It turns out the climactic battle scene in “Avengers: Endgame” could have been even more disturbing. Speaking to EW during Comic-Con Friday, “Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo discussed a discarded concept that even they found too morose. The scene was set to take place towards the end of the movie, and would have seen time-traveling Thanos (Josh Brolin) throwing the decapitated head of past-Captain America (Chris Evans) at the feet of the rest of the Avengers. The Russos conceded that the concept, though enticing, was just too dark — even for Thanos.
“We clung to that story line for so long just for that moment of Thanos walking through a portal and dropping Captain America’s severed head,” director Anthony Russo told EW about the potential idea.
“We had most of the script working except for the third act, because Anthony and I were clinging to this concept that we wanted Thanos to walk up to the Avengers and throw Captain America’s head on the ground,” Joe Russo added. “We couldn’t give up on it, and finally we said, ‘All right, what if we don’t do that, can we find another way into the third act?’ And that’s when it turned into what it is now.”
Speaking at a Friday Comic-Con panel, “Endgame” screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely discussed their thinking surrounding the alternate ending.
“We were working on different ways to bring Thanos into the present day because we had killed the present-day Thanos but we had activated the past Thanos,” Markus said. “And in one, knowing it would take his Nebula some time to go rejigger the time machine to bring him back — so he went down to his present-day Earth, which was 2014, and wiped it out and killed the Avengers. And then Nebula would turn on the time machine and he would walk through with the Avenger he had killed and go, ‘I killed you. What are you gonna do about it?’”
Speaking further, the writing duo also made a strong argument for keeping alternate realities to a minimum going forward, and talked about how digging too far into parallel universes may dampen the emotional impact of the various character departures at the end of “Avengers: Endgame.” More on that here.