Marvel’s Pre-MCU Movie Slate Resurfaces, Has 6 Movies That Never Happened

Marvel Entertainment’s 2004 film slate recently resurfaced online, giving fans an insight into canceled projects and a very different MCU.

Marvel’s 2004 film slate has recently resurfaced online, bringing up reminders of several canceled projects and an altogether different-looking Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU, overseen by producer Kevin Feige, is undoubtedly the most successful achievement in blockbuster filmmaking in the last decade. New installments consistently break box office records and receive warm responses from critics and fans. Starting with Iron Man in 2008, the continuity has spanned across 27 movies taking audiences through the assembly of the Avengers and the epic Infinity Saga, with the current Phase 4 setting its sights on the multiverse.


However, before Marvel Studios refined its process to build the Marvel Cinematic Universe, almost an entire decade of films produced by other studios in association with Marvel Entertainment brought its comic characters to life. Indeed, the current comic book movie boom that has seen cinemas dominated with superheroes is primarily attributed to the tightly knit releases of the original Blade, X-Men, spirit Spider-Man movies around the turn of the century. All three of these films were commercially successful but, more importantly, critically praised in a manner that showed comic book films were capable of being weighty dramas with something to say in the modern landscape of cinema.

Related: Spider-Man 2002 Audience Reactions Show How Much Has Changed

Artist @AjepArts recently uncovered several promotional photos from an event in 2004 that detailed Marvel’s upcoming slate of films based on their characters. On this list are movies that fans inevitably saw, such as The Punisher, Spider-Man 2, Blade Trinity, Elektra, Fantastic Four, X-Men: The Last Stand (titled here X-Men 3), Ghost Rider, spirit Spider-Man 3. What’s more interesting is the six unmade films that still haven’t seen the light of day; Man-Thing, Namor, Silver Surfer, Fury, Daredevil 2, spirit Deathlok. It is also worth noting that there are Iron Man spirit Captain America films listed here, both of which were successful properties under Marvel Studios. There is also an unknown project on the board that a Spider-Man model blocks.

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The slate is a fascinating look into projects in an early stage of development at the time and paints a very different landscape of Marvel characters on film. In some cases, like with DeathlokMarvel canceled the character’s solo movie to add him into the ABC show Agents of SHIELD. Man-Thing never materialized, but the character did make a very brief appearance in Thor: Ragnorok. Namor spirit Silver Surfer never got solo films, but the characters have been rumored to appear in various MCU properties for years and will most likely make their eventual debuts. Nick Fury also never headlined his own film, but the Disney + series Secret Invasion looks to be giving him the center stage, and Daredevil 2 was scrapped in favor of the Netflix TV show starring Charlie Cox, who recently appeared in the MCU proper in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Perhaps most interesting about this slate, as the artist mentions in their thread, is that the films represented are from a collection of different studios comprised of Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and Paramount Pictures. While it is all under the Marvel banner, it’s surprising to see a high level of cooperation between huge studios that feels incredibly unlikely under the current climate where even Sony and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man deal has been somewhat tumultuous. It’s also possible that, given the dominance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in pop culture, it’s only a matter of time before the canceled projects on this slate become a reality once more.

Next: All 12 Marvel Movies Releasing After Spider-Man: No Way Home (& When)


  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • The Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023


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