Remember the emotional aftermath of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War; after watching Gamora get tossed off a cliff, Vision’s head caved in, and who could forget “Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good”? Well, according to a new interview, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige originally wanted us all leaving the 2019 follow-up Avengers: Endgame feeling just as bad, or worse. The directors say that along with Iron Man, Feige wanted to kill off Captain America and Thor.
In an interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Russo brothers talked about how Feige pitched the idea of killing the Big Three in Avengers: Endgame. “Kevin did actually pitch at one point taking all the OGs off the board,” Joe Russo recalled. “We thought it was way too aggressive and that the audience wouldn’t be able to process it, and that in fact picking one or two characters to make sacrifices throughout the movie might give you moments throughout the film where the action could stop and you could have emotional catharsis and then continue with the narrative and then have more emotional catharsis.” You can see a clip from the interview below.
The Russos clarify that the idea of killing off those three never made it far enough to actually wind up in any scripts for Avengers: Endgame, but that it was something Feige brought up relatively early. His inspiration? Toy Story 3. “Kevin early on had pitched this idea that it was like Toy Story 3 where they should all actually jump into the fire in order to save the universe,” Joe Russo explained. “We thought you have to step out storytelling on something of this scale, so we weren’t quite sure how the math would add up to get to that.”
It would be interesting to take a peek in the corner of the multiverse where that version of Avengers: Endgame happened. According to critics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be a better place if Feige’s pitch had made the cut. In the case of Steve Rogers, Endgame proved to be his last movie anyway. In the case of Thor, Chris Hemsworth’s latest solo effort in the franchise has wound up earning an unwanted record — the lowest Rotten Tomatoes critics rating in the entire Thor series. In fact, the only MCU film with a lower score, at 47%, is last year’s Eternals. To be fair, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World just barely beats Love and Thunder with 66%.
It’s interesting to hear Joe Russo talk about the audience not being able to cope with the loss of all of the Big Three, especially since we now know Jon Favreau told him the same thing about killing off Tony Stark. Joe Russo recently admitted that shortly after the Iron Man director finished reading the Avengers: Endgame script, he warned Russo that if they killed Tony Stark, audience members would leave the film and walk “into traffic.” Thankfully, that didn’t turn out to be the case, but you can hardly blame Favreau for being worried about it.