Avengers: Infinity War Writer And Director Would Have Included Fewer Infinity Stones

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Despite its hefty two-and-a-half-hour runtime, Thanos isn’t exactly at a loss for things to do over the course of Avengers: Infinity War, with his genocidal goal requiring that he acquires all six Infinity Stones from across the galaxy.

This interplanetary undertaking forms the narrative backbone of the recent Marvel mega-hit, but if you ask the film’s co-writer Stephen McFeely and co-director Joe Russo, such an extensive multi-part mission might have been a bit much for one feature film. Speaking on the audio commentary track for the Infinity War home video release, the pair explained that if the six stones hadn’t been a pre-established part of Marvel lore then the movie probably wouldn’t have included so many of them.

“…This is a movie that rewards your investment. If you know the other movies, I think you’ll have a greater chance of being delighted by it. If you’re fresh to these movies, we hold your hand a little bit early on, and tell you about the stones and what they might do and how valuable they are to the story.

Joe: And what better way to do that than through magic?

McFeely: Right, right.

Joe: Now what’s also interesting in the film is that two of the characters that the audience ostensibly cares a lot about are carrying around stones. So they’re MacGuffins. Doctor strange being one and Vision being the other.

McFeely: If we created the Infinity Stones in a vacuum, I’m sure we would not have decided there were six of them.

Joe: Yes

McFeely: Six MacGuffins is a lot for a story.”

Ultimately, the team succeeded in integrating all six of these MacGuffins into the narrative, building up to an apocalyptic climax in which the Mad Titan put the entire set to use. Incidentally, the sheer quantity of Infinity Stones did prove a little much for the VFX department, who initially intended to visually draw on the effects of all the stones in the genocidal dusting sequence. Ultimately, the imagery proved a little too messy, with the team instead opting to only factor the Power Stone into the disintegration effect.

Similarly, it’s quite possible that the film’s writers could’ve conceived a tighter, better paced, and all round more compelling story if Thanos didn’t have so many assignments on his plate. But either way, given all the box office records that Avengers: Infinity War has managed to break, it’s hard to imagine that anyone at Marvel Studios is too broken up about it.

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