Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, screenwriters of Avengers: Infinity War, have revealed that the film's cliffhanger ending was almost very different. In fact, the iconic scene in which Thanos snaps his fingers, erasing half the life in the universe, was initially saved for Avengers 4.
Infinity War reinvented the Mad Titan, removing Thanos's obsession with death and replacing it with an insane desire to "rebalance the universe." The Thanos of the MCU believes that the universe has finite resources, and that uncontrolled population growth will ultimately bring an end to all life. His proposed solution is to use the Infinity Gauntlet to erase half the life in the universe - and, in a shocking twist, the cliffhanger ending of Infinity War actually sees him achieve his goal.
Speaking to The New York Times, screenwriters Markus and McFeely revealed that in one of the early drafts of the script, the "snap" was actually reserved for the opening scenes of Avengers 4. It sounds as though the first film would have originally ended with Thanos acquiring the last Infinity Stone, with viewers left to speculate what happened next. As Markus explained, "What we realized is, it would feel more like a cliffhanger than we intended." That would have meant Avengers 4 became "a continuation of exactly what you were watching before," but the screenwriters wanted the films to feel like separate entities in their own right. Thus the snap became the tragic end of Infinity War, with Avengers 4 presumably exploring the cosmic repercussions of Thanos's action.
It's interesting to see just how much the screenwriters want these films to feel separate from one another. While there's clearly going to be a pronounced narrative link between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, Marvel no longer envisions the films as "Part I" and "Part II." While that was the original plan back when Marvel announced their Phase 3 slate, that has definitely changed.
The screenwriters are clearly delighted with the finished product. As McFeely explained, because the first film ends with the snap, "it’s really, I think, difficult to predict where we go next." He's certainly right; while set photos have suggested Avengers 4 is some sort of time-travel film, the reality is that the reason for the time-travel is still unexplained. It's even possible the space-time continuum is collapsing in upon itself in the wake of Thanos's genocidal action. Whatever the truth may be, we can be confident the "snap" will either be undone or averted; many of the characters killed off are confirmed to appear in their own sequels.
That means the stage is set for a rematch. Infinity War promised that Thanos will return, and he'll presumably cross paths with Earth's surviving heroes. It's time for the Mad Titan to learn why they're called the Avengers. As Tony Stark warned Loki in The Avengers, "If we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it."
Source: The New York Times
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- 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