14 Marvel Movies And Shows That Were Canceled And Why

Ora Sawyers

Table of Contents

A version of Black Widow was almost released before Iron Man!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is so expansive that it almost feels like the studio will greenlight anything. Add in the non-MCU Marvel movies and Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, and it’s hard to believe the production studios pass on anything.

However, a lot of amazing-sounding projects get canceled before they can make it to our screens.

Here are 14 Marvel movies and TV shows that we almost got:

1.

In 2010, Marvel announced that the Tobey Maguire–led Spider-Man trilogy would be getting a Spider-Man 4.


Sony Pictures / ©Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

However, right before production was set to begin, the crew received an email saying that they were pushing back shooting because “[director] Sam Raimi has story issues [that] need to be resolved before we are ready.”


Michael Kovac / Via Getty

After cycling through several screenwriters, Raimi was waiting on a new draft of the script from Alvin Sargent, who wrote Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.

They also initially wanted Anne Hathaway to join the cast, but her rate was allegedly too high for the studio to afford.

Eventually, Raimi decided that he couldn’t both meet the studio’s deadline for a summer release and maintain creative integrity, so he pulled out of the franchise.


Columbia Pictures / ©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Rather than replace Raimi with a new director, the studio decided to cancel Spider-Man 4 and move forward with a reboot (The Amazing Spider-Man).


Sony Pictures / ©Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Maguire told Deadline, “I am so proud of what we accomplished with the Spider-Man franchise over the last decade. Beyond the films themselves, I have formed some deep and lasting friendships. I am excited to see the next chapter unfold in this incredible story.”

2.

In 2014, Andrew Garfield and Sony’s then-CEO Kaz Hirai were set to announce The Amazing Spider-Man 3‘s 2016 release at a Sony gala in Rio de Janeiro.

However, Garfield got to Brazil late and wasn’t feeling very well, so he unfortunately had to back out only a few hours before the event.


Kristin Callahan/Sony/Everett Collection

The big presentation had to be changed pretty significantly, and — as the 2014 Sony email leak later revealed — the Sony execs were so upset that they fired Garfield and canned the project.


Kristin Callahan/Sony/Everett Collection

Then, Sony decided to negotiate with Marvel to get Spider-Man into the MCU.

3.

After the finale of the animated series What If…? on Disney+, director Bryan Andrews revealed that Marvel planned to make a spinoff starring the Star-Lord version of T’Challa.


Marvel Studios / Via Disney+

Sadly, Chadwick Boseman, who voiced his Black Panther character in the series, died a few months after recording his final lines.


Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney

“T’Challa was so important to him — and also this new version of Star-Lord T’Challa was so important to him. He dug it,” Andrews told Variety.

Andrews isn’t sure if Boseman knew about the plans for a spinoff, but he knows “he would have loved it, too.”


Marvel Studios / Via Disney+

4.

In 2004, Lionsgate reportedly made a deal with Marvel to make a Black Widow movie, and X-Men screenwriter David Hayter was set to write and direct it.


Disney XD via Getty Images

Hayter was so invested in the script that, while writing it, he named his newborn daughter Natasha.

Describing his screenplay in Peter Hanson’s Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories, Hayter said, “She’s a freelance mercenary, and she’s called back to where she was brought up to face her past.  What I tried to do was use the backdrop of the splintered Soviet Empire…”

However, in 2006, Lionsgate pulled out of the project, citing the box office failure of female-led action movies like Aeon Flux and Ultraviolet.


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Hayter told IGN, “Marvel and I then spoke to a few other financing entities, but I never felt comfortable that we had found a place that was willing to take the movie, and the character, seriously.”

Six years later, Natasha Romanoff made her MCU debut in Iron Man 2, but Hayter’s version of her solo film never saw the light of day.


Marvel Studios / Via giphy.com

Marvel released Black Widow, directed by Cate Shortland and written by Eric Pearson, in 2021.

5.

That’s not the only time Marvel decided to replace a writer who’d spent years on a screenplay. In 2003, screenwriter and director Edgar Wright cowrote an Ant-Man treatment.


Joseph Okpako / WireImage / Via Getty

For over a decade of production delays, he continuously delivered rewrite after rewrite.


Frazer Harrison / WireImage / Via Getty

Then, in 2014, Marvel Studios commissioned a brand-new draft of the script from a different writer without Wright’s input.

Two months before production began, he formally resigned from the project. Ant-Man, directed by Peyton Reed, was released in 2015.


Zade Rosenthal/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Wright told Variety, “I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie. … Suddenly becoming a director-for-hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there, really.”

6.

In 2015, Marvel announced Damage Control, an ABC sitcom about the team in charge of cleaning up the destruction the heroes leave behind.


Marvel Studios / Via youtube.com

The show was developed by Ben Karlin, who executive produced The Daily Show.

The Department of Damage Control — “a joint venture between Stark Industries and the federal government” — was introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

However, in 2019, Marvel Television was folded into the larger Marvel Studios group, and development on the show was canceled.

7.

In 2014, Channing Tatum was set to star in a standalone X-Men spinoff, Gambit.


Randy Holmes / ABC via Getty Images

He also wanted to codirect the movie with Reid Carolin, his producing partner, but the studio “wanted anybody but [them], essentially, because [they] had never directed anything.”


Jb Lacroix / WireImage / Via Getty

After Disney and Fox merged in 2019, the project was canceled — leaving Tatum feeling so “traumatized” that he stopped watching Marvel movies altogether.


National Geographic Channel / Via giphy.com

He told Variety, “I loved that character. It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him.”

8.

Initially, Marvel planned to follow up 2008’s The Incredible Hulk with a sequel starring Edward Norton.


Universal / ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

The first movie’s ending was purposely ambiguous because the studio didn’t know if the second would come out before The Avengers or after.

In the sequel, Bruce Banner would’ve learned to live with his transformation and become a “conscious dreamer” who remained lucid as the Hulk.

However, during the first movie’s editing stage, Norton and the studio butted heads, and most of Bruce Banner’s character development ended up on the cutting room floor.


Universal / ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

In 2010, Marvel and Norton officially parted ways, and he was replaced by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers.


Walt Disney Co. / ©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

Additionally, when Disney purchased Marvel Studios in 2009, another Hulk solo film became an impossibility because Universal owns the distribution rights.

9.

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn pitched a spinoff movie starring Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff as Drax and Mantis.


Walt Disney Co. / ©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

Bautista told Digital Spy, “He laid it out to me. I thought it was such a brilliant idea, but I haven’t heard any follow-up from the studio.”


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

He continued, “I don’t think they’re very interested, or it doesn’t fit into the way they have things mapped out. But other than that, no. I mean, as far as my obligations, I’ve got Guardians 3, and that’s probably going to be the end of Drax.”

He also said that, if Disney+ offered him a Drax series, he wouldn’t do it because it would be a “makeup nightmare.”


Walt Disney Co. / ©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

10.

In 2011, Marvel Television announced its plan to create a Mockingbird series, which would follow Bobbi Morse’s Hannah Montana–style double life as a nerdy college student by day and S.H.I.E.L.D. superspy by night.


Kelsey Mcneal / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

It was described as “Alias meets Felicity.

The series remained in development until an older version of Bobbi Morse, played by Adrianne Palicki, was introduced in the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Kelsey Mcneal / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Then, Marvel filmed a pilot for an AOS spinoff called Most Wanted, which centered on Bobbi Morse and her fellow agent/ex-husband Lance Hunter (played by Nick Blood).


John Fleenor / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

However, in 2015, ABC elected not to pick up the new series, and the characters remained part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Kelsey Mcneal / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

11.

In 2016, Marvel and ABC Studios announced their plans to develop New Warriors, a comedy series about a “junior version of the Avengers” featuring Squirrel Girl.


Marvel Entertainment / Disney XD via Getty Images

Freeform ordered the show straight to series, and Milana Vayntrub (who you might recognize from the AT&T commercials) was cast as Squirrel Girl.


Jeff Neira / Marvel via Getty Images

Other cast members included Derek Theler, Calum Worthy, Kate Comer, Matthew Moy, and Jeremy Tardy.

In 2017, though, Freeform canceled the series, and the pilot was unsuccessfully shopped around to other platforms.

In 2021, showrunner Kevin Biegel alleged that “a singular power that be killed the show…because it was too gay.”


Rodrigo Vaz / FilmMagic / Via Getty

A spokesperson for Marvel refuted Biegel’s claims and told PinkNews that Marvel was “fully supportive of the show.”

They continued, “After the originally planned network decided not to move forward, other distributors passed, and the show did not move forward.”

12.

Similarly, after Gabriel Luna joined Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider in 2016, Marvel planned a Ghost Rider spinoff.


Jennifer Clasen / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Hulu picked up the series in May 2019 and planned to release it in 2020.


Jennifer Clasen / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

However, when the streaming platform and the show’s team reached a “creative impasse,” the series was canceled altogether in September 2019.


Eric Mccandless / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

In 2021, Luna expressed his willingness to return to the MCU as Ghost Rider whenever they’re ready for him.


Morgan Lieberman / FilmMagic / Via Getty

13.

In 2011, while they were working on X-Men: First Class, then-screenwriting partners Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller were also secretly working on a major crossover film for Fox.


Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images / Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

The movie included all of the Marvel properties Fox owned at the time, including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and Daredevil.


Murray Close/TM and Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. / 20th Century Fox Film Corp. /Mark Rogers/TM and ©Copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Zade Rosenthal / TM & Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Via Everett Collection

Fox wanted Paul Greengrass to direct the ambitious film, but he had scheduling issues with another project at the time.


Tim P. Whitby / Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images for Disney

Unfortunately, the crossover movie ultimately didn’t end up working out for Fox.

14.

And finally, in 2017, FX announced an adult animated Deadpool series headed by Donald Glover and his brother, Stephen.


Disney Xd / Disney XD via Getty Images

However, in 2018, the series was canceled over “creative differences” between the Glover brothers and the network.

Afterward, Donald Glover shared a spoof version of his script, in which Deadpool mocked Marvel and the show’s cancellation.


Gregg Deguire / FilmMagic / Via Getty

On Twitter, Stephen Glover shared his own theory for why the series was canceled. He said, “There really was a Taylor Swift episode…It was HILARIOUS. And it definitely was the last straw lol.”


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

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