Thanos easily goes down as the most vicious villain the Marvel superheroes have ever faced on screen. With the snap of his fingers, he eliminated half of the universe’s population, forcing the Avengers to overcome ridiculous odds just to restore balance to life as we know it.
But AVENGERS: ENDGAME almost had a bloodier sidebar that might have pushed the limits of its PG-13 rating and would have had dedicated Marvel audience members losing their heads. ENDGAME co-writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely spoke with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con and revealed a planned scene where Thanos would travel through time, defeat the Avengers from the past and present them a “gift."
“Let me get very specific. When Thanos comes back, we have to decide what that playing field's going to look like,” Stephen McFeely said. “So, we have a little time wobbly stuff where he comes through a rift that Nebula creates by playing with the machine there. At one point, we had created a battlefield where it was 2023 on one side of the line and 2014 on the other side of the line. In doing that, maybe he had even gone to the Earth of his own time, destroyed it, killed the Avengers and waited until she opens the rift, and he would walk out … Giant Man's body would be behind him. Like the Avengers have all been totally destroyed. And he throws something out in front of the Avengers and they go, ‘Oh my God, it's Steve's head.’”
Now that would be an eye-popping way for Thanos the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin) to emerge onto the scene for the conclusive third act battle in AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Imagine bringing the whole family to a screening of AVENGERS: ENDGAME and having to deal with Captain America’s severed head bouncing across your IMAX screen — potentially in 3D?
Mind you, this would have been the head of a past Steve Rogers, as co-writer Christopher Markus tries to explain.
“[This] is not to say we were planning on killing Steve at the end of the movie. We were planning on showing living Steve his own head,” Markus said. “Even in that scenario, he was still going too dance with Peggy. He would just be a little more creeped out.”
They made the right call. There already was one beheading in AVENGERS: ENDGAME, as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finally got to go for the head when the Avengers confronted Thanos in his garden. Two would have been too much, especially if an American icon like Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was the victim.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME is still playing in select AMC theatres.