Now that Avengers: Endgame has finally been released and its all-spoiler-knowing screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have a huge weight lifted off their shoulders, they’ve been revealing a lot of scenes that were in their earlier drafts of the script.
It’s been interesting to consider the moments that almost made it into the movie and determine whether or not they would’ve improved or hurt the Marvel epic we’ve been waiting 11 years to see. These early-draft ideas range from giant concepts to slightly tweaked versions of what we got. Here are 10 Scenes That Were Almost In Avengers: Endgame, According To The Writers.
10 Thanos snaps his fingers in Endgame, not Infinity War
We all remember the chilling ending of Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos gathered all the Infinity Stones, snapped his fingers, and half the Avengers turned to dust without explanation. Then the movie ended. It seemed like the perfect stopping point. The villain won and we’d have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next.
But according to Christopher Markus, Infinity War initially didn’t end with the snap: “If you had stopped it before he snapped his fingers, or with four Stones, that really is just a pause button. That really is just going, ‘What’s he going to do? Will your hero stop dangling from the cliff?’ And we wanted to put a much more definitive, ‘Yes, this happens; deal with it,’ tone at the end of it, rather than jerk you around.”
9 Thor fights his past self
One of the most fun and unexpected sequences in Avengers: Endgame was the scene in which Captain America fights his past self. Of all the fights we expected to see in the movie, Captain America versus himself wasn’t one of them. Apparently, in an early draft, it was Thor who fought his past self.
What made the Cap-on-Cap fight so thrilling was that 2012 Cap was younger and more virile than 2023 Cap. A Thor-on-Thor fight might have been even more thrilling, since 2013 Thor was in far better shape than 2023’s so-called “Lebowski Thor.” Then again, we’ll never know, so we have to just trust the writers’ judgment.
8 Tony Stark goes to Asgard
According to the writers, in the first draft of the Endgame script, the heroes didn’t go back in time to the Battle of New York. There was originally a very different plan: “In the first draft, we didn’t go back to the [original] Avengers movie. We went back to Asgard.
But there’s a moment in the MCU, 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.”
7 A big mid-battle conversation scene
According to Christopher Markus, the final battle scene in Endgame was originally even longer, which apparently had “its own three-act structure.” However, he claims a mid-battle conversation scene was cut because it felt inorganic:
“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.”
6 The same Morag scene, but set underwater
The scene set on Morag – where Peter Quill finds the Power Stone and War Machine and Nebula travel back in time to nab it from him – was originally “hugely complicated,” according to Christopher Markus. Stephen McFeely elaborated on what the scene would’ve looked like and why it didn’t fit the story:
“It was underwater! That was clever, but it was just too big a set piece. What that didn’t do is allow for Thanos and his daughters to get on the trail at the right moment. So, we went back to when Peter Quill was there. And we realized that when you can punch Quill in the face, it’s hilarious. I still think it’s hilarious.”
5 No “I am Iron Man” moment
The Infinity Saga didn’t come truly full-circle until Thanos said, “I am inevitable,” and Tony Stark stole his Infinity Stones and said, “Yeah, and I’m Iron Man.” The 22-film journey began when Tony said that at the end of 2008’s Iron Man, so it provided a satisfying conclusion when he said it again. Apparently, it wasn’t in the original script.
The Russos explained, “Tony used to not say anything in that moment. And we were in the editing room going, ‘He has to say something. This a character who has lived and died by quips.’ And we just couldn’t. We tried a million different last lines. Thanos was saying, ‘I am inevitable,’ and our editor Jeff Ford, who’s been with us all four movies and is an amazing storyteller, said, ‘Why don’t we just go full circle with it and say, “I am Iron Man?”’ And we’re like, ‘Get the cameras! We have to shoot this tomorrow.’”
4 Thor is driven by vengeance instead of weight gain and alcoholism
According to Christopher Markus, Thor’s transformation into an overweight alcoholic who resembles Jeff “the Dude” Lebowski was not their first choice for the character’s Endgame arc. He said, “When we were spitballing for Endgame, we started with, ‘Thor’s on a mission of vengeance.’ And then we were like, ‘He was on a mission of vengeance in the last movie. This is all this guy ever does! And [he] fails, all the time. Let’s drive him into a wall and see what happens.’”
They racked their brains to come up with the final version: “He just got drunk and fat.” Chris Hemsworth had previously asked the writers to make Thor funnier in Infinity War as he’d been transformed in Thor: Ragnarok.
3 The Living Tribunal joins the MCU
According to the Endgame writers, an early draft would’ve introduced us to the Living Tribunal, an all-powerful cosmic entity with three heads that acts as a judge presiding over other all-powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel universe, such as Death and Eternity.
However, according to Stephen McFeely, it just didn’t fit in: “It would indicate a whole different level of architecture to the universe and I think that was too much to just throw in.” Endgame is already a busy film, with dozens of main cast members, so introducing a whole new superpowered character might’ve been a step too far.
2 Hawkeye sacrifices himself on Vormir instead of Black Widow
The Vormir scene is one of the most controversial sequences in Avengers: Endgame. A lot of fans felt that the scene failed Black Widow, who sacrificed herself to gain the Soul Stone. For a while during that scene, it was unclear who would make the sacrifice.
Co-writer Stephen McFeely has explained that in an early draft, Hawkeye ‘won’ and sacrificed himself, saving Black Widow, but a female crew member who found Widow’s sacrifice empowering changed their minds: “Jen Underdahl, our visual effects producer, read an outline or draft where Hawkeye goes over. And she goes, ‘Don’t you take this away from her.’ I actually get emotional thinking about it.”
1 Tony has a vision of grown-up Morgan after snapping his fingers
The surprising ending of Avengers: Endgame saw Tony Stark nab the Infinity Stones from Thanos, do a finger-snap of his own to fix everything, and then die in Pepper’s arms. For months now, Marvel fans have been speculating about what role 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford might be playing in Endgame. In the final cut of the movie, she’s nowhere to be seen.
Apparently, she appeared in a vision that Tony would’ve had after snapping his fingers. He’d go to what Joe Russo calls “the metaphysical way station” where Thanos found tranquillity after snapping his own fingers. There, he’d see a teenage Morgan telling him what he did to save the world, despite leaving her to grow up fatherless, was okay. According to Anthony Russo, they cut it for a good reason: “What we realized about it was we didn’t feel an emotional association with the adult version of his daughter. So, it wasn’t ringing to us and resonating with us on an emotional level.”