Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely originally envisioned a wildly different set piece on Morag, the planet War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) visit in 2014 when retrieving the Power Stone.
“There were other places... there were different versions,” Anthony said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast when asked if the creative team considered using time travel to return to other precise moments in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“As is our process with Markus and McFeely and [president] Kevin Feige, we like to chase down a lot of different scenarios. So we do generally play with a lot of ideas, especially for sort of moments in the movie like this. There was a moment where Morag was a completely different set piece.”
Added Joe, “That’s true, that was a completely different set piece and different characters were involved in that set piece.”
“I do remember that, and I think there might have been other things that both of us are blanking on right now [laughs],” Anthony admitted.
The directors did recall a Morag-set action sequence that would have involved War Machine, Nebula, and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who in the finalized film instead pair off and venture to Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone. In this proposed sequence, the foursome would have reached Morag before Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) travels to the planet in the opening minutes of Guardians of the Galaxy.
“I think we had one where the entire planet was under water now and that was the complication when they arrived at Morag. They had to actually get to the temple of the Power Stone by [water],” Anthony said.
“They were going there earlier than Quill had gone, and there was a tide shift on the planet and it was under water and now they had to figure out — it was a set piece I think that involved Widow, Hawkeye, Nebula, and Rhodey,” said Joe. “All four of them were involved in the set piece.”
Anthony admitted with a laugh “there may have been a giant sea eel.” It was something that was “a very early idea.”
Instead, the decision was made to halve the four heroes and uncomplicate the set piece by having War Machine render Peter Quill unconscious while preoccupied with his Walkman.
“Then one day we were all sitting there going, ‘What the hell are we doing?’” Joe said. “So much emotional capital with Quill, just have Quill show up and they punch him in the face and they take the stone.”
The Russo brothers also revealed a dramatically altered scene set on Vormir that would have involved Black Widow and Hawkeye coming under fire by Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) forces.
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