Guardians of the Galaxy is a film full of pleasant cinematic surprises, but few were more surprising or more pleasant than the first appearance of fan-favorite character Howard the Duck in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Howard appeared first as a background character, then got a speaking role in that film's post-credits scene, then made his way out into the universe for another appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Since it's now very clear that he's out there roaming the cosmos at will, fans have been wondering when we might see him again in an even bigger role, and apparently with Avengers: Infinity War, we almost got the chance.
Speaking with Fandom last week in an interview to promote the Infinity War Blu-ray release, directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed that early drafts of the film's script included a scene in which Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) actually interacted with Howard during a visit to some strange planet. The scene apparently would have also featured Community alum Ken Jeong in some kind of cameo role.
“Yeah, it was [Peter] Quill trying to track down some information from Howard the Duck on some outlier planet and interrupting him during a poker game," Joe Russo said.
Marvel movies are always rather complex beasts, but Infinity War brought a particularly daunting set of challenges to the table when it came to making room for characters. There were a number of heroes and villains who simply had to be in the movie no matter what, and that meant certain little winks and nods to other corners of the universe, like Howard, ultimately didn't make the cut.
“So there were lots of ideas and iterations that were on the floor for this one but I think we would end up in the correct place," Anthony Russo said. "It’s all a process. Sometimes you are actually just writing a bible to the universe of what that movie is and have to pare it down to what the actual narrative is.”
The good news here for Howard fans, though, is that our favorite duck trapped in a world he never made was held in high enough esteem with the Russo brothers (and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) that he almost got his own small scene in a film this big, with this many moving parts. Sure, he did ultimately get cut, but perhaps this is a sign of things to come for the character. Perhaps Howard will be roaming the weirder corners of the MCU once again in the very near future.
Avengers: Infinity War is available digitally now, and arrives on Blu-ray Tuesday.