And here we are again. The time machine has been fired up, the time circuits primed, the Stargate glyphs aligned, the What If machine plugged in, the gypsy fortune teller’s palm has been crossed with silver, the hypnotist has arrived, the peyote has been placed on a nice plate made out of bone china, and we are ready to see if we can see some alternate pasts in which the MCU existed long before most of us were born. Let’s go.

United Artists

United Artists

1960s

Just when you though the war was over, here comes the Civil War. Best buddies, Captain America (Clint Eastwood) and Iron Man (Lee Van Cleef) come to blows when Cap’s old friend, the Winter Soldier (Anthony Perkins), resurfaces claiming to have renounced his filthy Commie ways. Backed by his trusty black companion, War Machine (Sydney Poitier), and newcomer fresh from homeroom, Spider-Man (Elvis Presley), Iron Man must have his wits about him if he wants to defeat the All-American might of Captain America. Cap’s got his own black sidekick, Falcon (Woody Strode), and the whole of the g-d damned USA behind him. Hopefully that will be enough, especially with James Earl Jones as the shadowy Black Panther (the animal kind, not the Fred Hampton Jr type. It isn’t that kind of movie) who is waiting in the wings ready to make his move.

Directed by Sam Peckinpah

Allied Artists Pictures Corporation

Allied Artists Pictures Corporation

1970s

(Preview taken from White Guys Writing Descriptions of Blaxploitation magazine issue #124):

Watch out! There’s some new hip jive coming your way! Captain America (Charles Bronsan) wants to help out his brother, The Winter Soldier (John Cazale), but Iron Man (Burt Reynolds) ain’t diggin’ that, see? So Iron Man gets his homeboys, War Machine (Richard Roundtree) and Spider-Man (Bruce Lee), two bad motherfuc- *shut your mouth* Hey, I’m just talking about Spider-Man and War Machine. Anyway, these guys are up against Cap and his buddy, Falcon (Jim Kelly), a flying brother, but he ain’t no turkey. But all this is bullshit anyhow because the real star of the show is the Blank Panther (Fred Williamson), showing up ready to break his foot off in a white man’s ass for getting all into his business. Finally, a superhero we can all get behind.

Directed by Ivan Dixon

1980s

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

In a world where your friends and enemies can end up being the same people, businessman Tony Stark (Mel Gibson) must face the heart-breaking choice between his best friend and the entire world. Steve Rogers (Tom Cruise) must also face a similar choice between his best friend and his other best friend and the country he swore to protect. When Iron Man wants to capture The Winter Soldier (Johnny Depp), Cap teams up with Falcon (Eddie Murphy) to try and save the day. Iron Man isn’t without help though, gathering together a team including War Machine (Danny Glover) and new kid on the block, Spider-Man (Corey Haim). Along for the ride is African king, T’Challa aka The Black Panther, a powerful new character and a big step in black superhero representation played by Mr. T. Explosive action set-pieces, romance, guys being dudes, it’s all here!

Directed by John McTiernan

Featured Image: Paramount Pictures