Last spring, while production was under way in Atlanta on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, some fans snapped photos of a movie theater set, which was being used for a “Simon Williams Film Festival,” which showed several movie posters featuring Nathan Fillion as Simon Williams himself. This lead to speculation about whether or not we’d actually see Nathan Fillion in the flesh as Simon Williams, but as it turned out, we didn’t even get to see the scene with these posters, since it was cut from the movie. Thankfully, the ever-transparent James Gunn has taken to social media, to explain why this fun Easter Egg scene was cut, and to showcase an official version of the Tony Stark biopic poster that featured Nathan Fillion as Stark, which is quite reminiscent of the Steve Jobs poster.
James Gunn took to Facebook earlier today to showcase this poster, while promising to reveal the rest of the posters over the next few days. The director explained that Nathan Fillion is one of his best friends, and he wanted to have a bigger role for him than he had in Guardians of the Galaxy, but unfortunately, the whole scene was slowing down the pace of the movie, so it was ultimately cut. Here’s what the director had to say below.
“As many of you know one of my best friends in the world is Nathan Fillion. Along with Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry he’s been in every movie I’ve directed, even as a monstrous, perverted voice in Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn’t have a good cameo for him in Vol. 2, and I wanted to bring him more fully into the MCU at some point, so I didn’t want to make him Aakon Guard #2, narrowing his chance of a more substantial role in the future. I really do love the character of Simon Williams/Wonder Man in the comics, a sometimes douchey actor/superhero, and could see Nathan clearly in that role (not because he’s a douchebag but because he’s great at playing one). But, of course, in a movie set 99.9% in space I didn’t really have a place for him. So in a small flash to earth I decided to put a theater playing a “Simon Williams Film Festival,” with six Simon Williams movie posters outside. Obviously, from the posters, he’s had a run of B movies. Most of them in themselves are Easter eggs of some sort or another. Unfortunately, the small section of the scene where they appeared slowed down the movie and I had to cut the Easter eggs from the film (along with storefronts named after comic book luminaries Starlin, Mantlos, Annett and others). Equally a bummer was that a lot of people took photos of these posters on the day so suddenly every fan site was reporting that Nathan was playing Wonder Man in he movie. He was even the third-billed actor on IMDB! So that’s the full story. Nathan’s only cameo in the movie ever were these posters. I’ll post them all over the next few days. And, yes, I think we can consider them canon for the MCU, and I hold onto hope that Simon Williams will rise again!!”
The photos were taken outside of a real theater in Cartersville, Georgia, showcasing Simon Williams‘ work in a number of different genres. Among the other posters featured in the set photos were the romantic comedy Oh, Rebecca, the Conan-inspired Arkon, which is based on another Marvel Comics character, and Haxan 2, which appeared to be a fantasy thriller sequel revolving around a male witch. The director’s statement will certainly excite Simon Williams fans, since Simon Williams is now part of the MCU canon, merely for appearing on some posters that were never shown in the movie. The director didn’t clarify if this scene would be included on the Blu-ray/DVD deleted scenes or not.
Simon Williams has an interesting background in the Marvel comics, where he was a villain as part of the Masters of Evil, and brother of the Grim Reaper. He would eventually change his ways, joining the Avengers, but then he gave up being a hero to chase his dream of becoming an actor. He would return to the Avengers, despite being a pacifist, where he became part of the Avengers Unity Division. While we wait for more on Simon Williams’ place in the MCU, take a look at this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Easter Egg poster, featuring Nathan Fillion portraying Tony Stark.