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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a place with plenty of surprises, and actor Paul Bettany certainly understands that firsthand. Because after voicing JARVIS for years in the MCU, Bettany was able to make his live-action debut when Vision came to life in Avengers: Age of Ultron. And it turns out that director Joss Whedon originally wanted the actor's signature Avenger to be anatomically correct during his introduction, complete with a penis.
Joss Whedon directed the first two Avengers movies, with the filmmaker's tenure in the MCU coming to an end with Age of Ultron. That blockbuster introduced a slew of new characters, including Wanda and Vision. Paul Bettany's hero appears more than halfway through the movie's runtime, making a dramatic entrance with his red and green skin on full display. Bettany recently shared the story of Whedon originally insisting that Vision's genitals were visible. As the actor put it,
I know Joss Whedon really, really wanted the rendition of him, when Vision first is born before he was clothed he was like 'He’s gotta have a penis.' And everyone I mean was like 'I don’t know, Joss. I mean, I’m not sure.' 'HE HAS TO HAVE A PENIS. I want to see some drawings of penises.' So they actually, somewhere is the rendition of Vision’s birth with these penises. And they put them all up on the wall and Joss went 'Yeah I’m 100% wrong. I don’t need to see any of these.'
Talk about some bizarre FOMO. Vision's entrance into the MCU in Avengers: Age of Ultron instantly found him as a member of the group, but it turns out that we could have gotten a far more NSFW version of this scene. At least if Joss Whedon's original vision was seen through. Luckily the filmmaker eventually came to his senses.
Paul Bettany's funny story about Avengers: Age of Ultron comes from his recent appearance on the podcast Lights, Camera, Pod. While promoting his leading role in Disney+'s new series WandaVision, the conversation eventually turned to his first live-action appearance in the MCU. It's an unbelievable behind-the-scenes scoop, and shows how much changes along the way when major blockbusters are in production.
Marvel fans can re-watch all of Paul Bettany's appearances in the MCU on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
Vision coming to life complete with an anatomically correct penis definitely would have been a bold adult departure for an MCU movie. What's more, it likely would have resulted in plenty of comparisons to Watchmen, and Doctor Manhattan's glowing blue private parts. In the end Joss Whedon changed his mind, and Vision's big entrance in Age of Ultron came sans penis. You can watch Bettany tell the story in the video below.
Vision's life seemingly ended in Avengers: Infinity War, when Thanos ripped the Mind Stone from his head in the Battle of Wakanda. And while he was absent from Avengers: Endgame, Paul Bettany's time in the shared universe hasn't ended just yet. In fact, he is currently starring opposite Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision on Disney+. We'll just have to wait and see exactly what the heck is happening with the hero in that mysterious series.
In total Paul Bettany appeared in a whopping six Marvel movies thus far, either voicing JARVIS or playing Vision. He's truly been there since the beginning with Iron Man, and has a special place in fans' hearts for that reason. But it's unclear if WandaVision will be the actor's final appearance, or if we'll be able to see Vision again sometime in the future. Only time will tell.