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IndieWire FYC Brunch: Why ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Writers Decapitated Thanos in First 15 Minutes

At IndieWire's FYC Brunch, screenwriter Stephen McFeely looked back at the decision to kill Thanos in the first act.

"Avengers: Endgame"

“Avengers: Endgame” had no shortage of shocking twists for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (rest in peace, Black Widow), but one of the major surprises came early when “Infinity War” villain Thanos (Josh Brolin in motion capture) was killed by some of the surviving Avengers. After Thanos reveals he has destroyed the Infinity Stones, thus making it impossible for the Avengers to bring back their dusted friends, Thor reacts in rage and decapitates Thanos.

“The idea of killing your villain 15 minutes into the movie came out of banging our heads against the wall for weeks and weeks,” co-writer Stephen McFeely revealed during IndieWire’s first-ever Consider This FYC Brunch. “Because how can you fight a villain who is truly unstoppable. So what would it mean if you did kill him? What if he let you kill him? It allowed you to deal with their feeling of loss.”

Killing Thanos in the first act doesn’t make any of the surviving Avengers’ realities better. Following Thanos’ decapitation, McFeely and Christopher Markus’ script jumps forward in time five years to reveal a world still failing to overcome the disappearance of half of the population. Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers/Captain America is seen leading a therapy group of struggling survivors, while Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow feels aimless in her new role as head of the Avengers. By killing Thanos, the characters’ feeling of loss is only amplified, thus setting the stage for the main narrative of the “Endgame” script.

Click here for more highlights from IndieWire’s Consider This FYC Brunch.

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