Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely admit they were also confused by some inconsistencies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On its 19th film, Marvel Studios is bringing together the whole MCU in what will be the beginning of the culmination of everything that has transpired in the MCU since 2008's Iron Man. The film pits the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and some of the MCU's independent heroes against Mad Titan Thanos and his children, The Black Order, as they make sure that that the villainous team doesn't get their hands on the six Infinity Gems needed to execute their universe altering plans.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who partner up with Markus and McFeely for the third time following Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America Civil War, Infinity War has a lot riding on its shoulders. On top of making sure that every MCU superhero in the film gets their fair share of the spotlight, it also needs to effectively introduce Thanos and set the stage for next year's Phase 3 capper.
Screen Rant was part of a group interview with Markus and McFeely during our Infinity War set visit last summer. The writing pair discussed their process for writing MCU's biggest spectacle yet, and also addressed the difficulties that come with tying everything in the MCU together, given everything that was established in previous films in the franchise:
You called Thanos an amoral philosopher, and I’m curious because I don’t think he’s literally talking to the Devil and you don’t need to confirm or deny that, but he’s not just going to be spouting his philosophy out. Can you say anything about who’s Thanos’ supporting cast? How did you crack that?
STEPHEN MCFEELY: Yes, you needed to make sure that he wasn’t just all by himself. It also means that he didn’t have the same scene over and over again as he went collecting stones and knocked people around. That’s how you get this sort of tapestry film where he has emissaries who are doing some of his work while he is doing a lot of his own heavy lifting.
He at the end of Ant-Man or whatever said “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”
STEPHEN MCFEELY: It’s the end of Ultron.
STEPHEN MCFEELY: Not our movie. *laughter*
CHRISTOPHER MARKUS: And we’ve all sat there and went, “What the hell is he talking about? Where was he when he did that?”
There was also the other gauntlet in Guardians.
STEPHEN MCFEELY: Another delightful, delightful problem.
CHRISTOPHER MARKUS: Odin’s a bit of a showman. Thanos turns out to have quite a few people to talk to both on his side and not on his side. Weirdly I think he’s the most understandable guy in the movie sometimes.
Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok comedically addressed the mystery of the gauntlet by having Cate Blanchett's Hela say that the one in Odin's vault is fake. She even swatted it out for good dramatic measure. Still, it's a wonder that Markus and McFeely were able to connect Thanos' ominous lines to elements from the previous MCU films - not just the post-credits scene from Age of Ultron, but also the one from the first Avengers. During his big screen debut in Joss Whedon's 2012's film, the mention of death evoked a creepy grin from the mad Titan. At that time, many presumed that this was a reference to Death the individual, who serves to motivate Thanos to wipe out half the universe in the comics.
It's certainly possible that the minds behind the MCU had originally intended for Thanos' storyline to remain largely faithful to his arc in the comics, before they decided to go in a different direction following the release of the first Avengers movie. If that's the case, then it would help to explain some of the inconsistencies in the MCU that have arisen over the last six years. At the same time, giving the Mad Titan a more complication motivation (see: Titan's destruction) for his actions could make Thanos a more compelling and empathetic antagonist in the MCU than he ever was in the comics.
With Avengers: Infinity War debuting in less than six weeks, fans won't have to wait long to find out whether or not everything worked out for the best in this respect. Of course, even if Thanos turns out to be a great villain in spite of these inconsistencies over the years, that won't address what might be the biggest continuity issue in the MCU - namely, the timeline plot holes that have come to light since Spider-Man: Homecoming hit theaters last year.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018