Alternate Opening/Closing: The Avengers That Could Have Been

Maria Hill - Alternate Opening - The Avengers

Avengers Blu-ray - AustraliaYahoo! has released the alternate opening scene from the blockbuster The Avengers, featuring Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) being interrogated by the World Security Council. The scene, written and directed by Joss Whedon, is one of those ‘answers first, questions later’ sequences, designed to set up a worst-case scenario for the team. It appears on The Avengers Blu-ray, currently available in Australia and to be released in the US on 26 September.

Of course, if you are one of the many people who contributed to the $1.5 billion box-office haul, then you will know that this scene seems somewhat incongruous with the events of the film, in which (pardon the obvious spoilers) the titular team actually saves Manhattan from otherwise certain destruction. This is because the scene is actually one-half of a set of bookends. The other also appears on the Blu-ray, and is described after the video. It would have led to a very different vibe to the highest-grossing film of the year, and given us more hints at future storylines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the second half of this video, originally to screen at the end of the film, Hill goes on to finish her thoughts. “It was absolutely a bad idea. The wrong people at the wrong time – and it worked”. The remainder of the end sequence plays out as a voice-over with the existing ‘going their separate ways footage’. Hill’s final lines would have been classics including “The Avengers were the mistake that saved the world”. She also give the Security Council a few threatening words, and has a knowing exchange with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) that is an indicator of their future relationship.

It’s no secret that Joss Whedon likes writing for strong female characters, and Hill’s comic counterpart is certainly one of the strongest. Not only does she establish new policies on the superheroes, stopping S.H.I.E.L.D support for them. She is also a supporter of the Superhuman Registration Act, and one of the antagonists that ultimately led to the Marvel Civil War.

These scene would have started off the film on a much darker note than the ultimately fun high-adventure ended up being, and it was the correct choice we feel. However, there is no reason that these story pieces can’t make their way into future elements of the universe, opening up a world of possibilities for the films.

  • See to my mind it just underlined plot points already established in the theatrical release – the mistakes line dovetails nicely with the Councils insistence that the Avengers are freaks, or Banner’s ‘time bomb’ outburst. What was interesting though was the reveal that Hill’s character arc was significantly curtailed by the cut scenes. The deleted scenes hint at how she will, as in the comics, usurp Fury, but to cinemagoers Smulders must have seemed little more than a lackey.