With an ambitious two and a half-hour runtime, you’d think Anthony and Joe Russo somehow managed to pack every tidbit of narrative into Avengers: Infinity War, but given that some forty-odd Marvel dramatis personae grace the screen, we quickly learned upon release that it would’ve been an impossible feat.
To help promote the home video launch of the film – which is now available on your preferred digital platform, by the way – the directing duo recently sat down with Entertainment Tonight and discussed their latest ticket booth titan. They revealed quite a bit of juicy insight in the process, too, and according to Joe, setting the titular supergroup up for success required some serious “stripping.”
“There were early drafts of the script that were insane, probably had a hundred speaking parts. [There were] different approaches to style in terms of execution. One even had Thanos narrating most of the movie.”
“So it gave us a lot of flexibility in terms of how much story we can jam into it. But at a certain point, you know, you get 20 pages into it [and] it was so dense, you’re like, ‘Nobody’s going to be able to follow this.’ So we just started stripping things out.”
Joe’s brother Anthony then chimed in, stating that while ambition can be a marvelous attribute for a storyteller, it can also be very detrimental. As such, it’s imperative to find the correct equilibrium.
“It’s a tough balance. We love the idea of these movies being a culmination of everything that’s happened in the MCU, so our ambition as storytellers is to tell the total story and include as many characters as we can.”
“But of course, we want to find the right balance to make sure that we’re not overreaching, to make sure that the story we are telling with each character is really compelling and rich. So yeah, we do have to find that balance as we step through the script with [screenwriters Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely.”
Screenplay trouble is nothing new to Anthony and Joe Russo, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for that matter. Earlier in the year, the dynamic directing duo confirmed that fake script pages for Avengers: Infinity War were written and distributed amongst the cast in order to “protect the secrets of the movie.”
Come to think of it, with actors like Tom Holland and Mark Ruffalo on board, it probably is best if the highest grossing film franchise of all-time sticks to a “need to know basis.”