Before Captain America: Civil War hit theaters, rumors had started to circulate that an Avengers would meet their end before the final credits rolled. As fans of the film now know, those rumors did not turn out to be true.
There were some unfortunate consequences for James Rhodes as a result of the battle, however, as he lost the natural use of his lower extremities, but he is still among the living. In a recent Q&A session (via HitFix), directors Anthoy and Joe Russo along with Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige laid out the specific reasons why they decided to keep everyone alive.
According to the Russos, they did discuss the death of Steve Rogers, though it never made it past the planning phase.
We never talked about killing Cap in this one, right?" asks Anthony.
"We did for a beat" Joe replies. "We talk about everything."
"I think the thing to remember is, we do talk about every possible scenario over and over and over again for months and months and months" recalls Anthony. "We talked about it. But it never made its way into a realistic outline."
Feige noted that the intent was to fracture the team as much as possible, adding "Well, the ending was always more about fracturing the team completely before getting into Infinity War."
"We talked about lots of potential characters dying at the end of the movie" Joe adds. "And we thought that it would undercut what is really the rich tension of the movie, which is this is Kramer vs Kramer. It's about a divorce. If somebody dies, it would create empathy, which would change and allow for repair, and we didn't want to do that.
Feige compared their story to the original Civil War storyline seen in the comics. "In the amazing comic book story, which certainly the conceit of this movie is based on and some of the specifics — during their big battle, which has a hundred times as many characters, a character dies. And we talked about that for a while. And, ultimately, we thought what happened to Rhodey would be enough of a downer."
"The tragedy is the family falls apart" Anthony concludes. "Not that the family falls apart and then somebody dies."
Avengers: Infinity War is set for a May 4, 2018 release.