In an alternate universe, Avengers: Infinity War ended on a whopper of a cliffhanger, but definitely nowhere near as much of a downer note as that Thanos Snap. Indeed, as the film stands now, it ends with half the universe’s population—including many MCU heroes—evaporating into dust as supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin) actually wins in the end. Not only are the heroes defeated, but their numbers are halved, leaving only the original Avengers team as folks like lil’ Peter Parker (Tom Holland) died horrifically right before our eyes.
Few saw this ending coming, which is why it was so impactful, but in a new interview with Empire, co-screenwriter Stephen McFeely—who alongside Christopher Markus wrote both Infinity War and its sequel Avengers: Endgame—reveals that they briefly considered saving the snap for the second movie:
“We had so much story in those early drafts of Infinity War that, if anything, we thought we maybe shouldn’t do The Snap until the end of act one of Endgame.”
Infinity War and Endgame were shot back-to-back by directors Joe and Anthony Russo and are very much a “Part 1” and “Part 2” to a story, so there was certainly some room to adjust as needed. But moving the snap to Endgame would have had major ramifications for the story, especially moving it all the way to the end of Act One. Perhaps this early iteration Infinity War would have ended with Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) death and Thanos capturing all but one of the Infinity Stones? But that ending doesn’t come close to the impact of how Infinity War concludes now.
Indeed, it was Marvel’s Kevin Feige who advocated for the most depressing ending possible to Infinity War:
“We talked about that ending for years and years and years,” he told Empire. “It was the reason to adapt Infinity Gauntlet. What was the most shocking thing we could do? End the movie with The Snap.”
As it stands, that now sets up Endgame as a wildly unpredictable sequel. Thanos won, half their friends are dead/missing, so now what? Where do the Avengers go from here? That’s the question on everyone’s minds, and that’s what makes Endgame so exciting to anticipate. It could go anywhere, do anything, and end on any kind of note. The only thing we know for sure is that Marvel considers Endgame to be the “culmination” of everything that’s come before. Which means all bets are off.
We’ll see soon enough, as Avengers: Endgame is due in theaters on April 26th.