first teaser trailer, although it did include two notable shots that were purely for promotional purposes.
The first shot of Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes/The Vulture shows his character swooping down through a hotel atrium, which seems to be there just to show his prowess and mastery of the wing-suit tech.
Later on in the final shot of the trailer, Spider-Man and Tony Stark are shown flying and swinging through Queens, NY together side-by-side. Both of these shots were later revealed to be meant only for the trailer according to the film's director Jon Watts, who explained that they were only made as sizzle reel content either to debut at Comic-Con or to hype up the movie's fans.
While there were a number of other Vulture shots in the final cut of the film similar to the one in the trailer, Tony and Peter never end up joining forces in battle during the film. With Iron Man only filling about ten minutes of screen time, about half of that screen time as only Tony Stark, the young Spider-Man spent his first solo movie finding his way in the world as an up-and-coming new hero. These two shots did their job in getting fans pumped up for the first-ever Spider-Man movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Thor: Ragnarok – Glamour Shot of Loki, Team-up on the Bridge
The solo franchise for the God of Thunder had a bigger boost of energy in its third film than any in MCU history before it with the arrival of Thor: Ragnarok. Taika Waititi reinvented Thor in an adventure traveling through the vast reaches of space, which was shown right away in the first few trailers. Even as revolutionary as this film was, however, it couldn't break away from the classic "promo shot only for trailers" trend that had come in so many precious movies, highlighted by these two shots.
The first shot gives a full body look at Tom Hiddleston's Loki flipping a couple of his classic knives on a bridge, likely in Asgard. The movie never had any sort of battle take place in that location, which appears similar to the one where Heimdall was guiding the Asgardians both to and from a secret cave to hide out from Hela.
The second image gives a look at the four main heroes in a team-up shot on the Rainbow Bridge, likely during the final battle of the movie. While the four did team up to fight all together, they were mostly doing their own thing as they took on Hela, Fenris Wolf, and the army of the undead. This image also helped hide the other huge spoiler of Thor becoming visually impaired, so to speak, as his eye removal via half-sister is kept under wraps.
Thor: Ragnarok had more massive spoilers than most MCU films, including the destruction of Asgard and the reinvention of Thor, and these two shots did a fantastic job of hiding the game-changing events that this movie delivered on.
Avengers: Infinity War - Thor Firing Lighting (Hiding Stormbreaker), Steve with T'Challa, Team-up Shot in Wakanda Including Hulk
The teaser trailers for Avengers: Infinity War were faced with one of the biggest challenges in movie history: to hype up Marvel Studios' most massive movie to date and not give away too much of the plot. With nearly the entire plot of the movie worthy of being labeled a spoiler showing Thanos' quest to obtain all six Infinity Stones, Kevin Feige and his team had quite the task picking the best trailer footage from the film's 2-hour-32 minute runtime. It seemed only fitting that all of the previews had footage that didn't make the final cut in the movie, including three big ones in this list.
In the second full trailer, there is a shot of Thor appearing to shoot lightning from his hand where there would seem to be some kind of weapon. The location turned out in the movie to be Nivadillir, which could only mean that this shot would have come after Thor, Groot, and Rocket managed to forge Stormbreaker. The trailers obviously couldn't give the reveal of Stormbreaker's existence and lessen the impact of Thor's arrival in Wakanda, which most fans regard as one of the biggest moments in MCU history.
The movie's Super Bowl trailer, while only 30 seconds long, had a couple of different moments that didn't end up in the film. The most notable one showed Steve Rogers testing out his new Wakanda-tech arm shields, uttering "Let's go" while standing next to King T'Challa. While serving as an awesome hype moment, this scene was different in the movie - Steve didn't shield up until right before the battle of Wakanda began.
The final shot detailed here may be one of the most notable secret-keeping shots in MCU history. Right before the title card appears for in the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, a massive team-up shot in Wakanda featuring War Machine, Bucky, Black Widow, Captain America, Falcon, Okoye, and Black Panther is shown to build more hype than almost any shot in any MCU trailer. This is vastly different in the film, mostly considering that the Hulk never made an appearance with Bruce Banner suiting up in the Hulkbuster armor, and it would have given away far too much detail during the initial promotional phase.
The trailers for Avengers: Infinity War made history by becoming some of the most viewed trailers of all time, and they did their job effectively by getting fans excited for a movie that could have released with no trailers at all. These few trailer-only shots were used so effectively to hide the movie's plot and keep the surprises as big as ever during the world premieres.
Avengers: Endgame: Fit Thor Firing Up Stormbreaker, Nat at Target Practice
Just as they did for the trailers for Avengers: Infinity War, the team at Marvel Studios was faced with the nearly impossible task of hiding the major spoilers set to arrive in Avengers: Endgame. It's fair to say that scenes like the deaths of two heroes and the villain, anything associated with time travel, the five-year time jump, or anything with Mjolnir were completely out of the question, so the trailers were bound to have a few shots that didn't make the final three-hour cut of the film. Two of these shots from the second full trailer did a particularly great job in this regard.
The first of these shots gave a look at short-haired and fit Thor wielding Stormbreaker and surrounded by lightning, seemingly preparing himself for a battle ahead of him. This is clearly a different shot, as is known by anybody who watched the movie, since Thor only looked like this for the first 20 minutes of the film while he sulked in depression and chopped off Thanos' head. Bro Thor was one of the biggest shocks of the film's plot as fans got a look into how bad his depression became, and seeing him in the trailers with a beer belly and longer hair than ever would have been a dead giveaway to his storyline in this movie.
The next shot, while it didn't end up in the movie, gives a deeper insight into Natasha Romanoff's training regimen after seeing the world fall into despair. We see her at target practice looking more intense and focused than she ever had before, with her hair braided and still blonde as she fires off bullets with no remorse. This appears to be from the early portion of the film, likely before the Avengers traveled to kill Thanos, but the final cut doesn't have any footage of Natasha in action.
The trailers for Avengers: Endgame were absolutely brilliant with their use of non-spoilery footage, and I have no doubts that more scenes like these were filmed to make sure nobody knew what would happen before the film released.
Going forward, it will be exciting to find out which scenes from the Black Widow trailer end up in the final cut of the film, and I count myself among the millions of fans that can't wait for more MCU trailers to debut as the franchise makes its return for Phase 4.