With “Avengers: Endgame” playing around the world for much of the past week, those involved in the previously highly secretive Marvel Studios epic are finally opening up about it without hesitation and going into the film’s big moments.
Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely took part in a lengthy interview earlier this week with The New York Times and touched upon a bunch of lingering questions from fans including story decisions, the film’s use of time travel, certain character deaths and more.
McFeely says they were big fans of Marvel’s “What If?” comics and this film was their chance to do something like that with the five year time jump – Thor got fat, Steve got depressed, Natasha was a shut-in, Clint became a brutal killer, Tony went domestic, and Hulk got smart and relaxed.
Markus confirms at one time the new Hulk was originally going to debut during the Wakanda battle in ‘Infinity War’, while that film they were also considering debuting the three-headed Living Tribunal character in it – but it didn’t work.
Markus also says the reason Captain Marvel wasn’t much in the film is that the story they were trying to deal was “the original Avengers dealing with loss and coming to a conclusion”. McFeely says rather than the attack on New York, the first draft of the Endgame script had Iron Man head to Asgard to retrieve the Tesseract:
“[There’s] a moment in the M.C.U., if you’re paying very close attention, where the Aether is there and the Tesseract is in the vault. In that iteration, we were interested in Tony going to Asgard. He had a stealth suit, so he was invisible, and he fought Heimdall, who could see him.”
There was also a visit to the Triskelion at one point, and Robert Redford’s return as Alexander Pierce was originally going to be either Nick Fury or Maria Hill in that scene. The final battle in the movie also ran a lot longer:
McFeely: “We wrote and shot a much longer battle with its own three-act structure. It didn’t play well, but we had a scene in a trench where, for reasons, the battle got paused for about three minutes and now there’s 18 people all going, ‘What are we going to do?’ ‘I’m going to do this.’ ‘I’m going to do this.’ Just bouncing around this completely fake, fraudulent scene. When you have that many people, it invariably is, one line, one line, one line. And that’s not a natural conversation.”
Markus: “It also required them to find enough shelter to have a conversation in the middle of the biggest battle. It wasn’t a polite World War I battle where you have a moment.”
McFeely says they decided to kill off Black Widow because her journey came to end if she could get the Avengers back, and an issue of concern was whether the audience was going to have time to be sad enough. They also say because she was a cipher as opposed to Tony the public figure, she doesn’t get a funeral in the film.
McFeely says they knew going in this was to be Iron Man’s final outing and that by showing him having that ‘perfect retirement life’ it doesn’t feel like a tragedy but rather a “heroic, finished life”:
“Everyone knew this was going to be the end of Tony Stark. The watchword was, end this chapter, and he started the chapter. In a way, he has been the mirror of Steve Rogers the entire time. Steve is moving toward some sort of enlightened self-interest, and Tony’s moving to selflessness. They both get to their endpoints.”
The pair also made it clear the possibility of an X-Men or Fantastic Four cameo was never on the cards: “I guess it [the film] is done now but it wasn’t done then. They [Fox] still have an ‘X-Men’ movie. You can’t reboot them before they’re done. ‘Sorry to completely screw you.'”
“Avengers: Endgame” is now in cinemas everywhere.