For those fanboys who thought The Avengers should've had a more melancholy tone à la The Dark Knight Rises, this is for you.
Before unspooling what would go on to become the summer's biggest popcorn flick and third-highest-grossing film of all time, writer-director Joss Whedon had a much darker alternate opening in mind for the breezy cinematic CGI spectacle that eventually made it to theaters.
Yahoo! has now posted a deleted scene that ended up on the cutting-room floor but is being included on The Avengers' Blu-ray edition, out Sept. 25.
So how different is it?
For starters, it changes the blockbuster's structure and tone dramatically and sets up Cobie Smulders' S.H.I.E.L.D. super agent Maria Hill as a key player.
Here, the film begins as a flash-forward, kicking off 48 hours after the climactic shock-and-awe battle between the Avengers, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his legion of alien invaders that closes out the movie.
As a somber tracking shot hovers over rubble-strewn New York City, we see billowing smoke, overturned cars and injured bystanders before cutting to a scene of Hill being interrogated.
"You wanna know what went wrong?" Hill asks. "How this horror, this catastrophe could have been averted?" Cue a quick shot of a roaring-mad Hulk and bam! The movie hints at galactically bombastic blow-ups to come.
(Of course, Whedon ended up opening the film with a raid on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters, which quickly introduces Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye character to audiences.)
If this new clip leaves you hankering for your Avengers fix, you might not have to wait too long: Although the planned sequel won't hit theaters until May 1, 2015, ABC has announced that Whedon will executive-produce a TV spinoff tentatively called S.H.I.E.L.D.
Even better? Whedon is reportedly set to direct the pilot.
Looks like we'll see some superhero assembling sooner than we think!