For a movie filled with more main characters than any other film in history, Avengers: Endgame did a good job of focussing on smaller, more intimate interactions between individual heroes in the midst of the universe-threatening events taking place. One such moving moment was when Tony Stark and Peter Parker reunite in the middle of the final battle, with Tony being so overwhelmed after seeing Peter whole and healthy again that he impulsively hugs him in a rare display of affection.
Jeff Ford, the editor of the movie, recently spoke to /Film about how different that scene initially was though, and explained the following to the outlet:
“The first time we shot it, Peter and Tony reunite and Pepper’s nearby, and Tony goes, ‘Uh, Peter, do you know Pepper?” “Nice to meet you! It’s one of those crazy meet-cutes in the middle of a fight. He hugs him and they have this thing, but it felt very incidental, like they ran into each other at an airport or something. We watched it, and they were both great in the scene, but it was like a comedy scene, so it had this schtick quality to it.
By the way, we did not yet know how powerful Peter disappearing was [in Infinity War] when we shot that first version. We had shot it, I think, but we hadn’t tested it, we hadn’t lived with it and actually done the [effect] of [him] going away, so when the audience had that reaction, we’re like, this reunion is different now. It’s a different thing.”
So, it seems the initial reading of the scene by the filmmakers was to have it be a lighter moment to break up the tension of the battle taking place. Thankfully, wiser heads prevailed in the end. While both Tony and Peter are known for bringing humor to their scenes, Stark with his wiseacre attitude and Parker with his awkwardness and naïveté, the last time the two had shared a scene in Avengers: Infinity War was when Peter had been dusted while lying in Tony’s arms, possibly the most gut-wrenching moment in the film.
To go from that to celebrating their reunion with a joke would have felt incredibly forced, not to mention pissed off every single person in the audience. While the MCU is known for its quippy banter between heroes and keeping things light right up until the very end, the approach often runs the risk of reducing the impact of the serious moments when they do occur.
When Tony and Peter finally did share their fervent hug at the end of Avengers: Endgame, it underlined the father-son type bond that existed between the two. Which was what made Spider-Man’s next film, where we see Peter struggling to live up to the legacy of Iron Man, all the more poignant.