Avengers: Endgame Writers Discuss Ideas From Their 60-Page Document; Nova, House of M, Easter Eggs
Markus & McFeeley discuss some of the early concepts from a document they wrote before Infinity War.
Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley have had quite a daunting run. Starting off writing for Marvel’s then lesser known Captain America: The First Avenger, the pair have since written for all of Cap’s major appearances. When tasked with writing the final two Avengers movies, the writers wanted to try all sorts of ideas. The result was a 60-page document that they came up with before commencing writing on Infinity War and Endgame.
The document was a bible of ideas, a wishlist of theoretical scenarios that everyone would like to see play out. “We had everything. Literally every variation we could think of or that was sitting there in the comics untapped. With absolutely no value placed next to them,” said Markus. McFeeley chimed in, explaining how they decided against weighing in on their own ideas. “We may have inherently said this is a five-star idea, this is a one-star idea, but we tried not to present that to the group.”
The document was eventually presented to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige who circled some of his favorites, that eventually made it to the movies and helped the duo develop their script. While its PDF may never see the light of the day, the writers now opened up about some of the concepts that were a part of that document, including the potential inclusion of Nova and the House of M storyline.
Nova has been a character widely theorized for inclusion in the MCU; it’s in multiple fan’s desired lists. The writers conceptualized a more detailed sequence in which Xandar would be decimated by Thanos, leaving only one surviver, Richard Rider, who would go on to assume the mantle of Nova. Furthermore, he would’ve served as the character who warns and rallies everyone against the threat of Thanos, a role played by Bruce Banner in Avengers: Infinity War.
I remember going through several scenarios of Nova. Thanos could come and kill all the Nova Corps, except one guy. Richard Rider, who then becomes … I think in that scenario he became the herald, kind of like the Hulk was [in Infinity War when he crashed into the Sanctum Sanctorum]. Someone who could come out and tell people.Christopher Markus on including Nova in Avengers: Infinity War
The other big storyline that the writers considered adding was House of M, although the Disney-Fox situation complicated things. Essentially, House of M deals with Scarlet Witch reshaping reality into an alternate universe of sorts where Magneto rules the world. It’s up to the Avengers and the X-Men to team up and stop this. One can see now where the problems would lie. Regardless, McFeeley still felt excited by the possibility of doing a House of M.
I think House of M would be awesome. But you’ve got to earn it.Stephen McFeeley on doing House of M
The writers also talked about a crucial scene in Endgame (spoilers ahead). Tony Stark’s funeral sequence had every major character in the MCU present to pay their condolences. Rather than it simply being mentioned as “all characters” in the script, Markus & McFeeley specifically wrote the names of everyone they wanted on that scene, including certain people who might have been forgotten.
Christopher Markus: We specified everybody [individually]. I’m wondering if we specified anyone who didn’t end up being in the film.
McFeely: No, I don’t think so. If you got to the third act of the movie and you survived you end up at the funeral, and some people who didn’t even do that. Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Harley Keener — the kid from Iron Man 3. We certainly debated it. “I recognize all these people, but this kid has grown like a weed over the past five years.”
Markus: It’s weird, because it is a sequence that’s all about recognition. Oh my god, look at all those people I know, and you hit this kid and you’re like OK…
Interestingly, the writers also shared their thoughts on Kevin Feige’s tendency to break things. They opined that Feige loves tearing stuff apart, be it the twist in The Winter Soldier or the reveal in Civil War.
He gets a glint. He gets excited, especially when a big swing is proposed. Something that will kind of staff stuff, he does seem to respond to that. “Take down SHIELD. Civil War.” He sees the value in breaking the toys. He was always pressing for a good sized time jump and to make it permanent. “Do it. We’ll deal with it and it will just make it more interesting. Why would you undo it and go back to zero?” If we went back five years and undid it, that’s five-and-a-half hours of movie that sort of half no point. You loop back around to the beginning and it never happened.
It’s great to see the team’s collective sense of direction when taking the MCU forward. Where a time-travel solution by undoing everything that happened would’ve been an easy way out, it would’ve still felt like a cheap gimmick, lessening the impact of all films in the MCU. At this point, the franchise has been equated to a long-running serial TV Show that gives its characters enough room to develop and grow over multiple films.
The entire interview is a fascinating read and you should totally check it out at The Hollywood Reporter if you have the time.
Avengers: Endgame is playing across theaters worldwide now. Here’s our (spoiler-free) movie review in case you still haven’t seen it.