As we celebrate the first anniversary of Avengers: Endgame this week, we figured it was the perfect time to take a look back at some of the lesser-known aspects of the film. Read on for our breakdown of some of the deleted scenes from Endgame!
Each version of Avengers: Endgame on home video (DVD, Blu-ray, Disney+) contains its own lineup of deleted scenes as bonus material. Together, they present a total of 11 different scenes, some of which serve as alternate takes on moments from the movie and others brief glimpses into scenes that never came to be.
Read on for a breakdown of what happens in these scenes and explanations for why they were cut, based on our previous chats with directors Joe and Anthony Russo, the Russos’ director commentary and io9’s interview with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. And be sure to check out our breakdown of all the bonus features included on Endgame’s home video release and everything that’s available on Disney+ at launch.
Warning: this article contains full spoilers for Avengers: Endgame!
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Hulk and the Ancient One
Disney+ features two different alternate versions of the scene where 2019’s Banner confronts the Ancient One during the Battle of New York, both of which contain only rough VFX. One brief scene features the two discussing the mechanics of time travel in the MCU. As Anthony Russo says in the commentary, “We were wanting to find a new approach to time travel, one that was grounded in the idea of quantum physics, which is of course a scientific concept that comes out of the Ant-Man movies and the Quantum Realm. We had to rework these scenes throughout the post-production process to better convey what rules we were playing by and why.”
That desire to streamline and punch up this encounter also explains why the second version of this encounter was jettisoned. The second Hulk/Ancient One scene more closely resembles the one in the movie, but the Russos noted a desire to punch up the scene, add to the intensity and also more clearly convey the need for the Infinity Stones to be returned at the end of the movie. That led to reshoots and the final version of the scene as it appears in the film.
Joe Russo says, “The focus of the reshoot was to add conflict and clarify what they were talking about. I think the scene is overly complicated and difficult to follow. So we simplified it and also added some clarity that the stones needed to be returned at the end of the movie in order to motivate Steve Rogers having to take the stones back at the end.”
Black Widow’s Sacrifice
Disney+ includes a deleted scene which features a completely different take on Black Widow and Hawkeye’s ordeal on Vormir. Rather than the two battling each other for the privilege of sacrificing themselves for the Soul Stone, their standoff is interrupted when Thanos’ army arrives to claim the stone. Natasha uses the chaos of battle as an opportunity to press forward. She’s hit by several laser blasts but survives long enough to save Clint’s life one last time and throw herself off the cliff, even as Thanos himself marches toward her.
According to Joe Russo, “The issue with the original version of this scene is that we felt, with the inclusion of Thanos’ troops, which were showing up as a way of motivating one of them to sacrifice themselves to get the stone quicker, so that Thnaos could send Bad Nebula back in time. We felt like the troops overshadowed this incredibly powerful moment we wanted to have between these two characters.”
Heroes in the Trench
One of the Disney+ deleted scenes showcases a mostly abandoned sequence from the final battle. This sequence shows a different version of Spider-Man and Iron Man’s reunion and also showcases the Guardians reconnecting. While fragmented and incomplete, the footage is meant to show Doctor Strange gathering some of his allies into a parallel dimension to plan their attack.
The Russos explain in the director commentary that this sequence was cut because it slowed the pace of battle down, a view that was apparently shared by test audiences. However, certain snippets of footage still made their way into the final cut.
Joe Russo explains, “In order to create a timeout from the battle, some of the key characters slipped into the mirror dimension in order to have a conversation, and then they were going to go back in the field. But again, anytime you’re stuck starting and stopping a major action sequence, you can bring it to a screeching halt if you don’t do it properly.”
Tony Says Goodbye to Morgan
Disney+ features a long-awaited look at the deleted scene which would have featured a dying Tony Stark meeting an older version of his daughter Morgan (played in this scene by Katherine Langford). The goal was to allow Tony to say goodbye to Morgan in a way that parallels Thanos’ final encounter with Gamora in Infinity War.
Joe Russo says, “There’s this idea that if we cast his daughter as an adult, he can come to peace with what he had just done by talking to her. Obviously, these stones have limitless power, and so could create a scenario where he could speak to his daughter in the future, who tells him everything is going to be okay and allows him to die.”
But here again, the Russos felt this scene hindered the overall pacing of the film and didn’t necessarily add anything that wasn’t already accomplished in Tony’s self-recorded video eulogy later on.
Anthony Russo adds that because viewers don’t see Langford as Morgan Stark earlier in the film, “We didn’t have a lot of emotional connection, because we had never seen her before.”
Tony and Pepper Cooking
This quick scene would have been the first time viewers saw Tony Stark and Pepper Potts following the five-year time jump. It shows the couple happily bickering in the kitchen while preparing lunch. We also learn that Tony and Pepper were raising an alpaca named Gerald, a character sadly cut from the final movie. The scene ends with Pepper ordering Tony to tell young Morgan (or “Madame Secretary”) that lunch is ready.
The final version of the film waits until Cap, Black Widow and Ant-Man pay the cabin a visit before introducing a five-years-later Tony and Pepper and their young daughter.
Markus told io9 this scene was cut simply because it wasn’t the right time in the film’s narrative to introduce those characters, explaining that this is the reason behind many scenes that were cut from Infinity War and Endgame. “Very many of them, if not all of them, were cut because the plot hadn’t gotten to them yet. In the movie you see Tony come out on the porch and go over and find Morgan, which is already pre-plot, but at least it’s telling you something new.”
Rhodey Stumps Cap
This quick scene (roughly 25 seconds) is cut from the larger sequence where the Avengers are planning their complex time heist. As Rhodey and Cap are trying to find the ideal time period in which to retrieve the Tesseract, Cap reminds Rhodey that the artifact spent years trapped at the bottom of the ocean. When he explains that he had to crash Hydra’s bomb-laden plane safely in the Arctic, Rhodey asks a question that’s been on the minds of many a Marvel fan over the years – why didn’t Cap jump out of the plane before it crashed? Cap has no rebuttal, other than maybe to silently curse those pointless 70 years on ice.
Markus and McFeely told io9 this scene was a fun chance to get meta and acknowledge some of the fan questions that have sprung up around the MCU. However, this moment was eventually cut for time, as the Russos didn’t want more than one scene geared toward any particular Infinity Stone.
Making Fun of the Chitauri
In another quick, 20-second scene cut from the larger time heist planning, Rocket Raccoon takes his new allies down a few pegs by belittling their accomplishments during the Battle of New York. After Natasha estimates the battle against the Chitauri lasted between two and three hours, Rocket calls the Chitauri “the suckiest army in the galaxy” and asks why the Avengers didn’t just blow up the Chitauri mother ship. Cap sheepishly admits “we didn’t know that was a thing,” causing Rocket to break into hysterics. Rocket’s laughter is cut short when Tony pours a drink on his head.
According to Markus and McFeely, this was cut for the same reason as the previous scene – it caused the movie to spend too long dwelling one one Infinity Stone. Markus told io9 “we have another scene that took care of that and two more stones.”
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Thor and Rocket in Asgard
In one of the lengthier deleted scenes in Endgame (though still barely a minute long), we see a dejected Thor struggling to deal with being back in Asgard circa-2013. Rocket does his best to keep Thor motivated and focused on the mission at hand, but Thor is too busy peeing in a fountain and processing his grief to be of much help. He then admits to not remembering the layout of Asgard all that well despite having lived there for 1500 years. Rocket, understandably, is left to muse, “We are dead. We are so, so dead.”
When the Russos debuted this scene at Comic-Con, they revealed that it was cut because it didn’t really add anything to the Asgard subplot or Thor’s emotional arc that wasn’t already conveyed elsewhere. “The Thor arc was very important to us in this film, and we wanted to really beat it out in the most detailed way we could,” said Anthony Russo during our Comic-Con live show. “Sometimes when you get to the editing process you realize that the life the actor is bringing to the scenes is so rich and textured and has so much subtext to it, you don’t need quite as much text as you thought you did at the script phase. I think this is a good example of that, where Hemsworth was really delivering on his arc without this scene.”
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Tony’s Job Offer
This quick, 22 second scene was cut from the tail-end of the sequence where Tony meets his father Howard in 1970. After Tony reflects on the challenge of leaving a proper legacy behind for your children, Howard asks his new friend if he’d like to come work for him at Stark Enterprises. Tony brushes off the offer, saying “I’m a little tied up in futures.”
McFeely told io9 that this scene was simply cut for time.
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The Avengers Take a Knee
Perhaps the most significant deleted scene in Endgame comes near the very end of the film. After Tony sacrifices his life to activate the Nano Gauntlet and destroy Thanos’ army, the Avengers and Guardians pay tribute to a fallen hero. One by one, each character takes a knee while Pepper cradles Tony’s body. Gamora is the lone exception, as she silently leaves the battlefield rather than hanging around a bunch of people she barely knows.
Given the emotional weight of this scene, it might seem surprising that it was cut from the final product. But as Markus and McFeely told io9, there was more than one reason it wound up on the cutting room floor. Markus noted that the scene doesn’t fully ring true, given the “pre-planned” way each hero kneels in turn. McFeely, meanwhile, felt that it hindered the flow of the scenes that followed and the impact of Tony’s funeral. “It sort of eats the lunch of the next few minutes which is the same thing but different.”
While Endgame didn’t have lose many completed scenes, there were some major plot points that never made it beyond the writing stage, including Thanos killing the 2012 Avengers and Cap confronting Red Skull on Vormir.
For more on Avengers: Endgame, check out our 10 favorite moments from the movie and then find out why Smart Hulk was cut from Infinity War, why Thanos’ death was more morbid than we realized and why some fans think Gwen Stacy has a cameo in Endgame.
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