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13 Marvel Movie Facts Even Massive MCU Fans Don't Know

From the cameos that could have been to the secret meaning behind tiny details.

Think you know the Marvel Cinematic Universe inside and out? With 22 years of history now, there are way too many bits of trivia for even the biggest super-fan to have memorized them all. With that in mind, we've collected some of the most fun Marvel movie facts, from casting that could have been to some blink-and-you'll-miss-it Easter eggs. And to see how the individual films themselves stack up, we're Ranking Every Marvel Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.

There's a very strange reason why Captain America isn't eating in a post-credits scene of The Avengers.

Avengers Shawarma Scene
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

What's there to do after you save the world? Grab a bite to eat, of course. Our heroes go out for shawarma after winning the Battle of New York in The Avengers, but Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, doesn't seem to be partaking. This is because Chris Evans had grown a beard for his next movie, Snowpiercer, and couldn't shave it for the last-minute scene. To keep him looking like our fresh-faced Cap (who wouldn't grow a beard of his own until Infinity War), the actor wore a prosthetic jaw. Not only is he not eating, he's also half-covering his face with his hand.

The day after filming that scene, Robert Downey Jr. arrived before his costar to an Entertainment Weekly roundtable interview. "Where is Chris Evans?" he quipped. "Getting his face replaced?" And for more stars who transformed for their work, check out 14 Actors Who Looked Unrecognizable in Major Movies.

Agent Coulson wasn't even supposed to have a name.

Clark Gregg in Iron Man
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Clark Gregg, who began his MCU arc in the first Iron Man, was originally supposed to be in two scenes, he told Cinema Blend. In fact, Agent Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. was just an unnamed agent in the script. Director Jon Favreau liked Gregg's chemistry with Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow and thus expanded the part. Of course, Coulson would go on to be hugely important in the Marvel Universe, appearing in Iron Man 2Thor, The Avengers, and Captain Marvel, as well as leading the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Thor: Ragnarok has a much different title in Japan.

Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

In the Norse mythology that inspired the Thor comics, the term Ragnarök refers to the violent rebirth of the world, during which many gods were destroyed. As it isn't commonly known in Japanese, Marvel released the third Thor movie with a much more evocative title for that market. Thus, Thor: Ragnarok became Mighty Thor: Battle Royale, in reference to the famous Japanese novel and film about child competitors fighting to the death in an arena. (A concept not invented by The Hunger Games.) Since Thor is forced to compete for the entertainment of the Grandmaster, the altered title fits. And for more fascinating film tidbits, check out 25 Amazing "Star Wars" Facts Even Fans Don't Know.

Maria's call sign in Captain Marvel references a possible future MCU hero.

Lashana Lynch in Captain Marvel
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Carol Danvers' (Brie Larson) best friend and fellow fighter pilot Maria (Lashana Lynch) uses the call sign "photon" in Captain Marvel. This is a reference to one of the superhero identities of her daughter, Monica Rambeau, in the comics. (She also has gone by Pulsar, Spectrum, and has carried the Captain Marvel mantle herself.) While Monica was played by Akira Akbar in the '90s-set movie, Teyonah Parris will play the adult version of her in the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision. TBD on what, if any, superhero name she'll be using.

Doctor Strange was almost a horror movie.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Or certainly one more inspired by horror. Reportedly, master of the genre Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) was on board to direct a Doctor Strange film way back in 1992. That obviously never happened, but it's fun to imagine how nightmarish his take on the Marvel sorcerer would have been.

For scary flicks to watch tonight, check out The 18 Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now.

The first person to play Ant-Man onscreen appears in the first movie—and it's not Paul Rudd.

Garrett Morris in Ant-Man
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Garrett Morris played a version of Ant-Man in a 1978 Saturday Night Live sketch called "Superhero Party" with host Margot Kidder reprising her Superman role of Lois Lane. Morris told that Ant-Man director Peyton Reed, a fan of the sketch, contacted his manager and asked the actor to make a cameo. You can see him, very briefly, as the driver of a car Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) lands on while trying to get used to his shrinking suit.

The war rhinos in Black Panther were played by really big horses.

Black Panther War Rhino
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

You likely recall that the battle scene at the climax of Black Panther features many armored rhinos, ridden by members of Wakanda's Border Tribe, including Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi. But contrary to what you may have assumed, these tough-skinned warriors aren't entirely composed of CGI. According to Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Todd Sheridan Perry's comments to VFX Voice, some of the war rhinos were actually played by Clydesdale horses, like the ones from the famous holiday-themed beer commercial.

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Robert Downey Jr. snuck some tasty props onto the Avengers: Endgame set.

Robert Downey Jr in Avengers Endgame
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

A veteran of the MCU, Downey knew better than anyone else in the huge superhero team-up just how grueling filming a comic book movie can be. So he snuck some snacks onto the set that he would retrieve and eat during certain scenes, without letting anyone else know he was going to do it. Tony does, however, offer some contraband treats to the rest of the crew in one moment that made it into the movie.

The villain of Spider-Man: Far From Home almost played the hero instead.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far From Home
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Sort of. Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays the duplicitous and theatrical Quentin Beck/Mysterio, was rumored to be taking over for Tobey Maguire for 2004's Spider-Man 2, after the other actor was injured on the set of Seabiscuit. Maguire recovered in time to play Peter Parker again, so the point was moot. But Gyllenhaal has acknowledged that he was one of several actors being talked about for the emergency pinch-hit.

Peter Quill's ship is named after an '80s icon.

Guardians of the Galaxy final scene
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

No, the Milano is not a nod to the Guardians of the Galaxy hero's love of sandwich cookies. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who left Earth in the '80s, is still obsessed with its pop culture, from the music to the teen idols. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn confirmed on Twitter after the movie's 2014 release that Peter did, in fact, name his pride and joy after his childhood crush, Alyssa Milano, who was hugely beloved for her role on Who's the Boss?

The X-Men almost crossed over with Captain America.

Captain America the First Avenger
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Rumor has it that X-Men characters Wolverine and Magneto were, at one point, going to make a cameo in Captain America: The First Avenger. (Both would have been around during its World War II setting.) But as the X-Men are Marvel characters whose big screen rights belong to a different studio, the plan never came to fruition. The characters have met in other forms of media, however.

An Oscar winner scored Marvel creator Stan Lee's dream role.

Stan Lee
Shutterstock/betto rodrigues

In a pre-Thor interview with Collider back in 2009, the legendary Stan Lee said that he would have been interested in playing the role of Thor's father Odin. While the late creator infamously made cameos in almost every Marvel film, the role of the god went to Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins.

Avengers: Age of Ultron almost acknowledges the unusual sibling relationship the Maximoffs have in some comics.

Aaron Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen in Avengers: Age of Ultron
Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, were introduced into the MCU in Avengers: Age of Ultron, as played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. In some understandably controversial comics, the twins are… let's just say close in an untraditional way. And while that's certainly not the case in Ultron, Olsen did tell Entertainment Weekly that she and Taylor-Johnson "played around with" some of those "uncomfortable images" in their portrayal of the siblings.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
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