“We were rooting for the overdog”: Kevin Feige Could Not Allow Joss Whedon to Bring a Prominent Iron Man Villain in The Avengers

Joss Whedon had a different plan for the villain in ‘The Avengers’, but Kevin Feige didn’t budge.

kevin feige, avengers

The Avengers is effortlessly one of the biggest fan favorites and best pieces of work created during the reign of Kevin Feige by Marvel Studios. Yet, as much of an utter piece of masterwork as it was with its set of heroes and the most perfect villain, not everything and everyone that filmmaker Joss Whedon had initially decided was included in it.

Chris Hemsworth and his Marvel co-stars in a still from The Avengers | Marvel Studios

For instance, when it comes to the villain in the movie, Whedon originally had different plans. Instead of including just Tom Hiddleston’s Loki as the film’s iconic villain as he ended up being, he wanted to bring in another prominent antagonist, though this one would have been from Iron Man’s arc in the comics. However, Feige refused, and that was that.

Joss Whedon Originally Wanted an Iron Man Villain in The Avengers

Back in the late 2000s, when The Avengers was still in its initial phases of development, there were a lot of ideas, decisions, and pre-decided alternatives, especially from Joss Whedon. This was because this movie was going to become the first live-action movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, featuring a league of superheroes who had to fight one common villain.

Joss Whedon. | Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.

According to what Whedon, who helmed the 2012 masterpiece, shared in the Thrillist feature The Battle of New York: An ‘Avengers’ Oral History: We went through a lot of insane iterations of what might be. At the very beginning, I wrote entire drafts that had no bearing on what I would eventually film.

Needless to say, there were indeed a lot of ideas, one of which even would have led to The Wasp’s debut in the MCU way before Black Widow’s.

But that wasn’t the only plan that never made it to the screens, for Whedon intended to include one villain from Iron Man’s arc in the comics in the film as well: Ezekiel Stane, son of Obadiah Stane.

Ezekiel Stane in the comics. | Credit: Marvel Comics.

As the filmmaker himself admitted during the feature: I also worried that one British character actor was not enough to take on Earth’s mightiest heroes, and that we’d feel like we were rooting for the overdog. So I wrote a huge draft with Ezekiel Stane, Obadiah Stane’s son, in it.

Ezekiel is a bio-technically powered villain in the comics, who upgraded his brain and body to the point where his mind can run more efficiently and his body can produce more energy than normal.

Of course, this villain would have been an epic inclusion had he been paired up with Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki, who ended up being the primary villain in the movie.

Tom Hiddleston's Loki in the movie. | Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

However, unfortunately for him, Feige never approved it. As Whedon recalled Feige and Marvel Studios’ co-president Louis D’Esposito‘s reaction to Ezekiel’s character arc: Kevin looked at it and said, ‘Yeah, no.’ Louis D’Esposito actually at that point said, ‘Yeah, Kevin, it’s all wrong, but look how good it is. Like this is really good wrong.’

But before fans blame Feige for excluding an arc that could have been mind-boggling, they need to know that the television producer had his own reasons for doing so.

Kevin Feige Had a Lot on His Plate to Say ‘Yes’ to Whedon’s Plan

While his original reaction is one that would have fans questioning just why Kevin Feige didn’t approve of it, in his defense, the producer pretty much just had a lot on his plate.

Kevin Feige. | Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.

As per what Feige said in the same feature: People forget that we started [making] Avengers before either Thor or Captain America were released. What if people hated Thor? What if people thought Loki was ridiculous? What if people didn’t buy this super soldier frozen in ice?

Obviously, all of these questions were as valid as ever, considering how the MCU was making “a giant movie at that time.” Thus, they simply decided to not take that tremendous of a risk.

Nonetheless, eventually, it all ended up in their favor as the movie turned out to be a blockbuster success, so there’s no use crying over spilled milk now.

You can watch The Avengers on Disney+.

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