Mild SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War.
The writers behind Avengers: Infinity War have explained why certain characters took a backseat or were missing from the film - and teased that Avengers 4 will mix things up. Infinity War had a massive opening weekend, setting new records for U.S. and global opening weekends in the process. With no major competition until mid-May, Infinity War should continue to dominate the box office for the next few weeks. Even more impressive is the fact that a year from now, Avengers 4 may surpass Infinity War's own record-breaking run.
Regardless of whether or not that actually happens, audiences will be anxious to see what becomes of their favorite characters in Avengers 4, following the dramatic events of Infinity War. More than that, Avengers 4 will add a number of already-established MCU players who ultimately didn't have a role to play in Infinity War (most notably, Hawkeye and Ant-Man). The writers behind both Avengers films have now shed more light on how they decided the size of the roles that certain superheroes would (or would not) play in each of the two movies.
THR spoke with Infinity War and Avengers 4 writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely about the ins and outs of writing the two epic films. Specifically, they dove into why certain characters had a smaller role in Infinity War and what that means for the movie's followup:
Markus: Some of the people, when you weigh up who you are seeing, seem to take a little bit of a back seat in this one. When we did crack them, what we realized was they had far more potential in the movie coming next year, just in terms of how their character would be tested by the story. I'm not telling you what the story is. I will say there is less Steve Rogers and Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) than you might expect in this movie [Infinity War]. Because they are such hard-bitten people, when a threat comes, they stand there and they take the threat. They don't crack. They don't whimper. They don't start talking about all their failed opportunities. So, there isn't that much to explore, especially when you don't have a lot of time. But there's a lot later.
McFeely: We cracked them both [Infinity War and Avengers 4] together, so we had to give ourselves permission to say that some people are going to get more in the next movie.
Captain America had a smaller role in Infinity War than many fans were expecting, and the writers' reasoning goes a long way towards explaining why that is. After all, we've seen plenty from Steve Rogers in the MCU over these past ten years. As for why Ant-Man didn't end up being in the movie, it comes down to the matters of tone and timing:
McFeely: When we get to this time next year, all will become clear. Ant-Man clearly had a specific requirement, which is he had an entire movie [July's Ant-Man and The Wasp] that is going to come between these two movies. Same thing with Captain Marvel, by the way. We looked at that as an opportunity, not as some sort of back-bend we had to do.
Markus: Also, Ant-Man the franchise is very light-hearted. It's fun. It maybe even skews younger. If we were to put Ant-Man in this extremely heavy movie, and then have to say to the guys who are making the Ant-Man movie, "Yeah, he went through hell, but now go ahead and have your little romp and we'll pick it up afterwards," that's why we have to really sort of manage your interconnections and go, "Let's go and hold off so you can enjoy that without feeling a bad taste in your mouth."
When Marvel Studios announced their slate in 2014, Ant-Man & the Wasp was meant to arrive in Black Panther's slot just before Avengers: Infinity War. But when Spider-Man: Homecoming was added to the docket, it moved things around. As Markus and McFeely state, having the relatively light-hearted sequel to Ant-Man come in between the devastation of Thanos coming to Earth would have been jarring. As such, Ant-Man & the Wasp will take place before the events of Infinity War (even though it's hitting theaters after).
As the long wait for Avengers 4 begins, fans can help pass the time by speculating about what the actual title of the film will be. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has come out and said that Avengers 4 won't be titled Infinity Gauntlet, so that's one possibility that fans can rule out now. Hopefully, the official reveal of the Avengers 4 title will happen sooner rather than later, so fans can instead devote their time to theorizing about what it even means.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019