'Avengers: Infinity War' Dusting Originally Had Very Different Visual Effects

One of the biggest pop-culture fixations regarding Avengers: Infinity War is its dark and harrowing finale, which saw half of all life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe erased by Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet Decimation. The visual effects of "The Snap" and horrific "dusting" people out of existence is now part of the zeitgeist forever - but apparently, the visual depictions of characters being "dusted" were originally going to look much different!

In an interview with Collider, Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Deleeuw, VFX Supervisor Russell Earl, and VFX Supervisor Kelly Port all sat down to talk about making the film, when the subject of "The Dusting" came up. That's when we learned that there was originally a different plan for how the various characters would be erased from existence. As Deleeuw explains:

"If you watch the film, it's kind of like there's a signature kind of look for all the powers of the stones, right? As they're kind of used individually and then mixed together, they're always color-coded to the stone and kind of combined in interesting ways. And so when we started with the initial passes of it, since he was using all six stones, it was something that initially we tried to kind of keep that same language happening when everybody turned to dust. And all that happened was it just got be too many light effects, and then the idea of it was that there was the dust, and there was kind of an interior light like the soul was there, and it became something that ultimately just stepped on every performance we had. We started with Tom's performance, with when Pete disappears, and it was just something that just kind of shattered what was happening in the scene."

Mistakes often point the way toward the proper path to be on, and this was certainly the case for the visual effects team working on Avengers: Infinity War. By trying to go with a big, splashy, light show, Deleeuw says they ironically discovered what the best "effect" of The Dusting truly was: the performances of the actors being dusted. Once the team spotted that Rosetta Stone, the (wonderfully) horrible dusting sequences that now live in infamy were born:

"So basically the design language then became, 'Well what are the actors feeling in that moment?'" Deleeuw explains. "Pete's hanging on as long as he can, right? And so you're kind of animating the particles in a way that try to preserve that. And you look at Scarlet Witch: with Wanda, she just lets herself go. So each kind of design, once we lost those extra light effects, we just kind of went with something that was sympathetic with the dust of the performances. That's ultimately what is the shattering moment... It's really trying to understand what the actors were doing and kind of playing off [that] in the dust itself."

The intended effect was definitely felt: the "Dusting Sequence" of Avengers: Infinity War has gone on to become one the most viral and meme-worthy parts of the movie, and for many fans, it's a sight that will be burned into their brains forever. It will be interesting to see the visual effects choices for how the dusted get brought back in Avengers: Endgame.

Avengers: Infinity War is now available on home video. Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8th, Avengers: Endgame on April 26th, and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5th.

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