While some viewers have speculated that Thanos only really needed the Reality Stone to initiate the famous “snappening” of Avengers: Infinity War, the fact remains that the Mad Titan felt he had to draw on the power of all six Infinity Stones to wipe out half the life in the universe. Nonetheless, according to VFX supervisor Dan DeLeeuw, one particular Stone factored into the specific visual of the characters turning to dust.
“The Power Stone was blipping them out of existence,” DeLeeuw reported in an interview with Inverse. Indeed, the Infinity War dusting footage is strongly reminiscent of the disintegration effect we observe from the Power Stone when the MacGuffin is first introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy. The VFX supervisor of the last two Captain America movies went on to explain how early plans had each of the six stones somehow factor into the genocidal imagery at the climax of Infinity War.
“All the Infinity Stones have their signature color and appearance as a visual effect,” DeLeeuw said. “So the ‘blip out,’ we thought, ‘What would all the stones do to a person, blipping them out?’”
Ultimately, this plan was scrapped when it was found that incorporating these six elements into the visuals was more trouble than it was worth.
“We had concept art combining all those things, and it was getting too busy,” he explained. “It became too complicated. It was stepping on what the actors were doing. So it became ‘body turns to ash.’ We peeled away all those layers and focused on that one [Power Stone], deciding how quickly it would consume someone, what pattern it would consume them.”
DeLeeuw makes a fair point. In a sequence as unusually grim as the Avengers: Infinity War conclusion, it’s probably best to let the agonized performances of the cast come through as much as possible, without too many post-production effects to distract from the core emotions of the sequence.
As for where we go from here, Avengers 4 is hitting theaters on May 3rd, 2019, and there’s a distinct possibility that DeLeeuw has some visuals lined up to convey the return of all these dusted heroes.