8 Early Drafts That Almost Ruined Great Movies

Jesus the Engineer?

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20th Century Fox

Making a film isn't just the case of hiring a couple of dashing actors, pointing the camera in their general direction and shouting action. If it was, Michael Bay would be unable to leave the house in the morning for all the Oscars and other assorted awards blocking his way.

It's exactly like what your teacher tried to drill into you at school; plan before you start. And this isn't just an essay on the usage of animal imagery in Of Mice And Men; the process of developing a movie is massive, and a substantial planning stage is essential for making the right decisions about story, character and tone. If a movie's flawed, you can normally trace the crucial issues back to a shoddy development stage (it's no coincidence that The Hobbit had limited pre-production under Peter Jackson after Guillermo Del Toro left).

Planning also allows the filmmakers the opportunity to get rid of the less-than-genius ideas that pop-up along the way. And make no mistake: a finished movie may be a masterpiece, but you can bet at least one of the earlier story treatments or drafts was utter cack, missing what made the finished film so great and making you question if anybody really knew what they were doing.

Here's eight movies where vastly different early drafts could have spelled disaster for future greats.

8. The Avengers Was Almost An Adaptation Of Issue #1

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The real genius of The Avengers wasn't just the bringing together of four disparate superhero franchises into one nerdgasm team-up, but of making the film about the real-world question of whether doing that would work. And that was all thanks of Joss Whedon.

When he came on board the project, the original plan was for the film to be a sort-of adaptation of The Avengers #1, where Loki used a rampaging Hulk to wreak havoc and inadvertently brought the heroes together. Sure, it wouldn't have been so simplistic and it's unlikely Hulk would have found his way to the circus, but the basic idea was that the Green Goliath was the inciting incident that brought the team together.

This was actually set up in the proto-MCU; The Incredible Hulk ended with Bruce Banner's green meanie on the run and Tony Stark informing General Ross they were "putting a team together" (later retconned to be a ruse by S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep Abomination locked up) and all the other heroes have a direct run-in with Nick Fury, Agent Coulson or S.H.I.E.L.D. The change-up also explains the faceless nature of the Chitauri; they were late additions.

It's easy to see why it wouldn't have worked; aside from removing the mirroring element, the idea feels smaller and weakens the eventual team-up.

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Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.