Avengers: Endgame may have been three whole hours long, but there was so much to do in the conclusion to the Infinity Saga that some key details still ended up on the cutting room floor. For instance, the full script for the movie – which arrived online last month – reveals that there was originally a reason behind a major plot point that goes unexplained in the film itself. The mystery that’s solved? How Tony Stark knew to time travel back to the 1970s.
As part of the Time Heist, Iron Man and Ant-Man attempt to pinch the Space Stone from New York 2012. However, due to an unforeseen mishap involving the Hulk and a flight of stairs, this plan goes wrong and Loki escapes with the Tesseract. All isn’t lost, though, as Tony realizes that he and Captain America can go back somewhere else to collect the Stone, as well as grabbing some extra Pym Particles while there. Their destination is Camp Lehigh, a S.H.I.E.L.D. base and Steve’s old stomping ground, in 1970.
In the finished cut, Tony is just completing his explanation to Cap before the two of them zip off into the past, which means we don’t learn why he’s so sure of this place and date. A brief scene description in the script, however, teases the thinking behind it.
Earlier in the film, when Tony had just cracked the secret of time travel, one sequence begins with Pepper reading on the sofa in the Stark cabin before her husband reveals the news to her. And according to the script, there was to have been an additional shot of some old photos…
“PHOTOS crowd a side table: Pepper, Morgan, Tony. Even one of HOWARD STARK, PEGGY CARTER & HANK PYM UNDER A SHIELD SYMBOL.”
Note that those three emboldened names all appear in the Camp Lehigh scenes. So, without spelling it out, this shot would’ve perfectly set up Tony’s later insistence that all these folks would be at this location at that time – because he’s got photographic evidence of that.
Ultimately, this small moment must have been a victim of the Russos looking to remove any extraneous details. After all, even if it provided some much-needed context, this shot must have been deemed inessential to the plot of Avengers: Endgame and it’s currently unclear whether it was even filmed or not.