Infinity Wars spoilers below. Duh.
Wow. Just…wow. That didn’t go the way I expected. After all, who really could have seen Infinity War’s climactic group sing-a-long of “Aquarius” coming? I sure didn’t. Oh, and that Chris Hemsworth has the voice of an angel! I was equally surprised when every single major character to die in the MCU prior to Infinity War was resurrected by a repentant Thanos and then all walked by to awkwardly wave. It was so funny when literally no one remembered who Quicksilver was, not even his sister Wanda.
Hold on. I’m thinking of the endings of 40-Year-Old Virgin and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. So, how did Infinity War actually end?
Oh, right. Right, right, right. The finger-snap of death.
I joke, of course, because obviously Infinity War is one of the most shocking and talked about comic book movies of all time. Unlike, say, Justice League (obligatory DC burn), it’s not a movie you quickly forget. It’s not just the ending that’s giving everyone fits, though. There are cameos, absences, sudden disappearances and deaths, and general comic book logic police questions to be debated by the internet Illuminati.
Well, get ready to throw away a lot of your own theories because, dude, these days the directors and writers of these movies go everywhere they can like Chatty Cathy’s overjoyed to talk about something they’ve had to keep secret for years. That means directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been happy to dish Infinity War details on the promotional trail. As originally compiled by BusinessInsider, here are the sometimes vague answers the Russos (and occasionally others) offered for 16 of the most pressing questions about the movie:
1. Why are there scenes in the trailer that aren’t in the film?
Simple: Some of them, like the money shot of the Avengers running at the camera in Wakanda, were made specifically for the trailer, and others, such as Thanos saying “Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe,” were simply cut from the finished film. “You have to be very smart about how you cast a trailer,” Joe Russo explained, “’cause an audience can watch a trailer and basically tell you what’s gonna happen in the film.” One way to outsmart the audience, then, is to throw some stuff at them that’s not even in the movie. Hey, that’s not playing fair!
2. Why did they tell rather than show with Thanos acquiring the Power Stone on Xandar?
Infinity War is MacGuffin-The Movie. Similar to The Deathly Hallows, it’s a narrative entirely built around the good and bad guys racing to track down a series of MacGuffins. One too many moments of Thanos destroying all opposition and acquiring power would cheapen all of that and wear on the audience, or so the thinking seemed to go. Thanks to James Gunn, we knew exactly where the Power Stone was, and it’s relatively easy to picture Thanos conquering the Nova Corps when Ronan and his crew came so close to doing the same in Guardians.
Speaking at Iowa City High, Joe Russo explained that the directors thought it would be “one too many” – that it would cause the writers to “get into a trap,” where the film just became repetitive and predictable.
3. Can we expect Adam Warlock in Avengers 4?
No. Dude’s a major player in the Infinity Gauntlet graphic novel, but his MCU introduction is being saved for Guardians of the Guardians 3. “I have no interest as a director in telling a story that’s already been told or in seeing one that’s already been told. If I know all the events story as they’re going to happen then what’s the point of going to the film?”
4. Where exactly was Thanos when he grabbed the gauntlet at the end of Age of Ultron?
Most likely on Nidavellir with tiny-giant Peter Dinklage and thus possibly moments away from wiping out the dwarves manning the foundry (classic Thanos, really).
“I think that it would be connected to Eitri,” Joe Russo explained. “I think that clearly he is the one who forged the gauntlet and Thanos had the gauntlet at that point in time. It’s been a while since any of the Asgardians have interacted with Eitri and his people.”
5. Was that Steve and Bucky’s first reunion since Shuri cured him?
No, which is why it wasn’t nearly as emotional as you might have expected. “I think [Cap’s] made his way to Wakanda a couple of times,” Joe Russo explained, “and that is how we directed that scene, that was not the first time that they were seeing each other since he woke up.”
6. Was Hulk simply scared? Or is there another reason he refused to come out for Bruce throughout the movie?
“We have to be careful with the character of Banner,” Joe Russo explained. “Because if every time he’s in trouble Hulk saves him, Hulk becomes the hero and he becomes whiny. We wanted to force Banner to be the hero.”
“I think people have interpreted it as Hulk’s scared. I mean, certainly, that’s not a — I don’t know that the Hulk is ever… he’s had his ass kicked before, and he loves a good fight. But I think that it’s really reflective of the journey from Ragnarok. Is that these two characters are constantly in conflict with each other over control. And I think that if the Hulk were to say why, it’d be [that] Banner only wants Hulk for fighting. I think he’s had enough of saving Banner’s ass.”
7. What’s up with Bruce and Natasha?
It’s complicated, both on screen and off. On screen, “There’s a sort of unspoken truth that there’s no need for a spoken resolution,” Joe Russo explained. Off-screen, the Bruce and Natasha relationship is a Joss Whedon creation. Neither the Russos nor Winter Soldier/Civil War/Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had anything to do with it. While Whedon was busy threading a Bruce-Natasha relationship throughout the first two Avengers movies the Russos and two M’s were building Natasha up as Cap’s work wife. With Whedon out of the picture, they returned to their comfort zone with her for Infinity War and put off any exploration of Bruce and Natasha’s rocky history for Avengers 4.
8. Wanda used to have an accent, right? I didn’t just make that up?
Chalk it up to “this is what training with Black Widow while running from the law will do to you.” Take it away, Joe Russo:
“We intentionally tried to strip that accent away for a couple of reasons. One is that you’ll notice at the beginning of Civil War, Black Widow is training her how to be a spy. Two, she has now been on the run and one of the most distinguishing characteristics she has is her accent. So if you’re going to try to disguise yourself and not be caught, you’re going to try to limit those trigger warnings that would make it easy for someone to identify you which would be inclusive of her accent.”
9. So, why didn’t Thor aim for the head?
Because to paraphrase Ragnarok, that’s not what heroes do. More to the point, he just really wanted to gloat. Joe Russo:
“[Thor] wanted to tell Thanos that he got his revenge. These are choices that characters who are feeling immense pain make and hopefully, the audience can learn to empathize with those characters because they can grow through stories.”
10. Can I please get a missing person update on Valkyrie, Korg, and Miek?
Joe Russo: “Prior to that [opening] scene, escape ships were deployed for Asgardians. Including Valkyrie.”
Now, what about Korg and Miek?
Actually, he declined to clarify if they survived. Only Valkyrie got the “don’t worry – she’s not dead” nod of assurance. For now.
11. Why bring back the Red Skull now?
Because someone had to be basil exposition at that moment, and it worked better if that someone was a character we’d seen before.
“Somebody had to be the gatekeeper to the Soul Stone,” Joe Russo explained in an interview with Uproxx, “and somebody had to distribute the rules to Thanos and Gamora.”
“Somebody who has a history with the stones may seem like they have a little more authority in terms of their experience,” Anthony Russo noted, “especially a tragic experience.”
12. That was totally the soul world at the end, right?
Yes. The Russos have confirmed this: using all six Infinity Stones together prompted what Joe Russo has called “an out of body experience,” a vision of the Soul World. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Soul World of the MCU will work like its counterpart in the comics, but it’s given plenty of hope to those who want Gamora to return. She’s potentially just dead for now, with her soul trapped and waiting to be saved.
13. How did they decide who to kill?
“All of our choices are based on story,” Anthony explained. “It’s based upon the road that these characters have traveled, in not only this movie, but throughout the entire entity up to this point because, again, these movies are the culmination. So all we can say is that they are very focused story choices.”
14. Yeah, but why kill Black Panther so close to the release of his first movie and virtual guarantee of a sequel?
This answer actually comes from one of the screenwriters. “Remember,” McFeely told BuzzFeed, “when we’re writing [Infinity War], and even shooting, there is no Black Panther movie. We don’t know it’s going to be so good, so effective, so resonant.”
15. And Groot’s last words were…
His final “I am Groot,” directed toward Rocket, actually translates to “dad,” at least that’s what Guardians director James Gunn said on Twitter. As with his prior revelation that Baby Groot is actually the son of the original Groot, not just a reborn version of him, every time Gunn reveals a bit of character backstory via Twitter he breaks our hearts.
16. Where’s Hawkeye?
Patience, young internet. We’ll see him soon enough. Joe Russo told i09 Marvel had “a very specific story with him that… is a long play, not a short play. Audiences just need to be patient.”
Current theory: Leftovers-style, Hawkeye loses his entire family and goes full-on Carrie Coon, just, ya know, more archery-prone. If you haven’t seen Leftovers and don’t get the reference stop what you’re doing and go watch that show immediately. Actually, I would suggest that in general. Leftovers is one of the greatest TV shows of this or any generation. On the plus side, it’s plot about a world coping with the sudden loss of a chunk of the global population is right in Avengers 4′s wheelhouse, just, again, far more prestige drama misery porn, less intergalactic warlords, magical gloves and vengeful archers.
Source: BusinessInsider, which pulled the quotes from io9, ComicBook.com, Buzzfeed, various podcasts and other sources