Following her death in Doctor Strange, the Ancient One returned in an all-important cameo in Avengers: Endgame. When the heroes travel back to New York in 2012, Hulk goes to convince the Sorcerer Supreme to hand over the Time Stone. The pair have a lengthy conversation about the disastrous consequences it could have to the timeline if the Infinity Stones were removed permanently, which leads to Hulk agreeing to return them all to their proper places when the Avengers have used them to reverse Thanos’ snap.
The way the sequence plays out in the movie, though, wasn’t always the case, as Tilda Swinton has revealed that her Endgame scene was completely reshot a year after she initially filmed it. The actress was talking to IndieWire when she mentioned how it’d been a surprise to get the call to return. Though the bigger surprise was when she got asked to redo her cameo.
“And it was a pleasure. But what was a real surprise was, we shot it one summer day, and then over a year later, I went back to reshoot it because a couple of lines had been changed, a couple of plot points had been changed. And there was a tweaking of my costume.”
Swinton went on to elaborate that the changes were “all about that very, very important” visual timeline that explains “the information that the Ancient One holds about the nature of the [Infinity] Stones, that they have to be put back, because otherwise” the timeline would be splintered into various alternate versions. Swinton also added with a laugh that the purpose of the reshoots was to ram home that Endgame was not following the rules of Back to the Future.
This fits with what the Russo brothers have said about how test audiences struggled to grasp Endgame’s unique depiction of time travel, resulting in them adding in the “Back to the Future is b******t” bit during reshoots. It seems revamping the Ancient One’s cameo to make this even clearer. Then again, that hasn’t stopped the Russos and writers Markus and McFeely from adhering to their own conflicting rules.
Regardless, fingers crossed Swinton gets a chance to appear again after Avengers: Endgame in Doctor Strange 2, which should be with us during Phase Four.