At a special screening and Q&A session of Marvel's The Avengers, writer/director Joss Whedon spoke at length about the movie including which characters didn't make the final cut and what we can expect for the 2015 sequel.
"There was a little bit of time where we thought we might not actually get Scarlett [Johansson]," The Cabin in the Woods writer explains. "There was a very Waspy draft that I wrote. But it was way too Waspy. I was like, 'She's adorable! I'm just going to watch her!'"
As well as going into detail about a longer introduction for Iron Man that was cut, he also claims that Janet Van Dyne wasn't the only character who didn't make the final draft - a villain would have teamed with Loki - but he's being very secretive about it...
"I'm not going to tell you because that person might crop up another time. But I definitely felt like, 'I've got Earth's mightiest heroes. I've got four of the biggest, baddest, toughest guys out there and I've got one effete British character actor.' They believed very strongly that they didn't want to add any more mythology, I think was the thing."
Although staying quiet about the potential second villain (apart from dropping that they were "someone The Avengers could hit") he was quite open about some of his plans for the sequel and a possible line-up change.
"I used to read The Avengers and part of the ethos of the team was that it changed their lineup every month," he continues. "Their 150th issue was just a bunch of faces. 'Who will be in the team now?!' We had the first issue as a poster in the offices. Now that I'm working on the sequel I said, 'Let's get the second issue up there! Let's change it up a little bit!' The second issue is 'Introducing… Giant-Man! And this character! They were already changing it up after one issue. That's what they always do."
We probably shouldn't read too much into this statement for The Avengers 2, but with Marvel's Phase Two introducing Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, we could likely see a roster shake up for Earth's Mightiest Heroes' second cinematic outing.
Marvel's The Avengers 2 is set for release on May 1st 2015 and the TV spin-off Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D is rumoured to begin on ABC in the fall of 2013.