Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the writers behind Avengers: Endgame, have revealed alternate time travel missions that were considered, but ultimately scrapped in favor of the simplicity of what's shown in the film. The possibility of Avengers: Endgame including time travel as a key aspect of its plot first was theorized when set photos teased a recreation of the Battle of New York from The Avengers, but with a few twists. Tony Stark was older, Ant-Man was present, and Captain America joined them in wearing strange devices on their hands.
The theories of time travel being heavily incorporated into Avengers: Endgame turned out to be true, and the Battle of New York in 2012 was one of four time periods that the movie revisited. In total, the film and the Avengers went to 2012, Asgard in 2013, Vormir and Morag in 2014, and Camp Lehigh in 1970. This gave the movie the opportunity to revisit locations and times from The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War, and the first two Captain America movies.
In a new spoiler-filled interview with The New York Times, longtime MCU writers Markus and McFeely shared new details on what other events and movies Avengers: Endgame nearly revisited thanks to time travel. During the scripting phase, there were plans for Tony to go to Asgard, an underwater set piece at Morag, and a trip to the Triskelion.
McFeely: 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.
Markus: Thor had long scenes with Natalie Portman. And Morag was hugely complicated.
McFeely: 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.
Markus: There were entirely other trips taken. They went to the Triskelion at one point to get the [Tesseract], and then somebody was going to get into a car and drive to Doctor Strange’s house.
From these alternate missions, it's clear that Markus and McFeely tried many different ideas during the process, but that the bones of them were largely in place. Avengers: Endgame still goes back to Asgard during the time when the Tesseract and Aether are there, we just didn't get to see Iron Man's invisible suit or his fight with Heimdall or the scenes between Thor and Jane Foster. Seeing Morag completely submerged - instead of the dry state it becomes every 300 years - would make for a great set piece, while a trip to Triskelion could've been an alternate plan to get Pym Particles and the Tesseract potentially.
As fun as these alternate versions sound, even the writers admitted in the interview that it sounds crazy. The main reason for the various locations at first was because they wanted to avoid revisiting the Battle of New York and the scene potentially coming off as pandering to the fans. Thankfully, it was co-director Joe Russo who stepped in and told them that The Avengers was the way to go. These other locations would've given Avengers: Endgame some pieces of build up that were completely different, and may have even increased the action, but the time travel scenes work incredibly well anyways.
Source: The New York Times
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