Right now, we’re in the middle of a major Marvel dry spell as we impatiently await the release of Avengers 4 in 2019 to give us some much-needed resolution to the shocking finale of this year’s mega-blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War. While we’re not likely to get much in the way of concrete answers to our questions until Avengers 4 is released on April 26, 2019, the Blu-ray release of Infinity War (available August 14) has some some surprising revelations.
Specifically, the film’s commentary track featuring co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo, as well as screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely contains some interesting new information that sheds light on some previously unanswered Infinity War questions. Here are the 15 biggest secrets that have been divulged about Avengers: Infinity War.
15. Why Loki Died Right Off The Bat
Infinity War wastes no time in establishing the threat Thanos and the Black Order pose to the universe, with two significant characters killed right off the bat. But while it was hardly surprising to see someone like Heimdall get axed, Loki’s death is considerably more shocking given Tom Hiddleston’s tenure with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the film’s commentary track, Joe Russo reveals why they wasted no time in killing Loki:
“Part of what we wanted to do, out of the gate, was to unsettle you as you’re watching the film. You’re sitting in the theater thinking, ‘Most characters in the Marvel Universe have been safe for a decade.’ And we wanted to knock you off-kilter and make the audience understand that the stakes were going to be significant and the cost was going to be very high in the movie.”
Prior to Infinity War, the MCU caught a lot of flak for its seeming refusal to kill off any important characters, so it makes sense to give audiences the one-two punch of Heimdall and Loki right away to establish that all bets are off with Infinity War (even if it still kind of feels like we haven’t seen the last of Loki – he’s a slippery customer, after all). Then again, perhaps the Trickster God really is dead and gone, as Stephen McFeely and Joe Russo also confirm that Thanos had unfinished business with Loki, which prompted the neck snap:
McFeely: “Remember, he [Thanos] had a relationship with Loki, even if it was off-screen where he entrusted him with a duty in ‘Avengers 1’ and Loki failed. Russo: “He’s [Thanos] making him [Loki] pay.” McFeely: “Thanos has a long memory.”
14. Thanos is More Powerful Than The Hulk (Even Without Infinity Stones)
Out of all the Avengers, the Hulk would be the one many would assume capable of going toe-to-toe with Thanos in a physical fight, but that notion is quickly tossed aside when the Mad Titan easily puts the big green guy down aboard Thor’s ship. Of course, Thanos was also in possession of the Power Stone, giving him a significant edge over his opponent. Surely the Hulk would be able to take Thanos down in a fair fight, right? Well, according to the directors’ commentary, Thanos is already stronger than the Hulk in the MCU without any Infinity Stones and defeats him without even using the Power Stone! Suddenly, the line “We have a Hulk” doesn’t quite pack the same punch it once did.
13. Valkyrie Lives!
Yeah, this was all but confirmed previously, but we now have confirmation that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie survived the attack on Thor’s ship, along with several other Asgardians. Unfortunately, no one’s giving any ideas on how she managed to get away, but Christopher Markus did leave us with one tidbit that has us very worried: “Pray for Korg.” C’mon, don’t play us like that!
12. Why The Attack On Xandar Wasn’t Shown
Avengers: Infinity War is an incredibly busy movie and it goes without saying that a lot of scenes ended up on the cutting room floor in order to keep the film’s pacing and length at manageable levels. However, one significant scene that many felt should have been in Infinity War, even just briefly, is Thanos’ attack on Xandar, which happens prior to the attack on Thor’s ship that opens the movie. The Russos have previously stated that they chose to not show the Xandar battle because they “thought it’d be one too many” in terms of scenes showing how Thanos gets the Infinity Stones but according to Christopher Markus, they actually had a whole scene planned out that would have also included Gamora and Thanos coming face-to-face much earlier on:
“We wrote a version of Thanos attacking Xandar and it had a similar purpose in the script to what Knowhere does now. It was a place where Thanos and Gamora encountered each other but the fact of the matter is you know exactly what… If Thanos went to Xandar to get that stone, you know what happened. It was a big battle and he got it.”
Okay fine, but why did we get a scene with the Collector and the Reality Stone then? According to McFeely, it all has to do with scenes needing to accomplish more than just one thing:
“[We wanted to] make every Stone collection an emotional moment. Sometimes its because there’s a person who is either wearing one or has one in his head and sometimes it’s because of who Thanos encounters there, what you have to get it, who you have to sacrifice…Scenes need to do more than one thing and every Stone collection scene is going to be plot based but we also wanted it to be deeply character based.”
11. Why The Black Order Was Weakened
The Black Order occupy a sort of nebulous space within Infinity War. On the one hand, we’re happy the Order exists, as they give the Avengers some minor villains to work up to on their way to challenging Thanos. On the other hand, only Ebony Maw and Proxima Midnight are given anything close to a personality and even then, we learn next to nothing about these characters, so it’s hard to get invested in their fates. Interestingly, not only did an earlier draft of the script contain backstories for the Black Order, there was a conscious decision to make them weaker than their comics counterparts. Here’s why:
“The Black Order, in particular, we worked hard to adjust them to the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” said Joe Russo. “In the Hickman run, I thought the characters were too powerful. And nobody wants the sub-villain to outshine the villain. And we adjusted their power sets so that they lined up in a way that was more interesting with our heroes. Which is why Maw is a wizard… he can control things on a molecular level.”
Honestly, we didn’t have much of an issue with the Black Order being nerfed, but it’s good to see the filmmakers offering an explanation for something that didn’t sit right with some fans.
10. The Hulk Wasn’t Actually Scared
One of the big personal conflicts in Infinity War is Bruce Banner’s inability to transform into the Hulk. Given the aforementioned beatdown he receives from Thanos, a popular explanation for Hulk’s resistance to Banner is that he was embarrassed by what happened and is now scared of being defeated again. However, according to Joe Russo, Hulk’s motivation has less to do with fear and more to do with getting out from under Banner’s control:
“This was an interesting journey we went on with Banner, trying to decide how we move him forward in the Marvel Universe. What makes him unique as a character is that there is a host body that is being fought over by two distinct personalities who hate each other. And both want control of the host body. So we thought an interesting direction to take him in is what if Banner, who typically uses the Hulk to solve crisis situations, what if the Hulk were no longer interested in solving those problems for Banner? So that the relationship is becoming increasingly dysfunctional. That’s what’s going on here.”
“People have speculated whether there was some fear on the Hulk’s part about having to face Thanos again. But I think ultimately what it is, is that he’s tired of playing hero to Bruce Banner.”
That certainly puts an interesting spin on the dichotomy between Banner and the Hulk. One thing worth pointing out is that since it’s been established that the Hulk won’t let Banner die, would he have allowed himself to be unleashed if Bruce had been in mortal peril at any point during Infinity War? In any case, this is clearly going to be an ongoing issue, so we’ll be interested to see how Avengers 4 finds a resolution to Banner’s “performance issues”.
9. Numbers Game
There are quite a few little details revealed in the Infinity War commentary worth mentioning, including confirmation that the entire film takes place over the span of less than two days (from Thanos killing Loki to snapping everyone out of existence). A few more numbers given: the Wakandan army numbered about 500 on-screen warriors (digitally boosted up from 70 Wakandan warrior extras), while the “space dog” aliens numbered 10,000 strong.
8. Thanos Originally Let Gamora Escape
As revealed on the commentary track, two different versions of the scene in which Thanos tells Gamora that he knows she lied to him about the Soul Stone were shot. The shorter version is the one we see in the film, but the other one — included in the Blu-ray’s deleted scenes — includes a flashback sequence showing a younger Gamora returning to Thanos from battle. This same scene includes a line in which Thanos tells Gamora that he let her escape from him (all part of his master plan, we guess), which seems a little odd considering how much he supposedly loves her. To be honest, we’re happy this version didn’t make it into the film.
7. Cap Almost Didn’t Show Up Until The End Of The Movie
Even though Chris Evans is one of the film’s top-billed stars, he really doesn’t have that big of a role in Infinity War. He gets that totally awesome entrance in Edinburgh, helps lead the defense of Wakanda, and holds Thanos back for all of five seconds (which is admittedly pretty impressive) but overall, there’s a lot less of Steve Rogers than we’re used to seeing.
It may come as a surprise then to learn that the original plan was for Cap to not even show up until the last 20 minutes of the film – after Thanos had already arrived in Wakanda! We’re happy that idea was scrapped and also to learn that Captain America will have a much bigger story in Avengers 4, which makes sense since it will more than likely be Chris Evans’ final appearance as the iconic hero.
6. Why Thanos Didn’t Just Double Resources
One reaction to Infinity War that’s been written about extensively is the idea that Thanos’ plan really doesn’t make any sense, when he theoretically could have just used the Infinity Gauntlet to increase resources throughout the galaxy and avoided a mass genocide. While others have argued that the reason he didn’t do this was because he couldn’t, the Russos have confirmed that in fact he COULD have done just that but didn’t because, well, Thanos is kind of a sociopath:
“People have asked us why Thanos didn’t just use the Stones to double the resources in the universe, since clearly, he has not. … Well, he was told no to an idea that he had that he felt was the only solution. And then was proved right to himself when that solution was not acted upon. So, his Messianic complex – he is now committed to following through on the idea that he had many, many years ago.”
Basically, Thanos already had proof that his plan would work because of what happened on his home world of Titan, so he wasn’t going to be swayed from his mission. Then again, none of the Avengers ever actually suggest trying to increase resources instead, so it’s not like anyone was giving Thanos any better ideas.
5. What Took Thanos So Long
With six years (give or take) having passed between the events of the first Avengers and Infinity War, there was a lot of good-natured ribbing going on about Thanos being bad at his job. After all, it takes him quite a long time to make a play for the Infinity Stones and when he finally does, it only takes him a few days to acquire all six. According to the filmmakers, the reason Thanos took so long is that he didn’t know where all the Stones were. Specifically, Thanos needed to find the Soul Stone and it wasn’t until Nebula tried to assassinate him and revealed that Gamora knew where it was that he finally had all the information he needed to put his plans into motion.
4. Soul World, Confirmed
One of the most mysterious scenes in Infinity War occurs right after Thanos does his big snap, as he suddenly finds himself in a strange ethereal world with a younger Gamora by his side, who asks him what his actions cost him. The most popular theory is that Thanos was seeing the Soul World within the Soul Stone. Even though the meaning behind this scene is still open to speculation, the commentary track does confirm that Thanos was transported to or at least hallucinated the Soul World after he snapped his fingers. This is significant because it confirms the existence of Soul World and thus supports the theory that all the people Thanos killed were transported there when when they died.
3. The Character Deaths Were Chosen
While the victims of Thanos’ snap are presented as being randomly selected, from a writing standpoint we know this wasn’t the case, especially when the film ends with all of the original Avengers team still alive. Bringing the first Avengers back for one last hurrah in Avengers 4 was surely behind the decision, but the Russos also reveal that the deaths were selected in order to maximize drama:
“In terms of our choices about who Thanos would end up eradicating with his snap, it was very story focused,” explains Anthony Russo. “How do we pay off each individual character’s storyline most profoundly? The first person to go is Bucky Barnes, and it’s shot from Captain America’s perspective. You know, we’re watching Cap go through the experience of watching [Bucky] go away. We’re watching Okoye, whose number one mission it is in life is to protect the king. She watches the king go in front of her. And to see those characters react in those situations is very powerful and resonant.”
We’re going to go ahead and assume that the same was also true for Rocket watching Groot die and Peter Parker dying in Tony Stark’s arms. Speaking of Spider-Man …
2. Spider-Man Was Supposed To Die Quicker
While every Avenger death is tragic in its own way, Spider-Man’s is easily the most emotional, thanks in large part to how well Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. sell the scene. It may come as a surprise then to learn that this heartbreaking scene was originally planned to be much more brief, but Holland’s improvisation and Downey’s coaching led to the writing team’s decision to “draw out” the scene for maximum impact. Well, mission accomplished you sadistic jerks!
1. Thanos Was Damaged By The Infinity Gauntlet
In addition to the revelation that Thanos needed to close his fist in order to use the Infinity Gauntlet because the filmmakers felt he would have been too powerful otherwise, Joe Russo also confirms on the commentary that actual snap caused permanent damage to the Mad Titan:
“See there, with his Gauntlet and the arm, the power that it takes to use all six Stones is significant, and clearly damaged the Gauntlet and damaged Thanos permanently.”
Eagle-eyed viewers had previously picked up on the gauntlet being damaged, but this is the first we’ve heard about Thanos himself being hurt in the process (other than the gaping hole in his torso left by Thor, of course). Here’s hoping that Thanos’ damaged state makes him a little more manageable for the remaining Avengers in Avengers 4 because something tells us they’re going to need every advantage they can get if they’re to have any hope of reversing what Thanos has done.
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