For months Nathan Fillion was listed a cast member in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, via several sources across the Internet, along with Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone. But if you saw the film, you learned that Fillion never had an appearance. So what’s the story? It turns out director James Gunn had planned for his friend Fillion to make an appearance in the movie, but the character ultimately was nixed. So who was Fillion going to appear as in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? None other than B-level superhero Wonder Man aka Simon Williams. Williams was not going to be an actual character appearing in the show, but a background scene was going to feature Fillion as Williams in a marquee screening of films starring Williams as B-movie actor. So Gunn mocked up several movie posters for the scene, featuring Fillion’s familiar face.
According to Gunn, “I decided to put a theater playing a “Simon Williams Film Festival,” with six Simon Williams movie posters outside. Obviously, from the posters, he’s had a run of B movies. Most of them in themselves are Easter eggs of some sort or another. Unfortunately, the small section of the scene where they appeared slowed down the movie and I had to cut the Easter eggs from the film (along with storefronts named after comic book luminaries Starlin, Mantlos, Annett and others). Equally a bummer was that a lot of people took photos of these posters on the day so suddenly every fan site was reporting that Nathan was playing Wonder Man in the movie. He was even the third-billed actor on IMDB! So that’s the full story. Nathan’s only cameo in the movie ever were these posters.”
Don’t know Simon Williams? He first appeared in 1964 in Marvel’s The Avengers, Issue #9. And he died in the same issue. But, as we know from comic books, dead isn’t always really dead, so he came back later. Williams was created by Stan Lee, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby. Williams is more familiar to many as a member of West Coast Avengers and Uncanny Avengers. Despite his cut from Guardians 2, Gunn has said Williams may still be included in future films.
Gunn has released all the posters (shown above) for the might-have-been superhero now on his Facebook page. And you can tell he spent some time working on these. Don’t know what a movie called Haxan 2 would be about? Gunn says Haxan 2 is the fictional sequel to the fictional Rob Zombie remake of Haxan playing in the theater where Frank Darbo beats up the guy for butting in line in the movie Gunn’s 2010 movie Super. For the Conan the Barbarian inspired Arkon, the Jake Martin as director is Gunn’s assistant, and co-star of the movie was actually Guardians stunt coordinator Tommy Harper.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 has now surpassed the original Guardians in box office early returns–the biggest superhero movie ever that doesn’t feature Batman, Spider-man, or Iron Man. It is still in theaters.