Marvel published The Art of Avengers: Infinity War, a book filled with concept art for Avengers: Infinity War, which reveals new details about the blockbuster movie. In the foreword, Marvel Studios head of visual development Ryan Meinerding recalled one of the first meetings he had with president Kevin Feige about the film. Even at this early stage, Feige insisted that he wanted the concept art for the movie to push the limits of anything Marvel Studios had done before.
The theatrical cut certainly did that, bringing together all corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and then killing off half of its heroes in one fell swoop thanks to Thanos' cliffhanger snap. The Art of Avengers: Infinity War reveals the painstaking work that went on behind the scenes, with concept artists running through countless different iterations of key characters. It hints at entirely different narrative twists, explores the technology behind Iron Man's new armor, and even gives what may be a subtle hint towards an Eternals movie.
- This Page: The Story of Avengers: Infinity War
- Page 2: Thanos and the Black Order
- Page 3: A Closer Look at the Avengers - And Hints of the Eternals
Why Didn't Thanos Kill the Avengers in Combat?
One of the most curious questions about Avengers: Infinity War was just why Thanos didn't kill any of the Avengers in combat. That was particularly the case when he even wound up going head-to-head against even normal humans like Black Widow and Okoye. The Art of Avengers: Infinity War finally answered this; it revealed that Thanos simply couldn't be bothered to kill them. As Meinerding explained:
"The plan of getting all the Infinity Stones is putting [Thanos] in the position of being so powerful that he is sort of calmer, more single-minded, and more reasonable. He is not necessarily worried about killing the heroes. As long as he ends up with the stones, he can accomplish what he wants to."
Some Radically Different Versions of Infinity War's Plot
Concept art for Avengers: Infinity War clearly shows some very different versions of the plot. It's important to note fans have no way of knowing how seriously any of these ideas were considered, of course; studios frequently commission concept art to help screenwriters work out how things may look visually, and ideas are often swiftly discarded during the pre-production phase.
One of the most fascinating examples is a piece of concept art showing Spider-Man battling a group of Outriders in New York. It seems that, at some stage, one version of the script involved the Black Order unleashing a small group of Outriders on the city. In the concept art, Doctor Strange has already been defeated, and Peter comes to his rescue; he's even webbed him up to protect him. While it would have been fascinating to see how Spider-Man fared against the Outriders, in dramatic terms it made sense to save their reveal until the film's third act. The scenes in Edinburgh originally played out very differently, too. At first, the Russos set it around Christmastime, with the Children of Thanos arriving amid large crowds and people dressed as Santa Clause. It was too busy, though, so Marvel dropped the idea and went for a simpler sequence in which the Black Order hunted Vision and Scarlet Witch at night.
Meanwhile, it seems Thor's quest to Nidavellir went through a number of different drafts. In some, he didn't acquire Stormbreaker at all, and instead is shown wielding a gun of some sort. There were versions where Thor didn't forget Stormbreaker; instead, he discovered the powerful weapon. Most intriguing of all is a single piece of concept art in which Thor and Rocket battle what appears to be the Midgard Serpent, a core part of the Ragnarok mythology. Naturally, given this arc changed shape so many times it's hardly surprising that Nidavellir itself went through many different iterations.
The "Wizard's Duel" Was Even More Stunning
The clash between Thanos and Doctor Strange is one of the highlights of Avengers: Infinity War, and Marvel apparently referred to that as the "Wizard's Duel." There's a vast array of concept art showing different versions of the Wizard's Duel, and it's hard not to get the sense that Marvel just gave their artists license to experiment. "Audiences only got to see a glimpse of what he [Doctor Strange] was like in his own movie," producer Trinh Tran explained, "but in Infinity War we really wanted to put him against Thanos and give them a moment, because Thanos had a majority of the stones so he had quite a bit of power to play with."
Incredibly, it looks as though Marvel even toyed with the idea of having Strange send Thanos on a "Magical Mystery Tour" through countless dimensions as they battled. Certainly some of the art seems to show them waging war in the Mirror Dimension.
The Final Battle of Wakanda Was Originally Very Different
There's strong evidence that the Battle of Wakanda originally ended in a very different way. One piece of concept art shows Thanos being held in place by all the Avengers, as Thor approaches for his killing blow. The God of Thunder still chose not to go for the head, though, and, as a result, the snap still happened. It's a fascinating alternate approach, but the idea of Thanos being held in place was presumably switched to the Battle of Titan. Interestingly, there's a throwaway reference to War Machine playing a bigger role, and even wearing two different sets of armor.
The concept art also suggests that the Hulk would have played a part in this battle. It's long been believed that Marvel originally planned the Hulk to tear his way out of the Hulkbuster armor during the Battle of Wakanda. That was apparently confirmed in May, when official Infinity War merchandise gave fans a chance to purchase an action figure inspired by the idea. The Art of Avengers: Infinity War supports this, with one piece of concept art showing the Hulk participating in a desperate battle against the Mad Titan in Wakanda.
Page 2 of 3: Thanos and the Black Order
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019