Wanna feel old? The first Captain America movie came out a decade ago. Steve Rogers’ second-ever big screen appearance — after the 1990 cheapo one that randomly starred J.D. Salinger’s son — helped resurrect one of Marvel’s oldest characters, and it paved the way for the first Avengers films the following year. It’s always been an outlier in the franchise: set in the past, with many characters not seen since. (Maybe you forgot Tommy Lee Jones was in the MCU.) We’re learning some new things about it, having some old questions answered, such as: So was Steve Rogers a virgin? But according to its screenwriters, it almost had a very different ending.
In a new interview with Yahoo!, scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely — who wrote all three Cap solo outings, plus Infinity War and Endgame — said they initially went even further in having their hero fight the Third Reich. On top of tussling with Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull, Chris Evans’ ripped hero also duked it out with a giant Nazi robot.
“A large chunk of the third act was Cap fighting this robot,” Markus revealed. The battle bot was called Panzermax, and it was controlled by Red Skull himself. Alas, budget and time constraints conspired to put the kibosh on what could have been an all-timer cinematic Nazi beat-down, up there with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Inglourious Basterds, and 1968’s Where Eagles Dare, which is three entertaining hours of Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton doing little else but shooting Hitler’s minions.
Marvel didn’t have the dough for a huge Nazi-bot? It sounds absurd now, but back in 2011 — when the MCU was but three years old — things were a little different. “Remember, these are early days for that studio,” McFeely said. “There’s six people in the whole building, they’re above a car dealership, they’re not the Marvel we think of now.”
It would have also been the second climactic robot battle of the MCU in just a few years, following the ending of Iron Man, in which baddie Jeff Bridges climbs inside a giant hunk of machinery. But imagine how much better it would have been if the bot getting whooped was also a Nazi.