Captain America: Civil War is the highest grossing film of 2016 and is holding us over until Avengers: Infinity War arrives next year. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at the humble beginnings of The Avengers. Before the age of magical CGI and million dollar budgets, there was a time of awkwardly fitting masks and dyed wigs made of yak hair. See what The Avengers looked like then, versus now!
Before Chris Evans took up the shield in 2011, Matt Salinger played the role of Captain America in the 1990 direct-to-video film. Fun Fact: Matt Salinger is also the son of J.D. Salinger who wrote the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye.
Similar to his origins in Captain America: The First Avenger, Cap is rejected from the World War II draft because of his poor health and is selected for an experimental formula. After transforming into the super soldier, he fights the Red Skull and is accidentally frozen in Alaska when he diverts a missile from destroying Washington D.C. Unfortunately, the film was not as successful as its 2011 counterpart and holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
While CGI made up most of the Hulk in The Avengers, professional bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno provided all the muscle in the 1978 live-action TV series. The makeup process took three hours to complete, and the green wig Ferrigno wore was made of dyed yak hair. In addition, the hard contact lenses he wore to make his eyes electric-green had to be removed every 15 minutes because they caused him physical pain.
Ferrigno also appeared in cameos as a security guard in later Hulk films. In the 2003 film, he is seen speaking with another cameo security guard played by Stan Lee. In the 2008 film, he is bribed by Banner with pizza and actually provides the voice for The CGI Hulk.
According to the commentary on the DVD release, Arnold Schwarzenegger also auditioned for the role of the Hulk but was rejected because his height was deemed too short.
While Tom Holland plays the wall-crawler in Captain America: Civil War, Nicholas Hammond plays Spider-Man in the 1978 live-action TV series. Hammond is also known for playing Friedrich Von Trapp, the 2nd oldest child in The Sound of Music.
The TV series was actually considered quite successful and ran for a total of 2 seasons before being cancelled. The series was also the first to feature live-action use of Spidey's "spider-tracer" gadget which the web-slinger used to track would-be villains and evildoers.
Although Thor did not have a TV series of his own, he did appear in the 1988 television film The Incredible Hulk Returns and was played by Eric Allan Kramer. The film is a continuation of the Incredible Hulk TV series and acted as a backdoor pilot for a Thor TV series that never got produced.
Unlike Chris Hemsworth who plays the actual son of Odin, the 1988 Thor is a former student of Dr. Bruce Banner named Donald Blake. He found the enchanted hammer containing the soul of Thor during an expedition in Norway.
Remember when Samuel L. Jackson approached Tony Stark in the after credits scene of the first Iron Man in 2008? Well 10 years before that, David Hasselhoff was kicking ass and taking names as Nick Fury in the 1998 television film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.