As Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, writers of Infinity War and Avengers 4, describe what it was like going through the writing process of the two films. There are possible spoilers, so if you haven’t seen Infinity War yet I would recommend holding off reading this article until you get the chance to see it.
“We tried not to freak out about it and then we gave ourselves permission to give everyone varying sized arcs and participation. So it’s not one movie where 25 people are in a room, scene after scene after scene. It’s [the] smaller stories that weave together and come together and break apart so that everyone eventually will feel like they have a good-sized role in the movie.”
Markus and McFeely would then narrow down the script that they felt could be taken out to make the story smoother. McFeely empathized how much Infinity War belonged to Thanos, played by Josh Brolin.
“Anything that didn’t involve the hard Thanos storyline, there was no room for. He was sort of delightful because he’s not a maniac, but he’s certainly amoral, he’s smarter than most of the people in rooms he’s in.
Markus pitched in, highlighting the joy that he and McFeely had writing the story of Thanos and the importance of Thanos being the main character in Infinity War.
“Thanos has been a huge amount of fun, because he’s so big and so ambitious and so philosophical that, when you get scenes with Thanos in them, they’re automatically interesting because he’s not going to just glower and do bad guy things. He’s going to be as three-dimensional as we can get him. But he’s also simultaneously trying to do the biggest, craziest thing anyone in any of our movies has ever done, so he’s just a candy store of things.”
While Captain America: Civil War was filming, Markus and McFeely would go over a bunch of comics and find things that they thought could be interesting for the Infinity War storyline and presented it to Marvel. Once everyone was on the same page, the writers locked themselves in a room writing the script for the last four months of 2015. Markus described the process during those four months.
“The Russo brothers would come in when they weren’t editing Civil War and Kevin [Feige] would come in when he wasn’t doing one of six other things, and we slowly marched through outlining two movies by the holidays. Then Chris and I went off and wrote those two movies in the first four or five months of 2016. And then we have just been re-writing those movies for the last year and a half.” If that endless rewriting sounds intense, it was only the beginning.”
McFeely preached the importance of being on set during filming so they could have a better idea of all the characters who were in the story.
“With all moving parts of it, it was kind of important to have us on set. We’ve been on set for all the movies we’ve done for them. I should say all three Cap movies. So, particularly with the Russo brothers, we do a lot of nipping and tucking and tailoring and adjusting as the dailies come in and the best performances come in. It’s a living beast for that whole year.”
Markus and McFeely had run into some difficulties while writing some of the characters involved in Infinity War.
“In some ways I would say Black Widow and Steve Rogers [are the hardest to write because]… neither of them are big talkers to begin with, so any time you wind up writing a scene where they sit down and have a chat, it’s going to get cut because it doesn’t feel right. They’re very much on stories, so it’s hard particularly in a movie where you’re not spending all the time with them to find the room to give them a three-dimensional portrait.”
Markus started to get nervous when talking about the roles in Infinity War that Steve Rogers aka Captain America, played by Chris Evans, and Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, would have carrying into 2019’s Avengers 4.
“I think we did… over the course of both movies… those two have a… there’s a big… I just want someone to gesture to me and say ‘Shut up!’. Over the course of both movies, everyone gets equal time, put it that way.”
McFeely seconded Markus’ statement about not only, Rogers and Romanoff’s roles, but also the missing characters like Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd.
“Rest assured, even if your favorite character in any one particular movie didn’t feel like the star, over the course of two movies they’ll have had plenty of screen time and story. On a side note, I love writing for Ant-Man! He’s always the new guy in all these situations, and he’s always got this wide-eyed thing, and we know that Rudd will beat it very often, so whatever line you give him, he’ll pull a little salt and sugar out of it and it’ll be hilarious.”
Don’t worry Hawkeye fans, he will definitely be involved in Avengers 4 as Markus and McFeely haven’t forgotten about the bow and arrow archer played by Jeremy Renner.
“We like Hawkeye. We like Hawkeye so much we gave him a really good story.”
Markus and McFeely find it very entertaining to dive into all the different characters and finding out who they are as a superhero and their relationships. Markus shared that each of the characters all have their own voices.
“They’re all in the previous movies, so you can study the actor, study them in how the character has behaved and it’s pretty obvious when you’ve gotten it wrong, it just feels wrong. If you’ve given Nebula a five-page emotional theme, then you’re not getting it. One of the nice things, and particularly nice in these movies, is that we get to contrast people. Their voices become clearer when they’re talking to someone who doesn’t talk like them. So, Tony and Cap are always fun to put together because they’re so completely different. Peter Quill and Doctor Strange do not talk the same way, so that’s another.”
Lastly, Markus left us with one last statement that will make us think harder about what could happen in the Infinity War standalone sequel.
“[Avengers 4] doesn’t do what you think it does. It is a different movie than you think it is. Also [the deaths are] real. I just want to tell you it’s real, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to move on to the next stage of grief. We broke your heart. Now we’re going to blow your mind!”
Avengers 4 is going to be a crazy movie and the next anticipated team-up event come 2019. Are you going to be ready for it? Let us know what your thoughts are by tweeting @SuperBroMovies on Twitter!