San Diego Comic-Con 2019 just came to an end and many are calling it one for the books. The 50th Comic-Con in history was nothing short of marvelous (pun intended). Marvel dominated the week with huge news circulating their film, television, and comic divisions. Of course, Marvel Studios’ riveting “Phase 4” slate drop is at the top of these circulations. The upcoming cinematic introductions of the Eternals, Shang-Chi, Jane Foster-Thor, and Blade are enough to keep fans on board for years to come.
Two other noteworthy events took place before the slate drop, a panel discussion with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and another with the Russo Brothers. The writer-director team behind the last two Captain America and Avengers films took to Comic-Con to reminisce on the now biggest film of all time, Avengers: Endgame. Their discussions did not leave many secrets untouched for there has now never been as much insight into the making of the film. Their panels combined with the new film slate make for an interesting list of fresh Endgame related reveals. Check it out below!
1. A Cosmic Cameo Finally Explained
It has been known for some time that the Living Tribunal was once somehow integrated into one of Markus and McFeely’s Avengers scripts. The cosmic entity serves as the benevolent judge of the multiverse in the comics. What role could this being have played in the recent Avengers films? The two screenwriters went into depth on an old idea that got scrapped due to complications with audiences.
The duo recollected that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige always served a guiding hand in their writing process. In the early draft days of Infinity War, Feige would give the writers visual references, such as panels and pages, from certain marvel comics in an effort to sway the duo in the right direction. One case in particular, Feige delivered references from a multitude of classic Doctor Strange comics. In these works, Strange travels and meets different bizarre beings across the cosmos. Thus, their idea of introducing the Living Tribunal on film was born.
The introduction was meant to be part of the Strange and Thanos duel on Titan. During their fight, Strange gets close enough to send Thanos on a cosmic mind-trip. The writers explained that it would not be the same as what the Ancient One once did to Strange, but was intended to be in the same vein. Thanos would see a history of his crimes and actions across the galaxy until finally being set forth to The Living Tribunal. The being would judge him as guilty – putting the mind-trip to an end. This would be amazing to see in retrospect, but the writers did not feel like it would work considering the character had never been seen or even mentioned before. The fight on Titan was simply not the right time to briefly show a character that justifies a proper introduction.
2. Loki’s Future is Complicated
The Loki streaming series exclusive to Disney+ has been well known for months now. The show has been described as a sort of prequel series that will see Loki’s influence across certain points in time. What was not touched upon until Comic-Con was how the events of Endgame connect to the show if at all. Feige brought actor Tom Hiddleston on stage during their slate reveal to confirm that Loki is in fact not dead – however, it gets complicated.
According to the time travel rules in Endgame, taking infinity stones from different points in time creates branch realities that could spin the multiverse into chaos. The film’s solution is Steve Rogers returning the stones to the exact moments in time they were taken to prevent such alternative realities from being created. This all works except for the fact that Loki was allowed to steal back the space stone in 2012 and that is not the place where Rogers goes to return the same stone in the end. Feige confirmed that the show will follow that version of Loki and fans will get to see where his story continues from that point on.
Hiddleston was hesitant to reveal much about his character but assured that it was still the same Loki. That was all that was discussed, but it would be safe to assume that this is similar to Gamora’s situation in the universe. It is the same version of the characters up until the point in time where they branch off in Endgame. This means that Loki still got a redemption arc and died at the hands of Thanos. How the Loki that escaped will react to his future and so on will be seen in the show exclusive to Disney+.
3. A Severed Head?
Writers Markus and McFeely went through so many concepts in the early days of drafting. A majority of these are gone for good reason, but still fun to learn about nonetheless. One such idea involved the severed head of Captain America. Who else to do such a violent act but Thanos?
In Endgame the Thanos, Nebula, and Gamora from 2014 learn of the Avengers time heist, and plot to steal the infinity stones all in one swoop. In the final cut, Thanos sends a villainous Nebula to the future to open a time portal for his army. One idea was to have Thanos travel to 2014 earth before doing this. He would slay the planet including all of the Avengers. Upon his arrival to the future, viewers would briefly see the destruction of earth and be greeted with Thanos presenting the severed head of 2014 Cap to the present Cap. It was meant to be a threatening challenge from Thanos; he beat them twice before and was about to do it again. Safe to say this was scrapped for being too violent.
4. Thor Vs. A Serpent
Another defunct idea was to have Thor fight a serpent in order to retrieve Stormbreaker in Infinity War. Considering the comics, this was probably meant to be the Midgard serpent. Taking inspiration from Norse mythology, the Midgard serpent is a giant monstrous snake with relation to the apocalypse otherwise known as Ragnarok. Thor has faced it multiple times so it makes sense for it to eventually appear on film.
Markus and McFeely revealed that the concept was unfortunately not worthy. They stated that the beast was present up until the 2016 drafts of the film. According to them, those drafts were their weakest, and simply were not working. Upon reshaping the story, the serpent was lost in favor of the Nidavellir sequence. With more Thor stories on the way, not all hope is lost for the Midgard serpent. Saving it for a possible future instead of it being some kind of quick mid-level boss in Infinity War was probably the right call.
5. A Different Return for the Dusted
The Russo Bros. revealed that the hardest visual to nail in Infinity War was not Thanos, but the effect of getting dusted or “snapped” away. The difficulty of executing the effect came with a great payoff in Endgame when the fallen return in the third act. Just when all hope seems lost, the rest of the universe built upon in the last 11 years returns to face Thanos’ grand army. Interestingly enough, the sequence was not always planned as such.
Markus and McFeely explained that the original plan was for the fallen to return together all at once immediately after Hulk snaps them back into existence. They would be all together and ready to fight Thanos instantly, thus possibly ending the movie sooner? They changed it to the final version due to it feeling cheap and too easy for the heroes in their final fight. Totally worth it considering the “On your left” moment became one of the most memorable movie moments of the year.
6. Smart Hulk in Infinity War?
Dividing Infinity War and Endgame proved to be a difficult task for the writers. They have already spilled on their process of making the split – Thanos’ first snap going back between scripts being one example. One example just revealed is Smart Hulk first appearing in Infinity War instead of being saved for the sequel. What could have probably been an awesome scene under the Russo Bros’ direction was scrapped to help narrow the focus of the film’s finale.
Originally, Bruce Banner came to terms with the Hulk while still in the Hulkbuster suit during the battle in Wakanda. The Smart Hulk would bust out of the Hulkbuster making for an epic entrance amongst the chaos. Even though it sounds cool, Markus and McFeely did not feel like it would have done this new version of the Hulk much service. At that point in the film, tensions are rising as Thanos gets closer to getting all the stones. Introducing Smart Hulk at this time would have been too much of a distraction from this goal. The writers also stated that character reactions would be necessary and the third act was not a fitting time for them.
The duo’s solution was the diner scene in Endgame. Not only is the Smart Hulk explained, but audiences get to naturally react along with the characters. The writers explained that they chose the unorthodox setting because it had not really been seen in a comic book movie before. Going through a flashback sequence of Banner in a lab was deemed as the more traditional and safe choice. That option probably would not have given audiences Hulk dabbing either.
7. Black Widow Timeline
Marvel finally confirmed that the first Black Widow solo film will release next year and is currently shooting overseas. Many celebrated the news of the long-overdue project, but the white elephant in the room was barely touched upon. Black Widow died in Endgame – so this must be a prequel right? Also, when does it exactly take place? Marvel answered these questions subtly only to those who were present at the reveal.
Before showing the first footage of the film, a montage of selected scenes played to catch the crowd up to speed. The majority of the footage was not from Endgame, but from Captain America: Civil War. Highlights included Widow betraying Stark’s team by letting Captain America and the Winter Soldier escape the airport battle, and Stark’s final line to her, “They’re coming for you.” It then cut to the first Black Widow footage taking place in Budapest.
None of the footage looked to be set in the 90s during Widow’s teenage years. Even though these flashbacks may still appear, the bulk of the film looks to be set between Civil War and Infinity War. This may seem odd at first, but Captain Marvel was already a prequel set in the 90s and this time period has not been explored much so far. The creative team behind Endgame has confirmed numerous times that Widow is not coming back to life, so what secrets her solo movie will unravel is yet to be seen.
8. The Asgardians of the Galaxy?
After watching Endgame, one would be so sure that Thor will be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Either that or the team being in the next Thor sequel. Even though Thor appoints New Asgard under new command in order to travel with the Guardians at the end of the film, neither of those two options might happen.
The fourth Thor film, Love and Thunder, was announced at the convention and fans could have not been more excited. With the inclusion of Valkyrie and the long return of Jane Foster, it does not seem like the Guardians will have a prominent presence in the film. Guardians writer and director James Gunn also took to Instagram this week to confirm that Vol. 3 takes place after Love and Thunder.
Gunn had started work on the Vol. 3 script as soon as his work was done on Vol. 2 in 2017. It is safe to assume that the script might not feature Thor as much as fans assume, if at all. Of course, Marvel is always secretive and the public does not get the full picture until they say so. For now, Endgame’s ending is looking to be more of a bridge for the next Thor film to yet again cross into the cosmic side.
9. More Ronin on the Way
The Hawkeye series exclusive to Disney+ was revealed in Marvel’s slate to debut in 2021. Jeremy Renner is returning to train the first cinematic interpretation of Kate Bishop. The fan favorite heroine from the comics will surely be one of the franchise’s next big stars. The series is also confirmed to have some prequel elements for more of Hawkeye’s time under the Ronin persona. One of Endgame‘s more popular criticisms is how the pacing quickly breezes over Ronin. Fans who wanted more will be pleased come fall 2021. Renner got away with recording the reveal to share with more fans across the world. Check it out below!
10. Tony Was Always Going to Die
Markus and McFeely were able to share some behind the scenes photos during their panel to give people insight into the mayhem that was writing two Avengers movies. Both come from their writing rooms, the first seen below is a listing of every place every infinity stone has been as a sort of continuity guide.
That can be helpful or just fun to look at for anyone who has been following the movies for years. The second photo they revealed depicts how they planned Endgame‘s huge finale.
Reading all the notes and seeing the character trading cards is a surreal look into the extensive writing process Markus and McFeely underwent. According to them, these pictures are no older than from 2016. The final note in the bottom right reads “Tony dies” meaning that his death has been in the works for that long.
Fans had been long speculating if it was going to be him or Cap who bit the dust – the answer was always Tony. This puts any theories of Cap being the one to die or Tony’s death being a recent change to rest. Love it or hate it, but for the most part Iron Man was always going to have the last say in Endgame.
Those are the top new reveals from the film; what are your thoughts?
Make sure to check out Avengers: Endgame when it hits digital release on July 30 and Blu-ray/DVD release on August 13!