There’s a moment in the big finale of Avengers: Endgame where Captain America solely stares down Thanos’ astonishing army comprised of numerous forces from earlier Marvel films. The Chitauri, Sakaarans, Outriders, and Black Order all take to their positions, ready to rip the super soldier to shreds. It’s an incredible sight, one of the most awe-inspiring in the entire series, but originally, the filmmakers wanted to include even more villains. Specifically, the Thor series’ Dark Elves.
Despite being one of the lowest rated MCU movies on Rotten Tomatoes and often overlooked by even the most diehard Marvel fans, Thor: The Dark World wound up playing a massive role in the plot of Endgame. A good chunk of the movie revolves around Rocket Raccoon and Thor going back in time to steal the Reality Stone from Asgard. There, the incredibly depressed God of Thunder runs into his mother for the last time, as he knows she’ll soon be killed in an attack by the Dark Elves. It’s a powerful scene, and one of the movie’s quieter moments, but the filmmakers originally intended for it to come back full circle later on, with the Dark Elves popping up one more time in Endgame’s big finale.
In an interview with /Film, Matt Aitken, the visual effects supervisor for Weta Digital, revealed that the Dark Elves were all set to appear, but were cut early on in the pre-production process:
“The Dark Elves were mentioned, but we never got as far as rigging them or making them for the battle.”
The final fight must have consisted of a few dozen of Marvel’s biggest characters, so the Dark Elves’ presence wasn’t exactly missed. In fact, while almost every hero got a moment to shine, most of the villains were treated like cannon fodder; a faceless army that filled out the playing field. While I’d be surprised if more than only the most eagle-eyed of viewers could tell the difference in the Skaaran and Chitauri forces, the film did a great job of making Earth’s Mightiest Heroes feel overwhelmed for the majority of the fight.
Introducing the Thor villains would’ve also required an explanation as to why they were now working for Thanos. The end of The Dark World found most of the Dark Elves’ forces depleted and leaderless. Though it’s believable that Thanos could’ve usurped them, it’s an extra layer of the story that I’m sure the filmmakers just didn’t feel like addressing.
Overall, the final battle of Avengers: Endgame served as an incredible culmination of 22 Marvel movies, nearly perfect just the way it was, even without the Dark Elves. But who knows, there’s always a chance they could pop up in one Marvel Studios’ numerous streaming series coming to Disney Plus in the near future. After all, Loki’s still out there somewhere, and I’m sure he’s itching to take on a new army.