"It's a tough balance. We love the idea of these movies being a culmination of everything that's happened in the MCU, so our ambition as storytellers is to tell the total story and include as many characters as we can," director Anthony Russo told ET.
"But of course, we want to find the right balance to make sure that we're not overreaching, to make sure that the story we are telling with each character is really compelling and rich. So yeah, we do have to find that balance as we step through the script with [screenwriters Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely."
Cutting down characters and streamlining screen time meant eliminating little-needed origins or histories for characters in an effort to keep the movie with its already expansive cast from getting too overstuffed and hard to follow.
"There were early drafts of the script that were insane, probably had a hundred speaking parts. [There were] different approaches to style in terms of execution. One even had Thanos narrating most of the movie," added director Joe Russo.
"So it gave us a lot of flexibility in terms of how much story we can jam into it. But at a certain point, you know, you get 20 pages into it [and] it was so dense, you're like, 'Nobody's going to be able to follow this.' So we just started stripping things out."
The screenwriting duo of Markus and McFeely, who handled a wide scope of characters in Captain America: Civil War, previously told Buzzfeed characters who were little-seen or underserved in the packed Infinity War — like Chris Evans' Captain America or Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow — will have more of an opportunity to shine in Avengers 4, which allows more breathing room after half the Infinity War cast was dusted by Thanos' devastating snap.
"We had so many characters in movie 1, and we knew it was a two-movie conversation," McFeely said.1comments
"Some characters were better served in movie 2 after this event. We were making some choices based on some characters we knew were going to leave us at the end of the first movie, so they got highlighted in the first movie. And some who were going to be in the second movie more maybe got less attention or less screentime [in Infinity War] — I'm thinking of Cap and Natasha, specifically. It's about the story we wanted to tell in movie 2, mostly."
Avengers 4 is dated May 3, 2019.