The Avengers: Endgame debuted this past weekend leaving a lot of questions unanswered. The Russo brothers have already talked in length about potential plot holes, and in turn, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely also answer a batch of fan questions which reveal alternate and deleted ideas and scenes for the movie.
• It's revealed that following Infinity War, they couldn't figure out what to do with Thanos in The Avengers: Endgame until a producer came up with the idea to kill Thanos. Once the producer came up with the suggestion, they explored the idea and found it could work.
• The memorial shown at San Francisco with all the names also was going to be featured in every city with millions of names.
• They originally had Thor at the start of The Avengers: Endgame on a mission of vengeance but realized he is always on a mission of vengeance and always fails so he became Fat Thor.
• They confirm there was a time in Infinity War during Wakanda when they had Banner and Hulk compromising and becoming the Smart Hulk, but they say, "It came at the wrong moment. It was an up, right when everyone else was down." They also confirm for The Avengers: Endgame, they wrote scenes in a lab about the merging involving gene-splicing but ended up going the route in the movie (my note: Didn't they read the comics?? There is no gene-splicing to become Professor Hulk. It's a mental/psychological thing. Further reading: Hulk is the worst character in the movie.)
• They considered using the Hawkeye archery scene in Infinity War after The Snap, but it didn't seem to make sense as Hawkeye wasn't in the movie. Joe Russo said to put that scene up in front of The Avengers: Endgame.
• They confirm Captain Marvel is in The Avengers: Endgame less than some people thought she would be:
Certainly, Captain Marvel is in [“Endgame”] a little less than you would have thought. But that’s not the story we’re trying to tell — it’s the original Avengers dealing with loss and coming to a conclusion, and she’s the new, fresh blood.
• They tried using The Living Tribunal in Infinity War during the Titan fight, but say everyone responded to it "like what?"
Whoa. He’s got three heads. It would indicate a whole different level of architecture to the universe and I think that was too much to just throw in.
• They also say Feige is still considering using The Living Tribunal.
• Kevin Feige came up with the idea of time travel.
McFEELY Kevin [Feige] at one point said, I would like to use the Time Stone, or use time as an element. It let us spend a few weeks seeing what’s the kookiest thing we could do with time and not break the movie.
MARKUS We all sat there going, really? We’re going to do time travel? It was only when we were looking at who we had available, character-wise; we hadn’t used Ant-Man yet. And there really is, in people’s theory of the Quantum Realm, a time thing in the M.C.U., right now, available to us, with a character we haven’t used yet. We have a loophole that’s not cheating.
• They reveal in the first draft of The Avengers: Endgame they weren't going to go back to the first The Avengers movie, but to Asgard where Iron Man would be wearing a stealth suit and battle Heimdall who could see him.
• Thor was going to have long scenes with Natalie Portman.
• The Guardians of the Galaxy Peter Quill Morag scene was originally a lot grander and more epic in scope, but "hugely complicated"
McFEELY It was underwater! That was clever but it was just too big a set piece. What that didn’t do is allow for Thanos and his daughters to get on the trail at the right moment. So we went back to when Peter Quill was there. And we realized that when you can punch Quill in the face, it’s hilarious. I still think it’s hilarious.
• Another scene involved going to the Triskelion, the primary headquarters for S.H.I.E.L.D, to get the Tesseract.
• Another scene involved somebody going to get into a car and drive to Doctor Strange’s house.
• Joe Russo is the one who questioned, "Why are we going to this movie when we can go to Avengers? Let’s make it work."
• Instead of using Robert Redford, they wrote scenes with Nick Fury, and also a version with Maria Hill.
• Regarding the final battle, a scene they wrote that didn't make it into the movie involved all the heroes in a trench talking, which they decided wouldn't work and didn't look right.
McFEELY 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. When you have that many people, it invariably is, one line, one line, one line. And that’s not a natural conversation.
MARKUS It also required them to find enough shelter to have a conversation in the middle of the biggest battle. It wasn’t a polite World War I battle where you have a moment.
• They thought of bringing back Hank and Janet Pym in suits.
• Regarding the Marvel Netflix characters appearing in The Avengers: Endgame like Daredevil or Luke Cage, they feared not enough people were aware of the characters or shows (sounds like BS to me):
McFEELY We would have to introduce these five characters — or whatever many. We already are assuming people have seen a lot of the movies. Are we really going to assume they have bought a subscription to Netflix and watched those shows enough so that when they see them, they’re going to go “yay?”
MARKUS It also screws up the timelines. You would have to assume that they all got snapped away, or otherwise they might have shown up earlier. I think the only character who has come from TV to the movies is Jarvis, James D’Arcy [from “Agent Carter”].
• They say legally they were not allowed to use the Fox-Marvel characters (like Silver Surfer, Galactus, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc).
• They also explain why Tony had a funeral and why Black Widow didn't, as well as why they couldn't bring back Black Widow with the Gauntlet:
MARKUS Tony gets a funeral. Natasha doesn’t. That’s partly because Tony’s this massive public figure and she’s been a cipher the whole time. It wasn’t necessarily honest to the character to give her a funeral. The biggest question about it is what Thor raises there on the dock. “We have the Infinity Stones. Why don’t we just bring her back?”
McFEELY But that’s the everlasting exchange. You bring her back, you lose the stone.
• There was a version where Hawkeye dies instead of Black Widow but the visual effects producer was against the idea and said, "Don’t you take this away from her.”
• Tony Stark dead at the end was always the outcome.
• Cap was always going to have a happy ending.
• They say there is "a great Moon Knight movie to be made, but I don’t know what is."
Update: Deleted Katherine Langford scene is revealed.
Read more from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely talking The Avengers: Endgame at the NYTimes.