To better manage the mighty ensemble assembled in Avengers: Infinity War, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely zeroed in on a decision to place bad guy Thanos (Josh Brolin) on a hero's journey.
"We figured out after banging our heads against the wall for many, many weeks that [Infinity War] would be Thanos' story. That's the only way we could get the proper amount of Avengers in it and without short-shifting too many people," McFeely told Backstory Magazine.
"It also become clear after several drafts that anything that was not on rails on that plot had to go, which means there are no scenes of action that are not also character scenes. I've become a zealot about this — that scenes do more than one thing."
If scenes in that crowded crossover don't do more than one thing, "you've written the wrong scene."
"So, scenes about decisions or choices or action are all tests for a character and a way for characters to present themselves, even through action," McFeely said. "And if you have a talking scene, every scene still needs to do more than one thing."
From there, the process meant whittling Infinity War down into something more defined: an early version of the script was narrated by Thanos and had the tone of a gangster film.
"The Endgame script was finished prior to Infinity War. Infinity War was harder to write, if I remember correctly," Joe Russo told Backstory, explaining early scripts experimented with "so many different structural approaches."
"There was one where Thanos narrated the whole movie, and it sort of had the tone of a gangster film, where you've got this heavy narration from his point of view," Russo continued. "It was an interesting experiment, taught us a lot about him as a character, but it ultimately didn't work as a movie structurally. The narration was repetitive, but it led us to the sort of smash-and-grab structure we ultimately used."
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