A large green monster is sighted near Dr. Bruce Banner’s lab. The Bush administration, abetted by Fox News and MI6, declares war on southern Nevada and parts of Utah. General Thaddeus Thunderbolt “Sam Elliot” Ross is given command of the illegal expeditionary force and attacks Banner based on the incriminating evidence that he’s dating Ross’s daughter, Jennifer Connally. After an extended battle in the desert and, for some reason, San Francisco, the Green monster–now called the Hulk– is captured, but not before he uses an M1 Abrams as a baseball bat.
The Hulk is revealed to be Bruce Banner, after all. His abusive and batshit insane father is called in to assist the army, because when you are trying to contain someone who turns into a giant green rage-monster, the best way to do so is to contract the one person most likely to send him into apoplexy. This works out exactly as well as anyone could have predicted and the Hulk escapes after punching an underground bunker into oblivion.
The above two items never happened.
Tony Stark stops even pretending to run the company with his name on it, electing, instead, to do PR and sales, and drop off the occasional scribbled design for new hardware, while leaving the day-to-day business to his bizarrely loyal assistant, Pepper Potts and his father’s former partner, Obadiah “Bad Company” Stane. This move will surely benefit everybody.
Bruce Banner moves from the Alaskan wilderness to Rio de Janeiro (or possibly Sao Paolo, or Brasilia…it’s hard to tell) where he works on the floor of a soda pop bottling plant, because underpaid 3rd world factory workers never face stress.
2006-ish to 2008
Alarmed at Stark’s increasingly erratic behavior, the DoD assigns USAF Major James “Empire” Rhodes as his handler, with the mission specs that he is to (a) protect the asset (Stark) and (b) prevent him from becoming too much of an embarrassment. He fails spectacularly on both objectives.
While on a press junket in the middle east to show off top secret Stark Industries weaponry to the press and mid-rank officers, Tony Stark is caught in an ambush by an organized militia. He is presumed dead and never seen again.
Held captive in a terrorist camp/spooky cave, with a piece of shrapnel edging ever closer to his heart, Stark devises a magical energy source and a suit of plot armor. He murders his way out of the Terrorist camp, crashes his suit, and is rescued by an Army helicopter crew that just happened to be flying over an unoccupied section of desert for some reason.
Arriving home, Stark upgrades his original plot armor plans to be much sexier and have a bitchin red-and-gold metal flake paint job. Forgoing the usual testing process, he decides to fly his improved armor into the desert and murdalize some terrorists. He gets shot out of the sky by a pair of Air Force fighters.
His two trips to the Middle East having revealed how many Stark Industries weapons were illegally obtained by terrorist groups, Stark announce that Stark Industries, a weapons manufacturer, will no longer manufacture weapons.
Stane unethically uses Stark’s previous erratic behavior and his decision to terminate the company’s involvement in its one industry to unfairly influence the Board of Directors and have Stark removed as CEO.
Potts, while trying to steal proprietary company technology, stumbles upon evidence that Stane was illegally selling Stark weapons to terrorists and orchestrated the ambush that led to Stark’s capture AND used a collection of burner phones to rig the most recent American Idol. She gives this info to SHIELD agent, Phil Coulson, who promptly moves to arrest Stane.
Stane uses a piece of plot armor, originally based on Stark’s first suit, but with more weapons, a cup holder and a back-up camera, to escape the SHIELD detail sent to capture hi and goes after Stark.
Stark gets into a head-to-head battle against his father’s old friend, and owing to his brilliance and the advanced nature of his Mark III plot armor, is absolutely pummeled into obscurity by Stane who is wearing what can best be describe as, “a battleship with legs.” Stark is forced to save himself by using his magic energy generator to vaporize Stane’s head.
Stark announces that he is Iron Man (cue Black Sabbath…or the Cardigans, whichever you like better).
Following orders from Arnim Zola, who somehow made the jump from cowardly little weasel to super-villain with enough charisma to command a death cult, Hydra operatives find a still-living Bucky Barnes. They remove his left arm and replace it with a super-cool robot arm, then they brainwash him into being a super assassin and put him in cryostasis so they can use him later, but not too often, because he’s expensive, and doesn’t mix well with others–like saffron, only less likely to share names with a stripper.
The last entry should have probably gone into the previous section.
Howard Stark and the newly formed SHIELD find the Tesseract in the Arctic ocean but fail to locate the giant, wing-shaped bomber containing the cryogenically-preserved Steve Austin Rogers.
Dr. Henry Pym develops a process for shrinking and growing things while ignoring mass, physics, and the square-cube law. This is sure to be a benefit for everyone.
Howard Stark gets married and has a kid who’s even smarter, snarkier, and less sincere than he is. He also becomes even more insanely rich by using his vast intellect and unimaginable resources to solve hunger, pollution, and the looming energy crisis. Just kidding, he makes a lot of weapons and partners up with a guy named Obadiah who looks like the Dude but talks like Rooster Cogburn. This partnership will surely benefit everyone.
The Pentagon Papers and Watergate Scandal trigger a period of intense scrutiny of the Federal Government, revealing such abominations as the Tuskegee Experiment, Project MK Ultra, and the New Coke Marketing Conspiracy, but somehow failing to reveal that fully half of an agency with military powers and access to advanced weaponry is staffed by adherents to a murderous death cult that worships a psychotic, life-sucking colony creature.
The Kree go to war with the Skrulls, a galaxy-spanning empire of lizard-like beings that have the unique ability to take on any shape they see. The Kree are definitely the bad guys, here, because there’s no way the Skrulls could use their ability for evil.
Dr. David Banner, working on a new version of Stanley Tucci’s super-soldier serum (cf Part 2), injects his infant son, Bruce, with the serum, because he’s an awful father, then he murders his wife in front of his son. Despite this, and the traumas inherent in the foster system, Bruce grows up well-adjusted in every way.
Physicist Anton Vanko raises his son on apocryphal tales of how he provided Stark with all of his ideas but they were stolen from him. There’s no way this harmless bit of hyperbole can have consequences.
1980-ish to 2000
Ego wraps up his Dissemination and Insemination Tour by stopping at planet Earth and having a whirlwind romance while disguised as a CGI Kurt Russell. He begins to have feelings for his baby momma, so plants incurable cancer in her head and hits the road.
Henry Pym, tired of SHIELD and Stark pressuring him to industrialize his size-changing technology, quits his job and goes into business for himself. He also starts doing covert operations as the size-changing Ant-Man, bringing his wife along, code-named Wasp.
Bucky, brainwashed and using the code-name, The Winter Soldier, kills Howard Stark and his wife. Despite a surprising amount of camera footage–from multiple angles–for an isolated country road, this crime goes unnoticed and is ruled an unfortunate auto accident due to the fatigue driving laws.
The Kree win the Kree-Skrull War and embark on a policy of genocide, as one does. A Kree doctor named Mar-Vel defects, steals some technology, and hides a small group of Skrull refugees aboard a huge warship in earth orbit while she gets a job building Tesseract-powered sub-orbital jets for the US Air Force.
On the day his mother dies of the Ego-induced brain cancer, Peter Quill is kidnapped by aliens. He is never heard from again.
Hank Pym’s wife, Janet van Dyne (she kept her last name for professional reasons), goes sub-atomic during a mission. She is presumed dead and never seen again.
A Kree strike force, led by young Dumbledore, discovers Mar-Vel and murders her while trying to steal the Tesseract. Her pilot, US Air Force Captain Carol Danvers touches the Tesseract and absorbs some of its power, then passes out. She is kidnapped by the Kree and renamed Vers, because that is what the piece of her broken dogtag says and the Kree are unfamiliar with the concept of incomplete data.
Thanos murders a planet and adopts a girl child after making her watch her mother die, then raises her to be the most efficient assassin in galactic history. This works out so well, he does it a second time, only with physical and psychological abuse and lots of needless limb replacement surgery.
Tony Stark, continuing his father’s tradition of never taking anything seriously, blows off a brilliant young scientist who has some remarkable ideas that might get the super-soldier program (of course that’s still a thing) back on track.
Bruce Banner, begins working on the super-soldier program because it will surely have benefits for everyone and not be used solely for making super-soldiers.
Captain Danvers returns to Earth in pursuit of a Skrull agent. Believing herself to be a Kree warrior, she powers through a wealth of misgivings and flashbacks to secure her objective. Once she’s done that, she realizes she is not, in fact, a Kree, and that the Kree are kind of assholes. Hilarious hijinx ensue.
Having assisted Captain Danvers during her recent trip to Earth, SHIELD Agent, Nick Fury, starts thinking super-heroes are kind of awesome and begins the SHIELD program, the Avengers Initiative.
Under pressure from his military sponsors, Bruce Banner tests his version of the super-soldier serum on himself and adds a dose of Gamma radiation because if he doesn’t use the particle accelerator it won’t be in his budget next year. It’s a good thing Banner is so well-adjusted; who knows what kind of hulking rage-monster would have resulted if he had anger and impulse-control issues.