Few films need as little introduction as Avengers: Endgame, Marvel’s final, all conquering fantasy-crossover extravaganza, and there are few facets to it that superfans haven’t already micro-analyzed into oblivion. Props then to Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for dropping some morsels of information that fans won’t have heard – alternate story ideas that ultimately went unused, but will no doubt be intriguing for aficionados of the franchise.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Markus and McFeely shone some light on concepts for Endgame and its predecessor Avengers: Infinity War that never made it to production:
Markus : “There was a sequence in [Infinity War] where they went into the places in the Doctor Strange universe called the Mindscape and everyone faces themselves. It was great but had absolutely nothing to do with anything.
When asked how that sequence played out, McFeely elaborated:
McFeely: The Hulk refuses to come out, if you remember, and [in the discarded storyline] they eventually came to a realization or a compromise and he busted out of the Iron Man suit and beats the heck out of this [monster]. That whole Third Act is a march toward losing, and this Hulk scene is a big win, right? It’s a guy solving his problem and being a funny character because now, he’s eloquent. We had to, at the last second, scrap all that, put aside all these scenes that used to have Smart Hulk and then re-shoot the First Act of Endgame, going to Thanos’ country lodge, that used to have the Smart Hulk.
Markus: “We wanted everybody to have this enormous journey in the five year jump [after the Thanos snap], and to really see, in sometimes shocking ways, how the loss had affected them. We hadn’t given Banner [a change] because we had transformed him earlier, and he had nowhere to go. And suddenly by needing to take it out of the first movie, it was the perfect thing.”
Storyboards for these films – epics of preposterous proportions – likely look as sprawling as the finished article, and one can envisage that these fragments barely scratch the surface of potential story destinations they floated. Even without them, Avengers: Endgame clocked in at over 3 hours, perhaps suggesting even firmer editorial supervision was required (Infinity War was a comparatively lean 149 minutes).
As for the ultimate fate of these never-to-be-filmed scenarios? They’ve been consigned to an alternate dimension of an altogether different kind. Fitting, don’t you think?