MCU's First F-Bomb Could Have Happened All The Way Back in 2008

MCU's First F-Bomb Could Have Happened All The Way Back in 2008
Image credit: Marvel

The first Iron Man movie was far and away the least family-friendly installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one deleted clip would have pushed it into R-rated territory.

The scene in question happens at the beginning of the movie, when Tony is scrambling amidst the terrorist attack. As gunfire rains around him, he grabs a fallen soldier's gun and attempts to fight back. The gun doesn't fire and he shouts, "F**k!" before throwing it to the ground.

As much of the movie was improvised, it's hard to tell if the f-bomb was in the original script. A PG-13 movie is technically allowed one f-word, as long as it's an expletive rather than used sexually.

This was before the Disney acquisition, but even in 2008, Marvel was marketing their new franchise toward adults and children alike. Starting their first movie's first scene with an f-word would immediately alienate parts of the audience.

Family-Unfriendly Elements of Iron Man

While an f-bomb was deemed too far by Marvel, Iron Man was far more sexually explicit than the MCU has been since. It featured a short clip of Tony rolling around in bed with a female reporter before the pair fell off the bed. While most of the MCU does have casual flirtation and very subtle sexual references (like Quill's "Jackson Pollock" quip), it was all done subtly.

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The only notable exception was Eternals, which showed a shoulder-up shot of two characters making love.

The F Word in the MCU

The expletive has been hinted at a few times in recent MCU movies, with characters being cut off mid-word.

Both of the first two movies in the Spider-Man trilogy ended with a "What the f-" in their post-credit scene; first by May when she discovers Peter's secret, then by Peter when J. Jonah Jameson reveals that secret to the world.

Infinity War ended with Nick Fury muttering, "Motherfu-" – Samuel Jackson's catchphrase – before being dusted away.

The Rest of the Deleted Scene

Most of the deleted scene was still intact in the final release, but there was more cut off than just Tony's expletive. In the deleted scene, we saw Tony and Rhodey interact while taking fire from the Ten Rings terrorists. In the final movie, Rhodey never saw Stark until they saved him from the desert. That changed the tone pretty substantially, given that Rhodey would have feared Stark was dead without getting one final interaction.

MCU's First F-Bomb Could Have Happened All The Way Back in 2008 - image 1

It also showed Tony trying to shoot at the terrorists. This would have painted Stark in a semi-heroic light from the start, rather than slowly building up to it before building his first suit in the cave.

On all accounts, it was a good thing that the scene was left on the cutting room floor. It made the Rhodey/Stark reunion a little more heartfelt; it allowed Stark to slowly develop into a hero; and it kicked the franchise off in a family-friendly manner.