It seems wild to think about it now, but when Marvel released the first Avengers movie in 2012, it was considered a risky gamble. These days, it's fairly easy for Marvel Studios to drop a massive film with tons of top-tier characters, but the studio broke new ground with The Avengers, and while the MCU has fared well in repeating that success, no other studio has come close.
While there was certainly a great deal of lead-up to making the movie happen, and fans already know a lot about it, it's impossible to know everything. There are probably things you didn't know about the first Avengers movie despite being a voracious fan.
Agent Coulson's Demise Nearly Cost The Movie Its PG-13 Rating
It used to be normal for movies to be released with an R-rating, and while this still happens from time to time, major studios typically balk at the rating. After all, an R-rating limits the audience to people over the age of 17 (or a child with parental consent). When you're talking about a family-friendly superhero movie, it makes sense that a studio would want to ensure a PG-13 rating.
Joss Whedon had a hard time delivering a movie that could score such a rating, and it all had to do with the demise of Agent Phil Coulson. He had to bite it for the heroes to have something to "avenge," but doing away with him wasn't easy. Whedon submitted his work three times before he was finally given the rating he needed. The problem arose from the fact that shoving a spear through a man's chest is an inherently vicious act.
It took removing a great deal of blood and gore before the MPAA backed down. Marvel chief Kevin Feige summed up the problem rather succinctly, saying, "Well, whenever you impale somebody from their back, and the blade comes out of their chest, there are issues." If you go back and rewatch the scene, you'll see there is almost no blood and absolutely no gore, so there was definitely a change or two made from the original version.225Cool fact?
The Director Wanted A Second Villain In The Movie
If you go back and look into the original Marvel Comics, you'll find that the Avengers came together to stop a considerable threat: Loki. They also wanted to keep the Hulk close, so he didn't go off destroying everything, but the villain at the center of their union was none other than the Asgardian God of Mischief himself. Despite this, when director Joss Whedon came onto the project, he wanted to add a second villain to join the trickster.
Whedon believed that Loki wouldn't be able to keep all of the Avengers occupied all by himself, so he wanted to throw a second villain at the crew. Ultimately, Marvel stepped in and told him that wasn't going to work, and the director backed off. He eventually came to realize Loki's true purpose in uniting the heroes, saying, "It's about how he gets in their heads - it's going to be fine. But it took me a long time to accept that because they need someone to hit!"217Cool fact?
Thanos's Inclusion At The End Of The Film Stumped The Director
The first time Thanos is seen on movie screens comes at the very end of The Avengers. The Mad Titan looks at the camera and smiles, which appears to tease what's to come in the later films. While looking back, his appearance makes a lot of sense; however, it didn't exactly come as the result of a major plan by the director, Joss Whedon.
In fact, Whedon had absolutely no plan for the character whatsoever and admitted he had no idea what to do with him in an interview with IGN:
Honestly, I kind of hung [Thanos] out to dry. I love Thanos. I love his apocalyptic vision, his love affair with death. I love his power. But, I don’t really understand it. He’s had a lot of power, and he was cool in the comics. And I’m like, "Thanos is the ultimate Marvel villain!" And then I was like, "I don’t actually know what I would do with Thanos."141Cool fact?
Jeremy Renner Had A Difficult Time Preparing For His Role
There's no doubt Jeremy Renner has taken the role of Hawkeye and made it his own, but getting the part just right took a great deal of work for the actor. One of the biggest problems Renner had to overcome is the fact that Hawkeye is ambidextrous and can fire a bow with his right or left hand... he could probably fire it from his feet if he were so inclined, but fortunately, that hasn't come up in the MCU.
Renner is left-handed, and as anyone who is left-hand-dominant will tell you, it's incredibly difficult to switch to your non-dominant hand. This is especially true when you're trying to operate a bow, which works by exerting a great deal of pressure on your arms. To prepare for the role, Renner trained with Olympic archers, who helped make him more comfortable firing the bow with his right hand.
Being trained by top-tier athletes helped him, but it also hurt him a little bit. "Real archery is not superhero Hawkeye archery. So [the training] kind of helped, but it kind of got in the way, as well. I did train to shoot arrows." While he's on set, Renner doesn't fire off actual arrows, as they are all simulated digitally. Still, he had to learn how to properly hold a bow and make it look like he knew what he was doing. Seeing as he had to swap from his dominant hand to make that happen, his performance is all the more impressive.177Cool fact?