Avengers: Endgame was well and truly the end of an era for the MCU. Not only did it mark the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, it featured the deaths of both Iron Man and Black Widow, with Captain America also disappearing back into the past. It took half of the original six Avengers off the board, then, but Kevin Feige’s initial plan for the movie event would’ve been even more transformative for the franchise: he wanted to get rid of all of them.
This surprising fact is revealed in fascinating new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via ScreenRant), which includes some illuminating comments from Endgame co-director Joe Russo. He revealed that the Marvel president wanted the Russos to kill off all six OG heroes in Endgame. However, the filmmaker argued that that would be too much to do in a movie that was already fit to bursting. Here’s the relevant passage:
“Kevin’s initial pitch was that it was Toy Story 3 – a ‘they’re all gonna jump into a furnace together’ concept,’ reveals Joe Russo. The brothers’ pushback was that there was no possible way for the story to be able to take the time to celebrate each one of them. And that, for the fans, it was an impossible scenario to walk out of the theater and process.”
Of course, in Toy Story 3, Woody and his pals do jump into the furnace together, though they also end up making it out alive because it’s a Pixar movie. But it sounds like all six Avengers weren’t going to escape the furnace – AKA the fight with Thanos – intact in Feige’s vision for Endgame. Which naturally would’ve massively changed Phase 4. We wouldn’t have had Thor: Love and Thunder, Hawkeye or possibly She-Hulk if the Russos hadn’t changed his mind.
Most fans would likely agree with the directors on this one. If only for the fact that their hearts probably wouldn’t have been able to take it if they had lost Thor, Bruce Banner and Clint Barton alongside Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff and Steve Rogers (kind of). Seeing how folks got so furious over the short shrift Nat’s loss got in the film, the internet definitely would’ve been a scary place if Avengers: Endgame had ended up wiping out the whole team.