[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame.”]
“Avengers: Endgame” packs a whole lot of plot in its three hour runtime, but there could have been even more had directors Joe and Anthony Russo stuck with one of the earlier screenplay drafts of the Marvel blockbuster. In a recent interview on the Slate podcast “The Gist,” the brothers revealed some of the surprising directions they originally planned to take some of the superhero characters following the movie’s five-year time jump early on. Settling on the amount of time to jump forward was of the upmost importance for the filmmaking duo.
“Primarily what drove the choice was that we wanted it to be far enough where your lead characters reached a point of acceptance,” the brothers shared. “They had to accept [Thanos’ victory] as part of their reality.”
The brothers spent a lot of time thinking about the real-world ramifications of Thanos’ snap and what would happen if half of all life suddenly vanished. One idea they came up with was that the world’s orphan population would increase significantly because parents would have vanished, leaving children without their legal guardians. The brothers estimate that Thanos’ snap left one quarter of all children without parents. In this idea, the brothers came up with a new direction for Black Widow.
“It was almost too large of an idea for us to wrangle, but we did try for awhile and at one point early on in the script, early in development, Black Widow was leading the organization in Washington D.C that was in charge of orphans,” the Russos said. “That’s what she was heading up five years later.”
The idea was ultimately removed from the screenplay because, as the Russos explained, the orphan idea was too grand and opened up the world in a way so big there would not have been enough time to explore it with justice. The script was shifted so that after the five-year jump Black Widow was now in charge of the Avengers. In the theatrical release, viewers see the character still shell shocked from losing to Thanos as she checks in with fellow Avengers around the world to ensure peace is being maintained.
“Avengers: Endgame” is now playing in theaters nationwide.