Thanos is a brutal, brutal guy. That’s more than adequately portrayed across Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. However, this deleted scene would’ve definitely rammed that point home by giving us a window into how the Mad Titan treats his own soldiers, the monstrous Outriders.
Concept artist Jerad S. Merantz has shared some work of his on Instagram which reveals aborted plans for the 2018 movie. The gruesome pieces seen below depict a decapitated Outrider head wired up to a bit of space-age machinery. In his caption, Merantz explains that the film would originally have seen the villain using his henchmen to spy on the Avengers. Thanos would then have chopped off their craniums and viewed their memories via this contraption.
“Here’s an early concept I did for #avengersinfinitywar,” reads Merantz’s description. “In early version of the script #Thanos was using the #outriders to spy on the #avengers. He would then remove their heads and plug them into these machines that would project their Memories for him to watch. It was a cool idea, but never made it in the final film.”
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Though this concept art wasn’t realized on screen, a similar idea was ultimately explored in Endgame. When present Nebula’s brainwaves interfere with 2014 Nebula’s mind, Thanos has her doppelgänger’s memories holographically projected, meaning he gets to spy on the Avengers. His callous disregard for the Ourtriders was also demonstrated later in the same movie, when he orders artillery to be fired at his own troops just to get Scarlet Witch off his back.
As for the decapitation angle, it was Thanos himself who lost his head in Endgame, thanks to Thor. What’s more, another deleted scene would’ve seen the time-traveling younger Thanos behead an alternate Captain America and throw it at the heroes’ feet. That’s three attempted beheadings across Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Clearly, the Russos have a weird thing for decapitations.