While the reversal of Thanos’ genocidal snap was a development that just about everyone saw coming, the return of the MCU’s fallen heroes still made for one of the biggest, most crowd-pleasing moments in Avengers: Endgame, and one that co-writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus had no intention of wasting.
In the new book Avengers: Endgame – The Art of the Movie, the two scribes discuss their decision to delay the arrival of Black Panther, Spider-Man and the rest of the gang until a crucial moment in the fight against Thanos. According to McFeely, they initially considered bringing back the dusted characters right after the Mad Titan’s snap was undone:
“[We] asked ourselves often, ‘What does it mean to bring everybody back? What is the best way to do that?’ We certainly tried a version where everyone came back, and you knew it immediately, and there they were. Maybe they all came back to wherever you wish them to come back to, and then Thanos attacked them all at once, but doing that prevented us from a really heroic reveal.”
Markus goes on to argue that holding off on the big reveal until later in the climax allowed for some lingering tension that we wouldn’t have got if the heroes had returned straight away:
“It made the fight feel like an afterthought because they had accomplished their goal. Even if those people are brought back when Hulk snaps his fingers, you still have that lingering feeling that all is not resolved yet.”
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When all the heroes finally do make their appearance via Doctor Strange’s portals, the result is easily the MCU’s biggest crossover moment to date, and in all likelihood, it’ll be a good few years before Marvel even attempts another all-star battle on this scale again.
While the climax of Avengers: Endgame was effectively one big tribute to the MCU and all the characters it’s brought to our screens over the years, the film’s final stretch also resolved many of the saga’s key character arcs and plot threads. So while the Marvel universe isn’t exactly back to square one now, the franchise will still be making a fresh start of sorts going forward as it builds up to the next major ensemble film.