Part of what made The Avengers my favorite superhero movie of 2012, and such a Joss Whedon tour de force, was the humor threaded throughout. There were so many great quips, one-liners, and nonverbal moments that I have to watch it again just to catch the ones I missed while my midnight screening audience was cracking up. I mean, there was also the oh-he-went-there moment of a certain S.H.I.E.L.D. agent’s death, but you never leave a Whedon property unscathed.
But with the release of this deleted scene in advance of the DVD/Blu-ray release, we find out that Whedon initially had a much more somber tale in mind. Though short, the alternate opening would have set up a movie where there was a higher body count and the Avengers Initiative didn’t do what it was supposed to do. The scene also stars Cobie Smulders, who was awesome in the gag reel and should’ve gotten more screen-time. Her character, Agent Maria Hill, is being interrogated about what exactly led to New York City’s smoldering ruins, and how badly Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) screwed up.
We also catch a glimpse of Captain America (Chris Evans) looking on sadly as a policeman consoles a child. It’s weird, because we saw similar footage at the end of the movie, though with more uplifting music and juxtaposed with people around the world learning about and embracing the Avengers as their superpowered protectors. Just imagining a movie with a much less happy ending gives me the shivers… and makes me wonder if Whedon is saving some of this for The Avengers 2?