Now that Avengers: Infinity War has been released on Blu-ray and digital, plenty of behind-the-scenes secrets have come to light.
Naturally, many elements of the film changed from the writing, to filming, to editing stages. Scenes were added and removed, characters had different responsibilities, and plenty of big changes were made to the movie's plot. That's not even counting all of the alterations from the comic books.
For this list, we're going to dive into Infinity War's production to see just how much could have been different from what we got. So much of the movie is already iconic that it's hard to imagine it any other way, but the biggest superhero movie ever is vastly different from the way it was initially designed.
This list is mainly going to focus on changes that come from behind-the-scenes decisions, but it'll also include some deceptive marketing tricks and even elements from the comics that received some surprising overhauls. Seriously, the comics might look similar, but Infinity War seems like a totally different beast in hindsight.
From the large cast of characters, to the converging plotlines, to the giant action set-pieces, there are a ton of moving parts in Avengers: Infinity War. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo were tasked with making a giant superhero-themed puzzle, but by making the tough decisions (and aided by competent directing skills), it turned out to be one of the biggest hits in history. With that said, check out these changes and see what could have been. Would it have been better, or worse?
Here are 20 Ways Avengers: Infinity War Was Almost Completely Different.
20 Thanos In The Friendzone
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos is all about balance. He wields the Infinity Gauntlet to destroy half of every population in order to save the universe's resources. In the comics though, his motivation is way more personal.
Comic book Thanos is in love with Mistress Death — Marvel's interpretation of the Grim Reaper — and he wants to win her over. As one might imagine, she is hard to impress and is only wooed by the concept she's named after.
Thanos decides to collect the Infinity Stones and destroy half the universe so that she will take his romantic advances seriously.
Sounds like he just can't handle the "friend zone."
This was teased at the end of The Avengers, but Thanos' backstory and motivation were rewritten for Avengers: Infinity War.
19 Adam Warlock wins the Infinity Gauntlet
While he plays an integral role in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Adam Warlock is nowhere to be found in Infinity War.
Adam Warlock is an extremely powerful character in the Marvel universe.
He is the one who actually ends the battle over the Infinity Gauntlet by taking it for himself.
Warlock technically exists in the MCU, as teased at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. In a scene after the credits, Ayesha — leader of the Sovereign — claims to be creating the perfect lifeform. Adam Warlock's cocoon is then shown, suggesting he may turn up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
He didn't show up in Infinity War, but his role in the story may be fulfilled in Avengers 4 by Captain Marvel, another powerful cosmic hero.
18 Thanos' backstory was cut
Despite being the film's villain, Josh Brolin's Thanos ended up becoming the breakout star of Avengers: Infinity War. He gets way more attention and development than most Marvel movie villains, and he even stars in most of the movie's runtime.
It is no secret that a lot of scenes featuring Thanos were cut from the film, namely more footage involving his backstory.
Apparently, at least 30 minutes of Thanos content was cut from the movie, leading many to believe that the film can be re-edited to feature more of Thanos. Now that Infinity War has received a home release without said re-cut, it's unlikely that the world will ever see all of this unused content.
Regardless, it sounds like Marvel Studios put more emphasis on Thanos than fans will ever know.
17 Silver Surfer Arrives
In the film's prologue, Bruce Banner crashes through Doctor Strange's rooftop window, hysterically warning the Sorcerer that Thanos is on his way. This scene is ripped straight from the pages of Infinity Gauntlet, but with one major change — it stars Bruce Banner instead of the Silver Surfer.
In the comics, the scene plays out similarly, with an equally-hysterical Surfer warning of Thanos' arrival. However, Surfer couldn't show up, as he is a character that belongs to 20th Century Fox-- or at least he was during the making of this film.
Disney and Marvel Studios couldn't recreate the comic scene entirely. With that said, those characters will now belong to Disney after their acquisition of Fox. Perhaps Silver Surfer may show up in a future Marvel production.
16 Nebula's fate
Nebula has had a rough time in the MCU — abused by her father, constantly at war with her sister, having her body parts replaced with cybernetic components — so she's a surprisingly sympathetic villain. Things get worse for her in Infinity War though, as she is suspended in mid-air and pulled apart by Thanos as a form of torment.
The scenes in the film are difficult to watch, but the comics treat the character way worse.
In Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos keeps Nebula on the edge of life using the Gauntlet's power. The comic imagery is surprisingly disturbing and only worsened by the fact that Thanos considers his abuse an "artwork" to impress his Mistress with.
Naturally, that's way too dark (and really gross) for a film mainly marketed towards children and families.
15 Cap's Dramatic Entrance
For an Avengers film, Captain America has very little to do in it. Most fans expected Cap to get a spotlight in Infinity War, especially given his popularity after his second and third solo films.
Surprisingly, Cap shows up halfway through the film and doesn't do much else but fight and look great in a trendy new beard.
Cap's role was altered from script to script, but one draft had him in an even smaller role.
This early version hardly featured Cap at all, instead saving his crowd-pleasing arrival for the very last act of the film, likely during the battle in Wakanda.
It's unclear how this would have been implemented exactly, but it sounds like fans should be thankful that they got as much Cap in Infinity War as they did.
14 Black Widow and Hulk reunion
Fans weren't thrilled when Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner began a romance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. With that said, the plot thread hadn't been resolved and many wondered how it would in Infinity War.
While the movie has the two reunite, the only hint at their past relationship is a quick and awkward conversation.
However, Scarlet Johansson has spoken about a scene where their relationship was addressed — a scene so emotional that she was "devastated" after filming.
While this is only speculation, it sounds like Johansson may be describing something that didn't actually make the cut. The scene they share in the film is hardly emotional, so who knows what we actually could have gotten in its place.
13 Hulking Out Of The Hulkbuster
Once fans realized that Bruce Banner was piloting the massive Hulkbuster suit, it seemed likely that the real Hulk would eventually show up.
In the final film, the suit gets overwhelmed by enemies and knocked to the ground. Instead of the Hulk ripping out of it though, Thor shows up and saves the day. So what's the deal with all of the toys and merchandise that tease otherwise?
Action figure playsets and Funko Pop vinyl figures were sold that depict the Hulk doing just that — angrily ripping out of the Hulkbuster — but this is nowhere in Avengers: Infinity War. What gives?
This is either a thoughtful misdirection by Marvel to keep fans surprised, or an element of the movie that was changed later in development.
12 Cap and Iron Man's make-up scene
While some versions of the script saved Cap for the very end of the movie, others had him reunite with Tony Stark early on and play a starring role in the entire film. This is probably what most fans expected, especially given their bad blood from the events of Captain America: Civil War.
Sadly though, it seems that the reunion is being saved for Avengers 4, as the two don't share any scenes in Infinity War.
Seeing as the Avengers haven't technically come back together after their "breakup," it makes sense for this moment to come later in the saga. An emotional moment between Cap and Iron Man is likely on the horizon, but we'll all have to wait for Avengers 4 to see it.
11 Where's The Cosmic Cast?
While the quest for the Infinity Gauntlet is grandiose in the movies, it's even more over-the-top in the comics — namely because it's contains so many more of Marvel's weirdest cosmic characters.
Because of Thanos' new backstory, the movie omits his lifelong crush. The movie also has absolutely no references to Terraxia, a female Thanos-lookalike that acts as the Mad Titan's partner-in-villainy.
In the MCU, there are no references to Mephisto either, one of the most powerful demons in the Marvel universe. The film version also lacks the Living Tribunal, an omnipotent cosmic entity.
It's probably best to just google these odd comic creations, but just understand that Infinity War definitely lacks the psychedelic weirdness of its comic book counterpart by omitting these cast members.
10 The Snap Came Later in the movie
The cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War is perhaps its most memorable moment — Thanos collects the Stones, snaps his fingers, and destroys half the universe. Shockingly, the Avengers lose and the film ends on one of the biggest downers in superhero movies. However, that mind-blowing moment came later as the initial plan was to save the snap for Avengers 4.
The next installment would have opened with Thanos snapping his fingers, while Infinity War would have ended with a different cliffhanger: Thanos collecting the last Infinity Stone.
This ending felt too abrupt, and so it was altered to feel like a definitive endpoint. Ending on something so stagnant would have made that cliffhanger feel a bit less earned as well, cheapening the idea that Infinity War and Avengers 4 are actually two different stories.
9 Happy Hogan's Cameo
With the home release of Infinity War now in the hands of fans, it's clear that a lot of footage was cut from the film. One surprising deleted scene involves Tony Stark's close friend and bodyguard Happy Hogan, who shows up during Tony and Pepper's jog through Central Park.
Before Doctor Strange shows up to recruit Tony, Happy arrives in a golf cart and complains about dealing with the paparazzi.
Happy urges Tony and Pepper to hurry up and get married so that Happy can stop fending off nosy photographers. He spots one a few feet away sneaking some pictures, and so Happy drives off in angry pursuit.
This was likely cut to simplify an already lengthy film, but it's a cute scene that probably wouldn't have annoyed fans had Marvel Studios simply left it in.
8 Narration By Thanos
Of all the characters in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos has the most time on screen. He's practically the protagonist of the film, driving most of the action with each decision he makes. However, he was nearly the narrator of the entire story, according to directors Anthony and Joe Russo.
Obviously, the film is extremely ambitious in scope and could have gotten overcomplicated and out-of-hand very easily. The script went through hundreds of changes to simplify its plot and structure, and Thanos as the narrator seems to be an idea that was dropped early on.
Thanos already played such a huge role in the film, and perhaps making him the narrator seemed like a step too far.
7 Destruction of Xandar and the Nova Corps
First appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy, the planet Xandar was invaded by Ronan the Accuser over the acquisition of the Power Stone. When the Guardians successfully defended it, the Power Stone stayed on the planet under the protection of the Nova Corps-- until Thanos showed up.
It's revealed in Avengers: Infinity War that Thanos invaded Xandar and took the Infinity Stone for himself, supposedly decimating Xandar in the process. Naturally, fans expected this scene to show up in the film and was even written into the script, but it was omitted to for the sake of streamlining the movie.
There's also talk of the scene appearing in a future MCU film, but you certainly won't find it in Infinity War.
6 Thor Fights A Dragon
After losing his signature hammer Mjolnir in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor would need a new weapon for his screen time in Infinity War.
The process of giving Thor a new weapon went through several changes during the writing process. Each iteration varied in length and complexity, but some vastly changed the plot of the film.
While Thor's quest always involved space travel and a cosmic forge, early versions of the sequence had Thor interact with the ghost of his grandfather, Bor.
At one point, Thor would have even fought a dragon to acquire Stormbreaker.
However, in the final film, Thor travels to Nidavellir with the Rocket and Groot where they make the weapon in a forge alongside Peter Dinklage's Eitri the Dwarf King.
5 It Was Going To Be A Two-Parter
The MCU's Phase 3 films went through a handful of changes. Release dates were moved around, new films were added in, Inhumans was removed and turned into a failed television show, and Infinity War was a two-part saga that started with Infinity War Part I.
Infinity War Part I and Part II would receive more or less the same release dates as Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4 (which moved up to April 2019). The titles were changed to better reflect that the movies are separate stories and not one story split into two.
Whether that is actually the case is yet to be seen, but the decision was made more for marketing purposes than anything else.
4 Missing Crowd Shot
The first trailer for Infinity War went viral almost instantly, but there were a handful of trailer features that didn't make it into the actual movie. We'll get into those moments in-depth shortly, but this shot deserves an entry all its own.
The Avengers and Wakandans running in slowly motion is nowhere to be found in the final film.
This shot was made specifically for the trailers to wow audiences and help keep the movie's actual "wow" moments under wraps. The Wakandan army never actually makes it to the tree-line, Hulk doesn't show up in Wakanda, and the placement of all the heroes looks a bit too convenient to be real anyway.
For what it's worth, the shot itself went viral during Infinity War's ad campaign, and it makes for a pretty good gif too.
3 Thanos Is Banished
Another huge change from the comics comes at the end of the film, where Thanos retires after a job well-done. Well, at least that's what it is from his perspective.
While this moment technically comes from the comic storyline, Thanos does not vacation on an intergalactic farm by choice. He is banished there for eternity.
In the comics, Adam Warlock takes the Gauntlet and ends the war, banishing Thanos to the life of a farmer without fame or power.
For Thanos, it's one of the most humiliating punishments he can imagine.
The movie adapts this iconic comic book scene and inverts it at the same time, making a farmer's life his reward instead of his suffering. It's a clever idea, and one that satisfies comic book fans without sacrificing creativity.
2 Trailer Changes
Marvel Studios has a history of altering trailers to avoid releasing spoilers, and Avengers Infinity War is no different. The first trailer's crowd shot is elsewhere on this list, but that is just the start.
Some promos have Banner, Wong, and Doctor Strange frozen in time during the New York invasion. An entire scene between Banner and Black Widow never shows up. Captain America arrives in a different location than in the final film. A moment between Doctor Strange and Ebony Maw actually consists of clips from two different scenes.
In all of the trailers, certain Infinity Stones are edited out of the Gauntlet to avoid spoiling which ones Thanos finds first.
Whether it be a deceptively-edited scene or line that flat-out isn't in the movie, each trailer features some kind of fabricated moment.
1 Spidey Survives
Spider-Man's final scene is absolutely heartbreaking, but it could have easily been avoided. In early drafts of Infinity War's script, Spidey never actually went to space to fight Thanos — Falcon went instead.
Initially, he was chosen to accompany Iron Man to highlight their animosity after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Falcon moved into the Earth-based segments of the film and swapped roles with Spidey, which was meant to highlight his father-son relationship with Tony Stark.
This change probably would have prevented those depressing "I don't feel so good, Mr. Stark" memes from flooding our social media feeds and making us cry.
Do you like any of the Infinity War changes we almost got? Leave a comment before you go and share your thoughts.