One of the most heart-wrenching moments in last summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger came near the end, when (SPOILER ALERT, obviously) Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) promises Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) a date that he fails to make because he sacrifices himself to save the world. When he wakes up in 2012, their scheduled appointment, of course, has long since passed. But according to director Joss Whedon, the pair almost had a better-late-than-never reunion in The Avengers. More after the jump.

In an interview with the New York Times (via io9), Whedon described the present-day meeting between Steve and Peggy that unfortunately wound up on the cutting room floor:

One of the best scenes that I wrote was the beautiful and poignant scene between Steve and Peggy [Carter] that takes place in the present. And I was the one who was like, Guys, we need to lose this. It was killing the rhythm of the thing. And we did have a lot of Cap, because he really was the ‘in’ for me. I really do feel a sense of loss about what’s happening in our culture, loss of the idea of community, loss of health care and welfare and all sorts of things. I was spending a lot of time having him say it, and then I cut that.

In a film with as many characters as The Avengers, it’s inevitable that a few of these moments will get dropped here and there, and I (grudgingly) understand Whedon’s choice to keep the momentum going rather than grind everything to a halt so Steve can get some face time with his former flame. But it breaks my heart to know that Steve and Peggy won’t get that dance together after all — or at least, not in The Avengers. If this means Peggy’s still alive in 2012, here’s hoping she can hold out long enough to make an appearance in Captain America 2.

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