Captain America was almost Decapitated America.
Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely dropped a bombshell on fans this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con when they revealed that early drafts of the mega-hit included a sequence in which Thanos (Josh Brolin) time-traveled back to 2014 and killed all the Avengers, culminating in a grisly moment where the big bad Mad Titan walks through a portal brandishing the severed head of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
"It was a crazy idea we had early on where we were insistent on this notion that if Thanos came back to Earth, he would destroy Earth," explained Joe Russo. “And he opened a time rift, and you could see Earth destroyed on the other side of the rift. And he walked through it holding something in his hand. And you couldn’t tell what it was until he got right up to Cap, and he threw Cap’s own severed head right on the ground, [right] at his feet.
“And I remember, I think it was Markus at some point, said, ‘We can’t tell a story moving forward. ... We can’t figure out what that story is, what that third act is.”
Added Anthony Russo: “It was causing a lot of different problems in terms of how we were flowing forward on a narrative level.”
“So [Markus and McFeely] kept asking us if we could let go of this concept, [though] we pushed [on it] for a long time.”
Translation: It wasn't the grim nature of the sequence that steered the Russos (who previously directed Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War) away from beheading the First Avenger, but how it didn't quite jibe with the film’s storytelling.
"We love dark," said Joe. “Winter Soldier is a very dark movie. Stakes are high.
“We could have shot it in a way that would have been viewable by younger audiences. But the concept to us really defined who Thanos is as a world conquerer. And what the stakes are. You couldn’t ask for better stakes than throwing someone’s head at their feet.”
Avengers: Endgame will be available on Digital July 30 and Blu-ray Aug. 13.
Watch Markus & McFeely talk about how else the Endgame script changed along the way:
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