The Unscripted Scenes That Made Your Favorite Superhero Movies Better

Superhero movies used to stick to the script unswervingly. Saving the world is an important business. But Robert Downey, Jr. changed all that. & jmglor & jmglor
Ever since RDJ’s storied ad-lib, “I am Iron Man,” superhero flicks in the MCU or DC Extended Universe are open to actors improvising and playing on their mistakes. Here are some of the best.

Robert Downey, Jr. improvises in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

Robert Downey, Jr. is allowed free reign because he’s really good at improvising his character.

In this scene, he is looking for a secret door. He says his line, “Please be a secret door,” and when the wall gives way, he adds, “Yay.” It’s an unassuming exclamation, but it hits the Stark spot.

Chris Pratt opts for self-deprecatory humor in this “Guardians of the Galaxy” scene

Korath confronts Peter Quill in the orb scene. Chris Pratt thought it would be humorous to boldly announce he is Star-Lord to Korath (Djimon Hounsou), with Korath’s response being, “Who?”

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Since Star-Lord pales in comparison to other Marvel heroes, Pratt thought it was a clever way to add to this scene.

“Deadpool” improv line elicits a real punch in the face

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) was throwing lines in this scene. Strapped to a gurney, he was making fun of his captor, Angel Dust (ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano).

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He called her “Henry Winkler” and “Criss Angel, Mindfreak.” No response. Then he compared her to a “less-angry Rosie O’Donnell.” Smack. Right in the face. Too bad it didn’t make the cut!

Paul Rudd wrote a lot of his lines in “Ant-Man”

Paul Rudd is a sharp comedy writer (“Anchorman” and “Clueless”), so it was not a surprise that he was invited on as co-writer for the screenplay.

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During the shoot, he improvised a lot as well. There was a dramatic reunion moment between Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), his ex-wife (Judy Greer), and her new husband (Bobby Cannavale).

Tom Holland (Spider-Man) spontaneously makes a move on RDJ

Tom Holland said he veered off script in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” He went to hug Tony Stark as he leaned across. & stanweirdo

RDJ responded to Holland’s improvised gesture and said, “It’s not a hug. I’m just grabbing the door for you. We’re not there yet.” It was a hilarious hit in the editing room.

“X-Men” director James Mangold tells Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, “Just improvise”

Stewart (Professor X) and Jackman (Logan) had an eight-minute conversation, completely off-the-cuff, filming “Logan” (2017). Movie Drinking Game/

The director said, “Why don’t you talk about your history a little bit more?” And they made up the story about a school of mutants during dinner. Out of it all, one line made it to the film.

Jon Favreau let RDJ eat on the set of “The Avengers” (2012)

Robert Downey, Jr. likes to snack, so he hides lots of food during shoots. “The Avengers” director Jon Favreau finally relented and let him eat, even if the cameras were rolling!

It was part of his training regimen, which included 5,000 calories a day. It worked! He gained 25 pounds of muscle for Iron Man.

Hugh Jackman’s cameo as Wolverine on “X-Men: First Class” made the cut

Hugh Jackman talked about how he was invited to show up for the shoot of “X-Men: First Class” as Wolverine.


It was one scene that took about eight takes. On the last, Jackman changed the line, ever so slightly, and it stuck.

Heath Ledger’s Joker improvises the fake clap in the prison scene

Heath Ledger gave one of his best performances in “The Dark Knight.” Sadly, he didn’t live to receive his Oscar for the role.

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As it turns out, he improvised a lot on that film. Director Christopher Nolan said the actor would let him know when he was going to add something, and one time, it was that dark clapping.

Tom Hardy punctuates a dark scene with some levity in “The Dark Knight Rises”

As the evil Bane, Tom Hardy is readying for the explosive attack on a Gotham City stadium. He has just killed an astrophysicist by breaking his neck with a sharp twist in front of the crowd.

Listening to the pre-game “Star-Spangled Banner” sung by a darling boy, he comments, impromptu, “What a lovely voice.”

Joaquin Phoenix’s goes off the rails as Joker

The actor’s portrayal of Joker’s gradual slide into madness was improvised more than once in “Joker.”

In this scene, the cast and crew watched dumbfounded. In a rage, Phoenix cleared the fridge of its contents and then climbed on in. Scenes such as this one earned Phoenix a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

Heartwarming: A Make-A-Wish kid came up with one of the movie’s best lines

While shooting “Thor: Ragnarok,” children from Make-A-Wish were on set.

One particular boy asked Chris Hemsworth to add a line for when The Incredible Hulk enters the forum. Hemsworth was able to run it by the director. “We know each other; he’s a friend from work,” even made the trailer.

Benedict Cumberbatch veered off the script in “Avengers: Endgame”

It was a dramatic moment. Cumberbatch, as Doctor Strange, made a gesture to Tony Stark.

He raises his finger to give Stark the go-ahead after Stark looks Strange in the eye. It is a significant moment, but it was made up entirely by Cumberbatch. Director Scott Derrickson confirmed the improv in a tweet.

Iron Man tells Captain America how he really feels

In the opening scenes of “Avengers: Endgame,” Tony Stark confronts Steve Rogers. In an emotional rant, he accuses Rogers of being unworthy of Avenger status.

He seals the diatribe with a single but visceral, improvised word, “liar.” He’s got nothing for the Cap, “I got no coordinates, no clues, no strategies, no options! Zero, zip, nada. No trust. Liar.”

Michael B. Jordan improvised a key line in “Black Panther”

As Killmonger is being interviewed by the Wakanda leadership, Michael B. Jordan is trying to prove his character is a descendent of the tribe.

When one of the leaders confirms his lineage, Killmonger caught everyone by surprise, blurting out, “Hey Auntie,” to the Queen Mother. Total lack of respect, but kinda funny too.

M’Baku ad-libbed, and it made it into “Black Panther”

And it wasn’t even a word. “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler said Winston Duke’s accentuation of M’Baku in the confrontation with CIA agent Everett Ross was the perfect expression to shut down the agent. Panwar

Duke spontaneously let out a loud grunt, and it silenced Everett Ross, more succinctly than any scripted line might.

Robert Downey, Jr. snacks on healthy foods too

We already talked about RDJ’s snacking obsession. Here’s what happened in the lab scene in “The Avengers.” Tony Stark hands Captain America and Bruce Banner a package of blueberries.

The offer was totally unscripted; the berries came from the Iron Man actor’s personal stash.

Drax the Destroyer delivered one of the funniest lines in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

And it wasn’t even in the script. Dave Bautista, as Drax responded to Tony Stark’s line, “I’ll do you one better. Who is Gamora?” That line was actually in the script, but Bautista added, “I’ll do you one better; why is Gamora?”

The silly thread was one of the internet’s favorite “Dawn of Justice” memes.

Thor tries coffee for the first time and likes it

His Asgardian manners, however, were improvised. Chris Hemsworth delivered his line, “This drink, I like it!” But then added, “Another!” and punctuated his demand by smashing his coffee mug to the floor, and that was all Hemsworth. Priest

He just felt like doing that, and moviemakers loved the genuine reactions from the other actors.

Joker’s teardrop was no joke

Joaquin Phoenix unintentionally added something to the opening shots of “Joker.” It was unscripted and totally random.

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Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) is looking in the mirror, putting on a smile along with his clown makeup. A wave of empathy for the sad clown triggered a tear, a single tear, to drop down his cheek, blurring his makeup.

Star-Lord drops the orb of mass destruction

Did Chris Pratt drop the coveted orb of universal destruction on purpose? That depends. Director James Gunn claimed Pratt accidentally dropped it in the director’s cut commentary, but Pratt insists he did it purposely. Rant

Gunn doubted the known prankster, saying he believed him “about 90%.” Neither scenario was in the script, but, hey, it made the cut.

RDJ revealed one of Stark’s most-loved lines came from his kids

It appeared in “Avengers: Endgame” as Tony Stark is saying goodnight to his daughter Morgan.

RDJ’s real-life daughter said it to him once. It was presumably the biggest number the young girl could think of, “I love you 3000.” No surprise, it’s one of the film’s most heart-melting moments.

Comedian Tim Heidecker loves to make up lines

But not many, only about 0.1%, made it into “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” & timheidecker

Heidecker played whaleboat captain Daniel Gooobler, a minor role. Here is one that did not make the cut, “Me eat people.”

Tobey Maguire throws out a few lines depicting Peter Parker

Tobey Maguire played Spider-Man way back in 2002. In Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” Maguire portrayed a young Spidey. As Peter Parker, he had to learn how to web. Maguire was given some leeway as he tried out Parker’s new abilities.

He referred to old-fashioned comic superheroes like Superman and Captain Marvel with “Shazam!” And “Up and away web!”

Iron Man’s death scene was made up on the spot

It may come as a surprise, but Tony Stark’s death at the end of “Avengers: Endgame” was patched together, impromptu. Entertainment /

Tom Holland explained that to prepare, the Russo Brothers and Kevin Feige brought together RDJ, Gwyneth Paltrow, Holland, and Don Cheadle. Sans script, the actors and directors hashed out the emotional scene.

Joaquin Phoenix did an extemporaneous dance in “Joker”

Dancing with the devil in the public latrine lights, Phoenix’s Joker had been scripted to look into the bathroom mirror and ponder his crime with a few lines.

Arthur Fleck just killed his first victim. Instead, he broke into a dance, swaying to a violin instrumental of “America the Beautiful,” just like Nicholson’s Joker did back in the day.

Peter Quill flips off his captors

Chris Pratt is a voracious improviser. In this scene, Star-Lord is being held by the Nova Corps, along with his misfit crew.

When it’s his turn to stand at the criminal lineup, Pratt decided to give the Nova Corps the finger. Pretending his middle finger is part of an imaginary machine, he says he didn’t know how it worked.

Ben Affleck’s Batman in “Dawn of Justice” lets the S-word slip

As Batman, Affleck thought it would be funny to show the gravity of the situation by saying, “Oh sh*t” as he’s facing the monster Dooms Day.

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Affleck later admitted that he improvised the line in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Normally, Batman would never curse. The actor talked to director Zack Snyder, and they agreed it worked.

The boat scene in “Wonder Woman 1984” just happened

Gal Gadot and Chris Pine show their actor’s chops improvising an entire scene. It was a bonding conversation about Diana’s origin, marriage, and whatnot.

Director Patty Jenkins revealed in a tweet that Pine also improvised one of the film’s funniest moments when he blurts out his break-dancing threat line. Jenkins said everyone laughed.

Hemsworth goes off script and hangs up his hammer

We all know Chris Hemsworth likes to ham it up. So, it won’t come as a surprise that in “Thor: Dark World,” when Thor enters the apartment, he stores his trusty hammer on the coat rack. Movies

It was his idea. Of course, where else would it go? It was a bit of comedic relief, and audiences appreciated it.

Robert Downey, Jr.’s iconic “Iron Man” ad lib

Robert Downey, Jr. caught everyone by surprise when he announced, as Tony Stark, to a roomful of reporters that he was, in fact, Iron Man. It was a ballsy move but fit Stark’s superego persona. & jmglor

In the 2008 movie, director Kevin Feige decided to keep this impromptu plot shift. And RDJ was on his way to becoming the MCU improvise king.

Hayley Atwell was not supposed to reach out and touch the Cap

But she did. It was the first time she had seen Chris Evans shirtless. Impulsively, Atwell, as Agent Carter in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” could not help but touch, ever so quickly, his ripped chest.

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The move was not in the script, but it made the final cut, hands down, no contest.

Robert Downey Jr. improvises to save another take

In this scene of “Captain America: Civil War,” Tony Stark’s having a heart-to-heart with Peter Parker, but Tom Holland forgot his cue to move over.


Going with the flow, Downey, Jr. tells Holland, extemporaneously, to move, even though it wasn’t in the script. But, RDJ’s line, “I’m gonna sit here, so you move the leg,” is in the movie.

Hugh Jackman improvises one of Wolverine’s best Professor X disses

In the first “X-Men” movie, a sleeper superhero flick that became a 20-year franchise, Jackman was already showing his knack for throwing comedic lines out.

In this scene, Professor Xavier is introducing Wolverine to the X-Men pack. The script said, “What do they call you, “Baldie?” But instead, Jackman blurted out, “What do they call you? Wheels?”

Jack Nicholson’s Joker is uber-creepy

One of Nicholson’s most memorable improvisations is his dance, a sort of flatulent jig marking his departure, as he leaves Vicky Vale’s apartment.

It comes right after the famous confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Joker. Joker’s riddle, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” takes Bruce Wayne by surprise right before Joker pops him.

Anthony Hopkins made Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston cry

In “Thor” (2011), the director asked Anthony Hopkins to improvise his lines for the “I cast you out” scene.

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The dramatic performance depicting Thor’s banishment was so intense, Loki and Thor were driven to tears, real tears. Giving free rein to the phenomenal actor Hopkins made it a brilliant, key scene.

“Shazam!” star Zachary Levi gets a little silly

“Shazam!” director David Sandberg wasn’t convinced. Zachary Levi told him about his idea, throwing a Batman toy at adversary Dr. Sivana during the toy store fight. But Sandberg wasn’t interested. FM

Finally, he let the star give a take to see if it works, and the proof is in the pudding.

Tom Holland improvised Spider-Man’s last words

As “Avengers: Infinity War” winds down, Thanos has turned half of the universe’s life to dust, Spider-Man included.

Shooting that emotional scene with Spidey in Iron Man’s arms, the script’s final words, “I’m sorry,” wasn’t working for directors Joe and Anthony Russo. So they asked him to wing it. “I don’t wanna go” was Holland’s line.

Peter Parker tries to get out of a deep space mission

Peter Parker is just a kid in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Even as Spider-Man, he’s not that keen on fighting like a superhero.

When he demurs at Nick Fury’s mission request, Fury does not have it. Samuel Jackson, off the cuff, told Spidey, “[Bleep] please, you’ve been to space.”

MCU’s Hawkeye goes off-script, ranting about Quicksilver

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” contains one of the funnier Marvel moments. It’s the time Jeremy Renner goes on a rambling bit about Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

It is a good example of the two characters’ love-hate relationship. Hawkeye pulls out an arrow and aims it at Quicksilver but then gets sentimental about it and reconsiders, muttering on.

A hilarious Captain Marvel ad-lib moment by Zachary Levi

In DC’s “Shazam!,” Captain Marvel is really just a 14-year-old kid. For comedian Zachary Levi this was a great thing. Scene

He could act goofier than the average superhero. He also added some of his own lines. That’s what happened here. Levi added, addressing Mr. Moran, the security guard, “Thank you so much, Detective Moron.”

Chris Hemsworth improvises a classic scene

It’s the “get help” part in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Thor and Loki, standing side-by-side in the elevator, break into an impromptu exchange about getting help.

Directors told them to wing it, and Hemsworth went with the “get help” idea. If it’s not your favorite improvised Marvel scene ever, it is, in fact, Tom Hiddleston’s (Loki)!

Benedict Cumberbatch ad-libs “Try me, Beyoncé” in “Doctor Strange”

Wong, the “Doctor Strange” librarian, doesn’t have a first or last name; he’s just Wong. & shelby_naamah

Cumberbatch, as Dr. Stephen Strange, requests books about astral projection from Wong. The librarian immediately shoots Strange down, quipping, “You’re not ready for that.” So, Cumberbatch, with no other recourse, quips back and calls him Beyoncé. He was supposed to say, “Try me.”

Chris Hemsworth gets creative as Thor

As brothers, Thor and Loki have a very rivalrous relationship. In this scene, Hemsworth breaks into a childhood story that he just made up.

He said that when the two were young, Loki changed into a snake because he knew little brother Thor loved snakes. Then, he sabotaged Thor as he turned back to Loki, stabbing him.

“Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey” cast hangout day made the cut

Director Cathy Yan let the girl stars hang as a prep for a chilling out scene that they had to improvise.

Ella Jay Basco (Cassandra Cain) said that they munched on all kinds of snacks and ate burgers and fries. “That day was super fun and didn’t feel like work at all,” she told A Book Of.

RDJ goes on a roll for “The Avengers” after-credit scene

The Cap announces, “We won.” Downey, Jr. breaks into a muted celebratory speech, “Alright, yay. Alright, good job, guys. Let’s just not come in tomorrow.”

The one thing on his mind, though, was Shawarma. Back to his food fixation, he and the rest of the gang go to a Shawarma joint he wanted to check out and feast.

Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t help himself with this off-script move in “Captain America”

Nick Fury attends the posthumous examination of a troublesome Skrull. The defeated alien lay on the examiner’s table.

As Fury finishes his conversation with the examiner, he prepares to leave, but then he just couldn’t help himself. He pulled up the sheet on the Skrull to have a look at the plumbing. That part was all Jackson.

Chadwick Boseman improvised the perfect rally chant word

“Yibambe” is a real word. King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) shouted it out on the battlefield, and the troops vigorously echo it back. The word literally means “hold fast” or “don’t give up.” Fan Productions/

It comes from Bantu, which is a South African language. But in the fictional land of Wakanda, calling out “Yibambe” was all Boseman.

Ewan McGregor’s improv improves “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.”

As Black Mask, McGregor delivers his share of one-liners. It turns out he came up with many of them on his own.

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Director Cathy Yan said the actor is “wickedly funny” and was always throwing lines out there. This one was a winner.

At which point can we assume RDJ is really Tony Stark?

Clearly, Robert Downey, Jr., is a seasoned actor with a quick wit. He knows his character well and, even off-the-cuff, his lines are hilarious or heartbreaking.

Here, he and Doctor Strange are conducting a serious talk. Peter Parker pipes up, interrupting the Marvel superhero pro. RDJ cuts him down with a slick quip: “The adults are talking.”

Hemsworth breaks up battlefield tensions with unscripted moments

This comment takes place on the battlefield of “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018).

Thor runs into Captain America amidst the fighting. Shooting the breeze, the Cap takes note of Thor’s buzz cut, saying, “You got a haircut?” Without missing a beat, Thor returns with, “I notice you’ve copied my beard?”

Michael Rooker let it roll in “Guardians of the Galaxy”

And he said it was “quite a special experience.” In an exclusive Comic Book Movie interview, Rooker talked about the hilarious interview part in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Iconic Movie Moments/

As Yondu he obnoxiously talks over the Broker in gibberish, and it was all impromptu—he said he the scene was created on the spot.

Harley Quinn’s hairdo doesn’t match the scene

Just before Harley Quinn is thrown in jail, she’s sporting a long, bleach-blonde do. In jail, suddenly, she’s got two medium-length ponytails in pink and blue.

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How did that happen? Does the jail have a salon? And, while we’re at it, where did she get those fluffy pink slippers?

“Deadpool” is R-rated, and so is this improv line

T.J. Miller played Weasel to Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool. When Deadpool first reveals his appearance to Weasel, Weasel makes some graphic analogies about his ugly mug.


Most of these were improvised by Miller. Some of the jokes were so graphic they were cut from the movie. But this one stuck, and the internet was glad it did.

Sky diving without a parachute in “Aquaman”

Jason Momoa improvised more than usual in “Aquaman.” James Wan let him mess around and say things off-the-cuff. So much so that Momoa said there is more of him in that movie than any other. Series

In this example, Momoa shouts, “Redheads, you gotta love them!” as Mera (Amber Heard) jumps out of the plane, sans chute.