Avengers: Infinity War was going to show the destruction of Xandar but made a late choice to cut a very different story point from its final script.
Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow! Major spoilers!
As Avengers: Infinity War ultimately started seeing Thanos already having attained the Power Stone from Xandar. This meant the location seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, home of the Nova Corps, had been destroyed by the Mad Titan as he took the first Infinity Stone on the way to forming his Infinity Gauntlet.
Not only does writer Stephen McFeely rule that six Infinity Stones is already too many for the story to handle by his preference, anyway, but the Xandar scene would have been redundant to the story. The writers and directors opened up about the scene on the commentary track of Avengers: Infinity War available on its digital download now.
"We should talk about why we decided to push Xandar off screen," co-director Joe Russo said.
"We wrote version of Thanos attacking Xandar and it had a similar purpose in the script to what Knowhere does now," writer Christopher Markus said. "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."
While it's not confirmed by anyone, it seems as though the Collector's lair on Knowhere could have instead been destroyed off-screen in this version of the script, allowing the movie to then start with Thor's ship being destroyed and eventually heading to Xandar for the encounter between Thanos and Gamora.
"It was an attempt to not be repetitive," Joe Russo said. "We decided to cut it from the script and, as you said, start in the middle of the story."
Furthermore, the writers wanted to be sure that each Stone collection had a deep meaning for the audience as the film was already crowded with characters who could otherwise be overlooked.
"And make every Stone collection an emotional moment," McFeely added. "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."
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