‘Infinity War’ Writers on Making Thanos Vulnerable and Possibly Killing MCU Favorites

     April 23, 2018

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Like all of you, I couldn’t be more excited to see Avengers: Infinity War. As a huge fan of what the Russo Brothers did on Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, my expectations for Infinity War are probably a bit too lofty, but if anyone can pull this colossal movie off it’s directors Joe and Anthony Russo, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and Kevin Feige with his amazing producing team at Marvel Studios.

With the movie set to world premiere tonight in Hollywood, over the weekend Marvel and Disney held a massive press junket with the stars and filmmakers here in Los Angeles. Since no one has seen the movie yet, doing the interviews was a bit unusual, so when I sat down with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, I decided to use my limited time asking questions I knew they could answer. They talked about which of their Marvel movies was the hardest to shoot, if they were writing a lot on set, Thanos and making him a powerful villain, if a person’s contract being up played a factor in whether they might kill them off, and a lot more.

Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about. Avengers: Infinity War stars Josh BrolinRobert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston.

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Image via Marvel Studios

Collider: I did find out from Kevin Feige that the second movie is definitely not being called Infinity Gauntlet.

STEPHEN MCFEELY: It is not. That would be a terrible title.

CHRISTOPHER MARKUS: I guarantee that.

But at least that’s something. So you guys have worked on a few Marvel movies. Which movie was the hardest to shoot?

MCFEELY: To shoot?

MARKUS: Hardest to shoot. This one.

MCFEELY: We had two, in Atlanta.

MARKUS: Shooting is pretty easy on us regardless, because we already did our work, most of the time. But yeah, this was a year and a half out on location. In the mud, in the snow-

MCFEELY: That’s right. Wakanda’s muddy.

MARKUS: And without a lot of coherence, sometimes, because you’d grab people as you got them. This is a hard group to get all together.

MCFEELY: This is the most difficult, I’m pretty confident. The only ones that would rival this in terms of scheduling and difficulty are the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

MARKUS: But even then, those-

MCFEELY: They weren’t movie stars.

MARKUS: They weren’t movie stars. You could buy all those people and make ’em live in New Zealand.

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Image via Marvel Studios

You’re trying to say that when I see the movie, there’ll be more green screen shots than I’m expecting?

MARKUS: You won’t know, hopefully.

MCFEELY: Hopefully you won’t notice, but you may have a keen eye. Yeah, there’s a few scenes where people weren’t in the same room and that was merely because of schedule. We would have preferred they all be in the same room, but it’s not unheard of for these.

When you guys are putting this thing together, you’re in pre-production. I know you worked very closely with the Russo Brothers. How did the comparison of writing this compare to the other two movies? Because one of the things about the other two films is that there wasn’t a lot of rewriting on set. Or am I wrong?

MCFEELY: There was more on this one.

Really?

MCFEELY: Yeah, there was more on this one. Remember, we’re doing two, right? One of the big things was, normally, unless you finish the movie, they go and have 10 to 12 weeks and do a cut, and then we start talking about it, right? Well, those 10 to 12 weeks, they’re shooting another movie. That is crazy. You need to spend long hours in the editing room, making decisions.

MARKUS: Even then, they would shoot all day, and then sit in the editing room all night.

MCFEELY: And we would always try to, if we still had an actor around, maybe we could get that line better, or maybe we could do that scene again. And so we would always keep trying to “plus” this thing, because we still were shooting the other movie. Chris is being a little facetious that there’s nothing for us to do. On this one, there was plenty to do.

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Image via Marvel Studios

MARKUS: There’s always plenty to do, I just mean there are people working harder than us during production.

How did things change on the set making this one, in comparison to Civil War and Winter Soldier?

MARKUS: One, it’s a four times bigger cast. On an entertainment level of getting to watch people work together, every day was a new combination you’ve never seen before. You get to walk on set and there’s Robert Downey, Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s like, this is nuts.

MCFEELY: This a lot of storylines and a lot of characters, and it was job security for us because we’re kind of the few people who knew this all really worked. It was nice, if something was going wrong, we got used to get a lot of, “Get the guys down here right now, let’s talk about it.” And that wasn’t the case early in our career. They didn’t quite need us to come, stat. So we have our hands on this thing. There was a lot going on.

For each of you, favorite character that you were writing in this movie? Do you have one that you were like, this is mine, I’m writing this one?

MARKUS: We shared everything.

MCFEELY: Pretty shared. Thanos was a treat. We’ve been waiting for him. And he says what he means. And he does not care how you feel about it. So that’s nice. Usually, other people have a certain nicety. He’s very confident. That’s cool, and not something I have.

MARKUS: I like them all. I enjoyed Nebula more than I expected. Going into it, it wasn’t like, “I can’t wait to get my hands on that whole Nebula situation,” but it was like, surprisingly hilarious.

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Image via Marvel Studios

MCFEELY: As a foil, really. When someone doesn’t give you anything, that’s funny.

MARKUS: And fun to have on set, ’cause she’s one of the few people who’s almost entirely practical makeup. It’s just this blue woman walking around. It’s crazy.

Definitely talk about Thanos’ powers. How was that figured out in writing the script, his weaknesses and everything?

MCFEELY: We can’t tell you all of his vulnerabilities.

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