Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame are ahead!
Although Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame didn’t end up being two halves of the same story, as was originally the plan, the movies were nonetheless closely tied to one another. That meant that writers Christoper Markus and Stephen McFeely had to pen these movies to both stand on their own and still ensure that they flowed smoothly together.
That’s no easy feat, and now that Avengers: Endgame is playing in theaters, Christoper Markus and Stephen McFeely have revealed that it was particularly difficult to map out where the now-infamous Snap and its reversal would be placed over these two movies. Regarding Thanos’ Snap, which occurred at the end of Avengers: Infinity War when the Mad Titan finally obtained the six Infinity Stones, Markus explained:
The biggest point was probably the Snap. And we realized fairly early on that if we didn’t do it at the end of the first movie, the first movie wasn’t going to have an end. And if we did it too early in the first movie, it would be a bit of an anticlimax after you’ve killed half the universe to have them stumbling around for half an hour.
Given that Avengers: Infinity War revolved around Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Stones, to the point that he basically served as the movie’s main character, it was a wise course of action to have him fulfill this goal at the end. It delivered a kind of shocking ending that the MCU has never delivered before, and had Thanos filled all the slots in his Infinity Gauntlet too early, then that would have infringed on Avengers: Endgame’s territory too much.
Instead, because the Snap that wiped out half of all life in the universe wrapped up the insanity that was Avengers: Infinity War, fans had to sit with that for a year, with Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel providing no clues about how this genocide would be undone. Which brings us to Avengers: Endgame, which has been breaking box office records left and right.
As was expected, Avengers: Endgame saw those who were dusted in Avengers: Infinity War being brought back to life, and this emotional restoration occurred at the beginning of Endgame’s third act. Regarding how he and his writing partner decided when to have this occur, Stephen McFeely told The New York Times:
Another big plot point is when everyone comes back. So the question is, is it early in the second movie? Late in the second movie? You notice the players left on the board are the O.G. Avengers [Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye], and let’s give them their due. It meant that we were likely going to bring people back late. So that if you were a big fan of Doctor Strange or Black Panther or Bucky [the Winter Soldier] or Sam [the Falcon], you’re only going to get a little brief window on them. It can’t be all things to all people.
Avengers: Endgame picked up a few weeks after Avengers: Infinity War, and although the surviving MCU heroes were eventually able to track down Thanos’ location, the Mad Titan had already used the power of the six Infinity Stones to destroy them, ensuring that his work couldn’t be undone. Beheading Thanos may have been cathartic for Thor, but it didn’t bring his friends back.
Five years later, thanks to Scott Lang’s return, these heroes went on a time heist through the Quantum Realm to retrieve the Infinity Stones at different points in the past, bring them back to 2023 and harness their power for themselves using a nanotech-powered Infinity Gauntlet Tony Stark designed. Hulk put on the Gauntlet, snapped his fingers and undid The Decimation, although it was a while until the un-dusted characters resurfaced to help turn the tide of the battle against past Thanos and his forces.
Although Avengers: Endgame featured some newer heroes like Ant-Man and Captain Marvel, as Stephen McFeely noted, it primarily highlighted the original six of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, who haven’t been all together since Avengers: Age of Ultron. With Endgame serving as the penultimate installment of Phase 3 and the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, it was important that these characters reunite one last time, as it was expected there wouldn’t be another opportunity to do so.
Sure enough, both Iron Man and Black Widow died during Avengers: Endgame, and while the latter has her own standalone movie on the way, given these latest events, the reports about it being a prequel appear right on the money. So while it is intriguing to imagine what it would have looked like if the dusted heroes had returned earlier in Endgame, their late arrival in the final version was warranted.
Fortunately, it’s not like we won’t be seeing any more of these particular heroes in the coming years. Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy all have more movies on the way, and it’s a good bet that Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and the Wasp will get follow-ups as well.
Then there are the TV shows being lined up for Disney+, which include Loki, WandaVision, Falcon and Winter Soldier and Hawkeye. Avengers: Endgame arguably set the stage for Falcon and Winter Soldier’s upcoming adventures the best, as an elderly Steve Rogers, who stayed in the past to live his life with Peggy Carter after returning the Infinity Stones to their proper places in time, passed the Captain America mantle onto Falcon, a.k.a. Sam Wilson.
There were a lot of moving pieces to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, and maybe when the latter is released on home media later this year, we’ll get a better idea of what could have been. Still, given the positive critical reception both movies received, it seems like Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely made the right call with plotting out the biggest plot points.
Don’t forget to read CinemaBlend’s review of Avengers: Endgame and keep checking back for more news about the movie. Those of you already looking to the MCU’s future can learn what’s coming up in our handy Marvel movies guide, or you can learn what other movies are opening later this year in our 2019 release schedule.