Avengers: Infinity War is now on digital, which not only means Marvel fans around the world can watch the film as much as they please, but that there’s a wealth of new information from the special features and directors’ commentary. The digital release is loaded with extras for the Marvel faithful to learn more about Marvel Studios’ nineteenth film. Whether its deleted scenes, gag reels, or making-of featurettes, there’s a ton of bonus content to explore. However, it is the audio commentary that provides the most insight into the film.
The audio commentary for Avengers: Infinity War consists of directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely discussing the film in depth throughout the two and a half hour run time. All four filmmakers have been readily asking questions since the film’s release, but there’s still a lot more to be revealed from their discussion.
Everything from alternate versions of the story to Easter eggs are discussed by the four gentlemen, and we’ve compiled the best parts of what they said into one comprehensive article.
Kenneth Branagh’s Opening Voice Cameo Confirmed
Right from the start, the crew discusses Avengers: Infinity War’s opening voiceover. As some observant viewers had already noticed, the voice issuing the Asgardian distress signal asking for help against Thanos’ attack is a familiar one to the MCU, but not in the way some expect. The Russos say they wanted someone with a great and commanding voice, but it wasn’t until late in post-production that they thought about asking Thor director Kenneth Branagh to play the part. He accepted the job and winds up kicking off the magnificent spectacle.
Why We Didn’t See Xandar
Right from the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos’ power was on full display, partially thanks to him already having the Power Stone locked into his Infinity Gauntlet. It is later explained that Thanos acquired his first Infinity Stone a week before the events of Infinity War, but fans have long wondered why they didn’t get to see the attack on Xandar. Throughout the scripting process, this idea was floated around but Markus says it was too similar to the Knowhere sequence, “It was a place where Thanos and Gamora encountered each other. But the fact of the matter is, you know exactly what… If Thanos went to Xandar to get that Stone, you know what happened. There was a big battle and he got it.” At the end of the day, McFeely said there was nothing new that Xandar could bring to the movie so it had to go.
Infinity War Started Development Before They Knew Ragnarok’s Ending
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its long-form storytelling and planned out approach. However, not everything is as scripted as some may believe. McFeely touched on this when he discussed the development of Avengers: Infinity War and how the early start of this film was different from past installments. When they started to craft the story for this film and Avengers 4, they had the jump on Thor: Ragnarok, which didn’t even have a script. This means a few different ideas were discussed to open up the film, prior to them knowing where Ragnarok ended and how they could use it to continue telling the story.
Thor Plot Hole Resolved
One of the benefits to Marvel’s shared universe is the ability for other films to tie up loose ends or resolve plot holes from previous films. Avengers: Infinity War had connections to several older MCU movies, but it was a Thor/Avengers plot hole that they actually resolved early on. Heimdall uses dark magic at the beginning to transport Hulk to Earth. As discussed by Markus, this connects to Thor’s transportation to Earth in The Avengers after the bi-frost was destroyed in Thor. The use of dark magic was the explanation for Thor’s travels before but it was rather vague, now we actually get to see how the dark magic was used.
Hulk Isn’t Scared Of Thanos
One of the most debated character arcs of Avengers: Infinity War is Hulk’s. After an early tussle with Thanos, the Green Goliath refuses to come out for the rest of the film, with Bruce Banner struggling time and again to call on his other half. This has been chalked up to Hulk being scared of Thanos after their bout, but Joe Russo said this isn’t the case; it’s much more about Hulk being tired of having to be Banner’s backup (although, given he’s spent the past two years in control, that doesn’t quite make sense either).
No Sh*t Sherlock Joke
Marvel movies are also known for their humor, sometimes featuring jokes that are very on the nose. One of the most requested lines for Avengers: Infinity War to have was for either Robert Downey Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch to say, “No sh*t, Sherlock” in a nod to both actors having played the famous detective. However, the writers and directors weren’t interested in making this joke because they thought it was too easy of a joke to make. So not only is this line not in Infinity War, but don’t expect this stance to change if Iron Man and Doctor Strange have another interaction in Avengers 4.
A Lot Of Context For Tony & Steve’s Fractured Relationship
Avengers: Infinity War couldn’t spend too long on the fractured friendship between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, nor the collapse of the Avengers from Captain America: Civil War. However, the commentary provides a lot of enlightening info. McFeely notes that Tony is well aware of Vision’s relationship with Scarlet Witch, despite her technically being a fugitive. This is how Tony knows that Steve could help them location Vision and his Mind Stone, as Steve knows the whereabouts of all his Secret Avengers (a name that was also confirmed). Joe Russo further says that while Tony has this knowledge, he isn’t acting with it as he wants to keep the Avengers alive in any way possible – just in case they need to reconvene.
Why Tony Has Steve’s Phone On Him
One minor question fans have wondered is why Tony seems to keep the phone given to him by Steve on him at all times – and fully charged as Joe Russo jokes in the commentary. On a more serious note, he shared, “We did have another scene between Pepper and Tony that illustrated where the phone came from. But it was a reshoot scene that we then opted to revert back to the park scene with.” This could be an alternate take on the Happy Hogan deleted scene or an extended part to it. Either way, it doesn’t appear that Tony always has the phone in reach just in case he needs to call Captain America.
Captain America And Iron Man Could Have Had A Reunion
Avenegers: Infinity War could have shaped into a very different story in development, with it suggested for an early reunion for Steve and Tony. McFeely mentions that some drafts had Tony being the one to greet the team at Avengers HQ instead of Rhodey. The reunion didn’t work there as it brought the story to a halt as they had to address the elephant in the room. They moved on from it for the betterment of the film, and will instead have this meeting come in Avengers 4.
All filmmakers and storytellers borrow elements from other work either consciously or subconsciously. One of the conscious references the Russo brothers made a paying homage to Steven Spielberg; when the Black Order’s Q-Ship arrives in New York, a single tracking shot follows Tony Stark as he walks out of the Sanctum Sanctorum and onto the panic-filled streets of New York. They wanted to tell the scene from the heroes’ perspective down on the ground. Another nod to Spielberg is to Raiders of the Lost Ark when Ebony Maw attempts to take the Eye of Agamotto from Doctor Strange but burns his hand trying.
Why Doctor Strange Is So Much Stronger
Doctor Strange is one of Avengers: Infinity War’s best characters and the Russos pushed his powers further than we’ve ever seen before. According to Joe Russo, this is by design as the additional few years between this appearance and his solo movie allowed him to master his abilities. This was on display in Thor: Ragnarok briefly, but Strange gets to conjure up even more magic here. Given the level of power he now possesses and controls, Joe says he’s one of the most powerful characters the MCU has to offer. One could say Doctor Strange is finally the Master of the Mystic Arts.
A New Black Order
The Black Order were new additions to the MCU in Avengers: Infinity War, but they’re familiar characters to comic readers. However, the way they are brought to life in the film is different from. For starters, the Russos wanted to decrease their power from the page to make them better foes for the heroes. They thought they were too powerful before, making them possibly stronger than Thanos and impossible villains for the heroes to defeat. For Ebony Maw specifically, Joe Russo says their take is inspired by Mephistopheles from Jim Starlin’s comic. McFeely even notes that they lifted some of Mephisto’s lines from the page and gave them to Maw in the film.
An “It’s All Connected” Joke
While Marvel Studios pays very close attention to their continuity, the TV side of the MCU often is an afterthought (if ever thought about at all). This makes for one of the commentaries best moments, where Markus jokes about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. resolving a small unanswered question from the movie. The joke comes when Cull Obsidian’s arm is cut off and left in the park, leading Markus to quip that fans will need to check out the ABC show to find out what happened to the arm.
The Reason For Spidey’s New Suit
Plenty of characters in Avengers: Infinity War wear new suits, but none received as much attention as Spider-Man’s. The Iron Spider look was teased at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and although many may point to Marvel’s ability to sell new toys as a reason for the change, that’s not the case; as Markus points out, Peter needed a new suit in order to survive in space. The Iron Spider costume may have helped with merchandise, but the writer says that wasn’t the main purpose for Spidey’s new look.
Why Thanos Is Only Attacking Now
Becuase the MCU spans to the dawn of time, with the Avengers only forming in the past decade, many have questioned why Thanos waited until now to go for the Infinity Stones. It was theorized this was linked to the recent deaths of major protectors like the Ancient One, Ego and Odin, although the answer is simpler. During the Avengers: Infinity War commentary, McFeely and Joe Russo reveal that Thanos knew he would meet strong resistance the moment he attacked so was waiting until he could confirm where the Soul Stone was. Once he captured Nebula and discovered Gamora had lied to him, the plan could be enacted.
The Writers Desperately Wanted Red Skull Back
One of the film’s biggest surprises came with the reappearance of Red Skull, a character audiences haven’t seen since the end of Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011. That film was also written by Markus and McFeely and they’ve desperately wanted to bring him back ever since. Thanks to their years of experience with the MCU, they were able to finally find a way to tell more of Red Skull’s story.
Thor’s Journey Could Have Been Very Different
Thor received a great deal of screen time in Avengers: Infinity War and had the closest thing to a hero’s journey according to this crew. Indeed, Joe said that this would’ve been Thor’s movie if he had aimed for the head and actually killed Thanos; his defining revenge plot would’ve been completed thanks to the mighty Stormbreaker. The commentary also detailed some of their alternate ideas for how he received the ax, one of which had him fighting a dragon. Joe even compared his journey to the trials of Hercules, which are 12 labors he did to punish himself for what he did before and achieve immortality.
Space Dogs Origin
While comic fans may recognize Thanos’ horde of aliens as the Outriders, not everyone knows what to call them, Rocket Raccoon included. During his part in the Wakanda battle, he calls them “space dogs,” a name which the Russos revealed the origin to. Following one of the test screenings for Avengers: Infinity War, someone referred to the Outriders as space dogs while making a comment on the film. The Russos found this hilarious and decided to work it into Bradley Cooper’s voice work.
Early Infinity War Drafts Had More Thanos & Black Order
Thanos is already the main character of Avengers: Infinity War according to the team, but early drafts actually included even more of him. Markus confirmed this when he discussed additional moments on a perfect Titan that were written prior. This was one of several additional backstory scenes they kicked around during development. Even the Black Order came close to having more screen time, with Joe Russo revealing another draft included backstory for each member. All of this was deemed unneeded to tell Infinity War’s story though, and thus removed from the final script.
Captain America’s Possible Late Entrance
Despite his prominence in the last ten years of the MCU, Captain America is almost a supporting playing in Avengers: Infinity War. He takes a bit of a smaller role to service the story, and allow him to have a larger one in the conclusion. However, at one point the writers discussed not having him show up until late in the third act. McFeely said, “There was a point, there was a draft where that tackle was Cap’s first appearance in the movie.” The tackle he refers to is when Cap takes down Corvus Glaive to save Vision during the battle of Wakanda. This would’ve made Cap’s entrance come nearly two hours into the film, but they changed it after everyone else involved told them this wasn’t the right move.
The Soul Stone Moment Missed
While each of the Infinity Stones are used at different points in the movie, a moment on Titan includes a quick and rare use of the Soul Stone alone. During his one-on-one with Thanos, Doctor Strange creates multiple alternate versions of himself. The Mad Titan manages to quickly flush out the sorcerer, thanks to the Soul Stone; he replicates the real Doctor Strange and the stone quickly eliminated all versions that were not the true Strange.
Why Spider-Man Took Longer To Die
Not even the new suit could protect Peter Parker from Thanos’ snap, although he was noteworthy for lasting longer than any other hero. Joe and McFeely discussed how Spider-Man’s death wound up becoming longer than the rest, revealing he originally died much quicker. The reason why he didn’t is rather simple; Peter uses every ounce of strength he has to try and fight the inevitable.
The Logic of Thanos’ Plan
Thanos’ plan has been the center of much debate in the weeks that have followed Avengers: Infinity War’s release, so Joe Russo decided to address this too during the commentary. He says that Thanos’ plan isn’t really about saving the universe; he instead wants to prove his line of thinking is correct, no matter what the cost may be. This is why he didn’t even consider doubling all resources in the universe, something that makes clear just how “mad” this Mad Titan is.
The Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos Are Damaged
After Thanos snaps his fingers at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, he’s transported to Soul World where he meets a young Gamora and says it cost him “everything” to complete his mission. However, there’s even more fallout than some may have noticed. Per the commentary, using all six Infinity Stones to snap half the universe’s population out of existence permanently damaged Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. This can be seen at the end of the movie, but the suggestion is this is more than just cosmetic. How that impacts him moving forward into Avengers 4 remains to be seen.
Avengers: Infinity War is available now on Digital HD, and will release on Blu-ray and DVD on August 14th.
Read more: screenrant.com