Avengers: Endgame has destroyed box office records since its premiere, and there’s plenty to talk about when it comes to the movie–including what and who was originally planned to appear but ultimately didn’t make the final cut. If it isn’t clear already, let this be your final warning: the following article contains spoilers.
The final chapter to the Infinity War saga and second to last film for the third phase of the MCU, Endgame does plenty right. Unfortunately it gets some wrong too. Endgame ends Tony Stark’s story in the best way, but the movie doesn’t quite honor the legacy of Natasha Romanoff or Steve Rogers. Not all of these plot points played out as they were originally planned, however. In an interview with The New York Times, Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely explained how many aspects of the movie were once very different.
Banner Was Going To Become Professor Hulk Much Earlier
One of the many surprise changes for one of the original Avengers during Endgame’s five year jump is that Bruce Banner discovers a way to unite his mind with Hulk’s body. As a result, Banner has access to Hulk’s incredible strength without losing his brilliant mind. Although this transformation was always planned for Banner, it was originally scheduled for much earlier.
“There was a time when Banner became Smart Hulk in [Infinity War]. It was a lot of fun, but it came at the wrong moment. It was an up, right when everyone else was down,” Markus said. “It happened in Wakanda,” McFeely continued. “His arc was designed like, I’m not getting along with the Hulk, the Hulk won’t come out. And then they compromise and become Smart Hulk.”
The Team Wasn’t Going To Time Travel To The Battle Of New York
During the time heist, a group of the team travels to the Battle of New York, which takes place in 2012’s Avengers. The team chooses this moment because three of the Infinity Stones are present in the battle. However, there is another point in the MCU where more than one Infinity Stone shows up, and originally that was going to be the focus of Endgame’s time heist.
“In the first draft, we didn’t go back to the [original] Avengers movie,” McFeely said. “We went back to Asgard. But there’s a moment in the MCU, if you’re paying very close attention, where the Aether is there and the Tesseract is in the vault. In that iteration, we were interested in Tony going to Asgard. He had a stealth suit, so he was invisible, and he fought Heimdall, who could see him.”
The original plan was to also give Thor several long scenes with Jane Foster in Asgard. In Endgame, the two former lovers never interact, with Thor chickening out upon seeing her. This massive journey to Asgard would have changed up the composition of the designated teams for each of the other missions as well, resulting in entirely different time periods during the heist. “They went to the Triskelion at one point to get the [Tesseract], and then somebody was going to get into a car and drive to Doctor Strange’s house,” Markus said.
No Alexander Pierce Cameo
During the time heist, we discover what transpired in the immediate aftermath of the Avengers’ victory over Loki during the Battle of New York, prior to the team splitting up and going their separate ways. Turns out Tony Stark and Thor were stopped from exiting Stark Tower by Head of SHIELD and undercover HYDRA operative Alexander Pierce. Pierce tries to take the Tesseract away from Tony and Thor, which the two Avengers refuse to give up. Pierce’s role was always going to be filled by one of SHIELD’s leaders, but in previous versions of the script the possible characters had less villainous motives.
“That was one where we thought, should it be Nick Fury? We also wrote a version for Maria Hill,” McFeely said.
The Final Battle Would Have Paused For Strategy Discussion
The final battle against Thanos sees Captain American, Iron Man, and Thor joined by every friend they’ve made as well as the allies of said friends. It’s a massive spectacle, and one that originally was going to pause for the heroes to discuss strategy.
“It didn’t play well, but we had a scene in a trench where, for reasons, the battle got paused for about three minutes and now there’s 18 people all going, ‘What are we going to do?’ ‘I’m going to do this.’ ‘I’m going to do this.’ Just bouncing around this completely fake, fraudulent scene,” McFeely said. “When you have that many people, it invariably is, one line, one line, one line. And that’s not a natural conversation.”
The Final Battle Had A Few More Heroes
Speaking of said battle, there was a plan to have more heroes take part in it. The MCU’s version of the Avengers replaces founders Hank Pym (Ant-Man) and Janet van Dyne (Wasp) with Hawkeye and Black Widow. However, both Hank and Janet did make their way into the MCU eventually, and Endgame’s screenwriters did consider having both suit up to join Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor in the final battle.
“There were moments, as they brought everybody back, where we’re like, technically, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer have [Ant-Man] suits,” Markus said. “Do we bring them back? It became impossible to track the people we did bring back, but also, it’s just going to be an orgy.”
Black Widow Didn’t Die To Retrieve The Soul Stone
In a scene everyone knew was coming the second it was revealed Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff were headed to retrieve the Soul Stone, the two fight over who will sacrifice themselves in order to earn their prize so the other doesn’t have to. For a second, it almost looks as if Clint successfully immobilizes Natasha before leaping to his death, but the former spy turned Avenger is able to outsmart her teammate and maneuver into a position where she’s the one sacrificed. Originally, there was a time when things were supposed to go the opposite way.
“Jen Underdahl, our visual effects producer, read an outline or draft where Hawkeye goes over,” McFeely said. “And she goes, ‘Don’t you take this away from her.’ I actually get emotional thinking about it.”