Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame combine to represent an unparalleled achievement in the industry. We had no idea we were heading towards this fantastic ending for the Infinity Saga when Marvel made the first Iron Man. Who would have thought at the time that Marvel would tell a massive story through 23 interconnected movies? That’s why Endgame worked so well for Marvel and fans. The movie broke numerous box office records. And the story brought the heartbreaking finale we had anticipated.
The Avengers saved the day once again, but this time they suffered major losses. It’s not just the superhero deaths that came during the mission and the final battle against Thanos. It’s also five years of coping with the events in Infinity War and the split-up of the Avengers. All that heartbreak paid off immensely, setting the stage for what will hopefully be another incredible journey towards an Endgame-like finale. But we just found out that Endgame could have delivered an even more brutal ending than what we got.
We walked out of theaters in the spring of 2018 in shock. Half of our beloved Avengers had died with one snap in what turned out to be a brilliant cliffhanger for Endgame. It didn’t take long to realize that the Infinity War deaths couldn’t have been permanent. That’s because we knew some of the characters who died would be alive again in new movies. Also, Marvel couldn’t just kill off so many franchises with a single snap.
These Avenger deaths are final
In the year that followed Infinity War, we got more evidence supporting the idea that the surviving Avengers would somehow save everyone else. But after Endgame, it was clear to anyone coming out of the theater that the deaths were final. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) died for good. Captain America (Chris Evans) retired to a different reality.
The deaths weren’t surprising. We were expecting some of the original Avengers to sacrifice themselves in Endgame. We just didn’t know who would perish. After all, at least one death was guaranteed. That’s the price to pay for the Soul Stone. And we expected the Avengers to clash against Thanos again in Endgame. That’s the sort of battle that could claim additional lives.
Also, let’s remember that the actors who played these iconic MCU characters reached the end of their deals with Marvel. That meant exits were in order, whether it was via death or retirement.
In the aftermath of Endgame, Marvel (and the Avengers) have to rebuild. We’ll have more heroes joining the Avengers, and new villains will emerge. Other crossovers are almost guaranteed, including Avengers 5.
Guiding the new Avengers are some of the old guard, including the surviving heroes from the original six. We already saw in Shang-Chi that Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is very much in the picture, although Smart Hulk reverted to Bruce Banner. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) will star in his own TV show, which premieres on Disney Plus on November 24th. And Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will pair with the Guardians in the fourth installment in the Thor franchise, set to hit theaters next summer.
The brutal Avengers: Endgame finale that never was
But Kevin Feige & Co. initially wanted all six original Avengers to die heroically while saving the day in Endgame. This plot idea just surfaced thanks to the recently released The Story of Marvel Studios book, which details behind-the-scenes events that shaped the MCU.
It was the Russo brothers who revealed in an interview that Feige’s initial pitch was for all six original Avengers to die in Endgame:
“Kevin’s initial pitch was that it was Toy Story 3 – a ‘they’re all gonna jump into a furnace together’ concept,” reveals Joe Russo. The brothers’ pushback was that there was no possible way for the story to be able to take the time to celebrate each one of them. And that, for the fans, it was an impossible scenario to walk out of the theater and process.
There’s no question that this brutal twist would have delivered a massive blow to Marvel fans. These are the six heroes who made the MCU such a success. Seeing them die one after the other would have been devastating. But now that you’ve learned this Endgame tidbit, you’ll surely wonder how it would have all worked.
Then again, we know that Marvel already planned to introduce the multiverse. That’s the kind of plot “armor” that will let Feige & Co. do whatever they want with the characters, including the dead or retired superheroes.