The big Hall H panels during day two of Comic-Con began with an appearance by writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who have had the honor of writing four of the pivotal chapters in the last phase of the MCU, including the box office buster Avengers: Endgame.
The Beat‘s own Hannah Lodge is in Hall H as we speak — I’m afraid to ask her how long she was standing on line to get in there — and she got us some intel from the panel of what the writers spoke about.
First of all, they spoke on a scene that was written for the Avengers movies but not used that was inspired by a visit to their offices from Kevin Feige…
“He had brought a bunch of comic panels with him, because we were pretty far down the road on very concrete things, as you do when you write a script,” Markus told the Hall H crowd. “He wanted to make sure we didn’t lose the psychedelic aspect of the Starlin-verse, where people travel inside their own eyeballs … so we stuck the Living Tribunal in the movie who you may know is a gigantic guy with four faces on one head that rotates and passes judgment on you. As Thanos and Doctor Strange came to blows, Doctor Strange blew Thanos’ mind and sent him through the mindscape…”
“Not unlike the Ancient One did to Strange in Doctor Strange,” McFeely added, The idea was that he’s sort of zipping through the universe being presented with all of his many, many, many crimes, so bodies are being thrown at him … hands are grasping at him, and it’s just very grim, and then at the very end, he gets dumped in front of the Living Tribunal who judges him guilty, something like that.”
“It was great,” McFeely continued. “When you introduce the idea of the Living Tribunal, it does open up a whole new era… I don’t know if my grandmother would understand that.”
“Well, it’s also, if that guy exists, why is Thanos a problem?” Markus concluded, to explain why it was cut. “Just have him smack him around a little bit.”
The funny thing is that there were a few rumors circulating earlier this year that the Living Tribunal would appear in Avengers: Endgame, but the way the writers were talking about it, this was something actually planned for the battle at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
The writers also mentioned that they wrote a longer scene between Chris Hemsworth‘s Thor and Natalie Portman‘s Jane Foster that didn’t make the cut, replaced by the scene in Endgame with Renée Russo as Thor’s mother. (SPOILERS for Endgame!)
“Once we figured out the track we wanted Thor to be on, that he was really going to crumble as any of us would … the only person who could put him together….” Markus began to explain. “We wrote a scene with him and Jane, but Jane isn’t the person to put him back together. Odin is not the person to put him back together. Really, it only is his mother, and we couldn’t have him run, get the stone and then go talk to his Mom — it would take a disproportionately large amount of time. Plus we’ve never seen the Ether turn into a Stone. Nobody’s seen it happen — it just happens.”
This leads to the moderator confirming with the duo there was another scene between Rocket and Jane Foster where he explains how he is going to extract the Ether from her, but it was also cut to keep the movie just over three hours.
The writers will tag off to Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who have the next Hall H panel that will be more of a conversation about a lot of different things, but what everyone is really anticipating is Saturday evening’s Marvel Studios panel.
but before that, the writers shared a few of the whiteboards from production, one that helped them keep track of where the Infinity Stones were at all times and then another one outlining the final act of Endgame. (SPOILERS if you haven’t seen it yet, of course.)