Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow. Major spoilers!
With the villain of Captain America's first outing having been banished to Vormir, the location of the Soul Stone was revealed in Avengers: Infinity War. He was acting as its keeper, telling those who wish to control it that they need to sacrifice something they love, prompting Thanos to toss Gamora from a cliff. As noted by screenwriter Stephen McFelly on Avengers: Infinity War's cmmentary track attached to digital downloads, this was "a fetish Chris [Markus] and I have" which ended up paying off in dividends for long time fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Cinematically, he's the first one to be obsessed with these Infinity Stones in the MCU and he clearly did not die at th end of First Avenger," screenwriter Christopher Markus said. "The idea of where he might have gone is so tantalizing and much like being able to fill roles that would be there anywhere with William Hurt or Benecio del Toro, he fit this moment perfectly."
Markus and McFeely's efforts with the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Captain America: The First Avenger and continued through Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers 4. They have been a part of the franchise since its earliest phase which lends itself to their pulling from its history.
"The MCU is a unique experiment and the fact that we've been there for all the phases is a privilege but we know where all the bodies are buried," McFeely said. "Sometimes, you can dig a body up and put him in a scene."
While fans were left wondering where the Soul Stone was hiding until the release of Avengers: Infinity War without a single tease to indicate its existence prior, the plan was the same from the beginning.
"It was early on," that the team came up with Vormir and a sacrifice according to McFeely. "It was the only way we got it. The first draft was you had to make an exchange like this."
The moment was always intended to catapult the film with an emotional jab into its third act.
"When we began to lock into this movie being Thanos' journey and Thanos' movie, he needs a dark moment," Markus said. "What is a dark moment for a person who bathes in darkness all the time? It's losing the one thing he loves and we couldn't have that be just accidental or purposeless. If we're gonna kill of a major character like Gamora, if we're gonna kill off Thanos' daughter, there has to be a massive plot reason for it and it dovetailed nicely with this one missing Stone."
There were no easy-way-outs for the team on this massive ensemble. "An easy look at it would be, 'Oh, we lost Gamora. That's bad for the Avengers, that's bad for the audience,'" McFeely said. "That's not why it's the end of act two. It's the end of act two because it's bad for Thanos. It's the worst thing that could happen for Thanos. It's the one thing standing between Thanos and getting what he wants, so we always wants to drive that this is the end of act two."1comments
Ultimately, Zoe Saldana's look says it all when the Red Skull informs Gamora that Thanos is not shedding tears for himself. "One of the saddest moments in the movie for me is [Gamora's] reaction to Red Skull," Joe Russo said.
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