Under the steady hand of Kevin Feige, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a theatrical juggernaut and one of the most-valuable media franchises in the world. But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when these action movies were far from bonafide hits, and the cinematic landscape looked very different.
It may be hard to imagine, but back in the early Aughts, there was no cohesive vision for what Marvel’s movies should look like, with Sony, Universal, and Fox all having a hand in the mix. Sure we’d had Blade, Spider-Man, and X-Men, but they all existed in their own separate worlds, and the idea of them crossing over at any point seemed impossible if not downright ludicrous.
So it’s fascinating to look back on that period now, with the benefit of hindsight, and see what the initial Marvel plan was. We can do that thanks to a recently surfaced photo that has been unearthed by Twitter user @AjepArts, who shared a picture of Marvel’s 2004-2006 slate.
Here’s Marvel’s original 2004-2006 slate:
HOLY SHIT! In my journeys, I discovered MARVELs film slate in 2004… pic.twitter.com/Zh6OvyRY3C
— AJ 🦇🐺 (@AjepArts) March 15, 2022
The plan was to release Spider-Man 2, The Punisher, Blade Trinity, and Man-Thing in 2004. Of those, only Man-Thing fell by the wayside, presumably because having a superhero whose name could be used as a synonym for a penis isn’t a good idea.
Then in 2005, they planned on releasing Elektra, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man. Of those, only Elektra and Fantastic Four ended up getting made, with old shell head having to wait another three years until he got his own standalone film and launched the MCU.
Then in 2006, things got wild. Marvel planned on releasing X-Men 3, Namor, and Ghost Rider. X-Men 3 would be the only movie to make that date. Ghost Rider wouldn’t get a release until 2007, while Namor still hasn’t got a movie – although he may make a cameo in Black Panther 2.
Perhaps the most intriguing films, though, are the ones that don’t have a release date. Silver Surfer, Fury (presumably Nick Fury), Deathlok, and Captain America are all listed. We can also vaguely make out what looks like it may be a Daredevil 2 logo, but we can’t be certain. Of those undated films, only Captain America would get made, and not until 2011.
Who knows then, perhaps in some branch of the multiverse, we’re waiting with bated breath for the Deathlok and Man-Thing team-up movie? Or, in fact, maybe not…