Sometimes, I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that Avengers: Infinity War treated us to a scene wherein Spider-Man, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Mantis, Nebula and Drax all teamed up to face off with Thanos on a desolate alien planet. Their plan, in which every hero was given a moment to shine as they tried to swipe the Infinity Gauntlet off of the Mad Titan is Marvel at its best: equally funny, dramatic, and action-packed. Yet, the big battle scene almost featured a bit of an intermission that would’ve been set entirely around the Living Tribunal.
While fans of the comics need little introduction, for those who aren’t caught up on Marvel’s 50-plus-year history, the Living Tribunal is a cosmic entity who once tasked Doctor Strange with proving Earth isn’t worth destroying. The singular supreme power in the comics’ canon, the Living Tribunal is a giant golden figure with multiple faces that is tasked to judge and maintain balance over the entire Marvel Multiverse.
The MCU has featured a few cosmic entities in the past, as the celestials have popped up in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and The Eternals is forthcoming, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that the Living Tribunal nearly popped up in Infinity War.
According to their recent panel at San Diego Comic-Con, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely revealed that Doctor Strange nearly knocked Thanos’ mind through a “mindscape” during the big final battle. There, he would’ve found himself in front of the Living Tribunal, who would judge the Mad Titan and find him guilty of attempting to upset the cosmic balance of the universe.
Considering that was Thanos’ plan from the very start, obviously the character was guilty, but it’s probably for the best that audiences got to make up their own mind whether that makes him a villain or not. Having the almighty power of the multiverse declare him evil removes all ambiguity (and even takes the bite out of the Tribunal’s threateningly aloof nature). However, the real reason the scene was cut, according to Markus and McFeely, is that it wrecked the pacing of the battle sequence, which obviously tends to happen when you remove the central antagonist from the fight.
While it would’ve been a cool Easter egg for Marvel fans (who ever thought that the Living Tribunal would ever even be considered for a live action multi-million dollar blockbuster appearance?), it’s probably better off that a film as jam-packed as Avengers: Infinity War cut as many superfluous scenes as it could. But you can be the judge of that.
Source: The A.V. Club