Early Avengers: Infinity War drafts featured a reunion between Tony Stark/Iron Man and Steve Rogers/Captain America. It had been two years since the events of Captain America: Civil War when Avengers 3 picked up. While the film brought together all pockets of the MCU as the heroes geared up to face Thanos, two of the Avengers' most prominent members remained separated from each other to the disappointment of their fans. But as it turns out, it wasn't always the case.
Suffering the consequences of their actions in Civil War, Steve and his team had been operating underground as the MCU's version of the Secret Avengers from the comics. Tony, on the other hand, had been keeping himself busy, reluctantly mentoring Peter Parker and getting engaged to Pepper Potts. But when duty calls, the two were up to the task, leading the Titan and Wakanda crews against Thanos and his evil minions. Unfortunately, despite their gallant efforts, the Mad Titan still emerged on top, successfully wiping half of life in the universe after collecting all six Infinity Stones.
Writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus previously revealed that Tony Stark and Steve Rogers were supposed to reunite before Thanos' arrival in early drafts of the film but scrapped the idea, citing how their reunion could take away attention from Thanos. Now, co-director Joe Russo and McFeely further elaborate why they ultimately decided against it on the Infinity War commentary as part of the movie's home video release:
Joe Russo: "Now, what's interesting about these characters is that they are all heroes. And that, irrespective of the events of Civil War, and the fact that they caused physical damage to Rhodey, when aliens show up with the intent to destroy the Earth, he does not hesitate, as a hero, to invite in other heroes who can help him defend the planet. And I think it will be a much different situation if Tony were here. If Tony and Steve had to see each other for the first time, it would be much more complicated."
Stephen McFeely: "Which is why we didn't do it. We tried in a few drafts and it ground things to a halt."
The decision to keep Tony and Steve separated in Infinity War will only make their expected reunion in Avengers 4 more emotional. At the start of the film, Tony was still clearly struggling with the idea that Steve knew who killed his parents, and yet, he never said anything about it. The only reason he was going to make the call at the beginning of the film was because Bruce cajoled him in doing so. After realizing that his worst nightmare just came true, it's more likely that he'll put defeating Thanos as his top priority, willingly setting aside the ugly history between him and Steve if it's the only way to restore peace and order in the universe.
Additionally, this also preserves the integrity of Civil War's narrative. Marvel Studios admitted that the main motivation to make the movie was to break the Avengers apart, allowing Thanos to strike at Earth's most vulnerable time with no official team defending it by the time Infinity War rolled around. If Tony and Steve patched things up the next film they both appeared together, it would've weakened Cap 3's impact in the MCU's overall story. It would've also highlighted criticisms about the franchise having no real stakes.
Avengers: Infinity War is available now for digital and streaming, coming to Blu-ray on August 14th.
- 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 02, 2019