As the MCU has darkened and matured, it has become bolder and more liberal with its character deaths. Gone are the “gotcha” moments of films such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World. Now, there's finality. Certainty that many of these characters are gone. There are absolutely exceptions, but these exceptions are worked into the plot in clever ways and don't for a second feel contrived (which is impressive considering how many character fates changed during the writing process). The biggest MCU films, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, killed a number of beloved heroes but did so in ways that serviced the story.
However, if screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are to be believed, Marvel and Disney were perfectly fine with killing characters off indiscriminately.
Markus and McFeely revealed to Vanity Fair that not only did Kevin Feige want Infinity War and Endgame to function as their own stories, but also that the studio didn't really care much about whom they killed. Markus kicked things off, saying:
It was always going to be Avengers 3 and 4. It was always intended to be two separate movies. That was from on high from Kevin [Feige]. He did not want to make a two-parter. Very different structurally and tonally, and that was always our intention.
Piggybacking off his co-writers comments, McFeely revealed that the gig just kind of happened and that there was no initial offer.
I remember no one from Marvel ever asked us to write these movies. Kevin never called and said 'I want you guys to write these.' We just started negotiating.
As for what they had to work with? Well, let's just say they weren't scrambling for ideas. They had plenty to draw from and Marvel gave them plenty of freedom. The only thing the studio asked for was a Thanos-focused conflict. Christopher Markus said:
I think really all we were handed was Thanos, which necessitates the use of the Infinity Stones -- which are this, this, and this throughout the MCU -- and 'If you want to get rid of people, you can, but you’re under no obligation to just kill them willy nilly.' And that was just about all.
To avoid confusion (and to avoid having his comments misconstrued), Stephen McFeely clarified:
This is not to say we picked people at random to kill.
As if this wasn't juicy enough, Markus revealed where his head was at when working certain characters into the final two movies.
And there were a bunch of obvious implications from that. Namely, we could bring in the Guardians, because two of Thanos’ stepdaughters were on that ship. It could be anybody from anywhere, and in fact should be.
Now, though, we know how much they had to do on their own. Regardless of how you feel about how the films turned out, you've gotta admit they were thorough.
But what do you think? Does Marvel saying, “Kill whomever you want” point to indifference toward its characters or trust in its writers? Sound off in the comments below!