Earlier we reported that Boardwalk Empire's Michael K. Williams is ready and willing to take on the role of Black Panther. All Marvel need do is ask. But this possible casting scenario would not mark the heralded actor's first appearance in a Marvel movie. Deep-cut fans of Williams know full well he had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it role in 2008's Edward Norton-led The Incredible Hulk.
He's credited as "Harlem bystander," which is insane when you consider this film came out at the tail-end of his run on the highly acclaimed series The Wire. Michael K. Williams was too big a name to be casually popping up as a featured extra. So how did this happen? Turns out, Williams had a major moment with the titular superhero that was nearly completely cut from the film.
While researching to interview Michael K. Williams about his role in the Jeremy Renner-fronted thriller Kill The Messenger, I was surprised to realize that he beat The Avengers star to sharing a scene with the Hulk. When I asked Williams about how he came to be in The Incredible Hulk--for "five seconds" by his estimate--he unfolded a whole sequence that got lost to studio notes. He explained:
"It was actually a scene that got cut out. It was a scene where I got caught between the Abomination and the Hulk, and I was trying to stop them from tearing up the streets of Harlem. But then when I saw the Abomination was just so irate I told the Hulk to go kick his ass.
From that scene of action, confrontation and Harlem bravado, Michael K. Williams role got cut down to this:
Upon the film's release, Williams told IGN this part was created for him by Ed Norton. And according to Williams, Norton himself directed him in this sequence. He recalls:
"I think Ed Norton was a little annoyed (that my scene got cut) because he wrote and directed it. But I think he was a little annoyed with the studio because they vetoed him. But he was fun to work with. Ed Norton put his heart and soul into that. He was very, very kind to me on set. You know I guess the powers that be--power of the pen they call it (decided to cut it out.)"
Nonetheless, the scene was shot. And Michael K. Williams is hopeful that it will someday see the light of day. "At least as outtakes," he laughs.
Of course, this was Hulk pre-Disney acquisition of Marvel. So it'd be Marvel and Universal that'd need to make that call. And depending on when this scene was cut, it's possible that the CG that brought to life The Hulk and his villainous reflection The Abomination was never completed. But all the same, we'd love to see the badass Williams giving Hulk permission to smash.