Jim Starlin got worried about Avengers: Infinity War after seeing Justice League. The Thanos creator was aware of the creative process of bringing to one of his most notable works on the big screen, even getting to visit the set of the twin Avengers sequels while they were in production. And considering the massive pressure that came with introducing the iconic Marvel villain in the MCU, Starlin was understandably nervous about Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Apparently, Starlin's anxiety over the film, particularly Infinity War was made worse after seeing Justice League. The 2017 film brought together DC's best superheroes for the first time to battle an extraterrestrial threat in Steppenwolf. The narrative is similar, just a bit more complicated in Infinity War. Nonetheless, the comic book writer didn't like what he saw in the Warner Bros. project that it made him more jittery about what Marvel Studios was trying to do.
Speaking with CinemaBlend (via CBR), Starlin recalled a time when Infinity War co-director Joe Russo called him to discuss how they're going to execute Thanos' backstory in the film. Given the limited runtime, they needed to come up with a way to efficiently tell his story. The writer's mind immediately went to how Justice League established Steppenwolf, causing him to worry.
"[Co-director] Joe Russo called me up like about a month before Infinity War came out and said, ‘Well, we gotta talk about all that stuff, how there was a Thanos backstory, because the movie was gonna be two and a half hours long, and they only want two hours on this one.'
I had made the mistake of watching the Justice League movie about a week before. When he told me this, I started thinking, ‘It’s going to be just like the Justice League [movie], where Thanos comes in...’ and I’m going, oh my goodness."
While Marvel Studios had been teasing thee existence of Thanos since 2011's Thor, the Mad Titan had yet to officially star in a movie. The Mad Titan made his on-screen debut during 2012's The Avengers' post-credit scene, and was in a handful of cameos over the years, but it wasn't until Infinity War when he fully debuted. In theory, the idea to introduce the MCU's biggest villain in an already jam-packed movie was catastrophic. And yet, somehow directors Joe and Anthony Russo, as well as writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely found a way to do it by putting him at the forefront of the narrative. Similarly, Steppenwolf's first official appearance was in Justice League, even their primary journeys are alike - collect the McGuffins as the heroes attempt to foil their evil plans. Sadly, between a significantly-changed original narrative from director Zack Snyder and other behind-the-scenes drama, the Warner Bros. film wasn't as successful in their endeavor.
Starlin seems to be referring to the cut backstory of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. It sounds like the said bit was left on the editing room floor after the movie ran a bit too long than Marvel Studios is comfortable with. They already let go of the supposed big battle in Titan for the Power Stone, and yet, the film still needs to be condensed. The decision to get rid of said sequence ultimately was for the better since Avengers 3 was effectively able to establish the Mad Titan despite not going deeper into his back story.
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