How 'Avengers: Infinity War' Reveals The Complexities Of Writing A Shared Universe

Even if you're not a die-hard Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, you have to appreciate what the MCU has done. Over a serious of 19 films, Marvel has crafted an ever-expanding, increasingly complicated cinematic universe. With Avengers: Infinity War, the MCU is set to deliver its biggest, and possibly most complex film yet. Below, Infinity War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely discuss the complexities of Infinity War connections with Avengers 4 and the rest of the MCU.

"Another Nightmare"

Not only is Infinity War dealing with elements from every previous MCU film, it's also contending with being the first part of two distinct films. During an Infinity War set visit, /Film's Peter Sciretta and a group of assembled journalists asked writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely about the issues inherent with structuring Infinity War and the still untitled Avengers 4.


You talk about structure. Are you structuring it as one huge movie or one movie, push it aside, second movie?Christopher Markus: Both.Stephen McFeely: Can't have the second one without the first one. But our hope is that it's breakfast and then lunch.Christopher Markus: It does not feel like you hit pause and then unpaused it. It is two very different...Because there's movies that come out in between, right? Have they influenced part four?Stephen McFeely: Yes, by the way, another nightmare. [laughing]

"You Always Make The Best Movie You Can"

It's no doubt frustrating juggling the multiple characters of Infinity War76 by last count – while keeping track of the fact that all these characters exist in their own movies (except for Hawkeye; sorry Hawkeye). When pressed on how they balance all of that out, Markus and McFeely admit it can be trying, but they also say that the biggest challenge is to just make a good movie. Everything else is secondary.


How do you guys approach introducing a major character in the MCU like how you did with Black Panther in Civil War before his movie, with Captain Marvel for her movie...Stephen McFeely: [W]e have had to juggle both Marvel – Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Marvel – specifically because they all exist in various ways in and around these two movies.Christopher Markus: Thor 3.Stephen McFeely: Well, at least that's before this first movie. Black Panther is, too. So we think we handled it and solved it in fairly clever ways, [knocks on wood] but it certainly was an issue. If you wanna do what you wanna do here, how does it affect this movie and not just make this movie. Why [are] Ant-Man and Wasp not in Infinity War Part 2? So we gotta work on that and figure it out.Christopher Markus: And also, how do you do it so like... I think he's writing down, "Ant-Man and Wasp are not in Infinity War Part Two" because you just said that.Stephen McFeely: No no, how is the story of that movie not just part two of this?Christopher Markus: How do you not fall into the trap of what these movies are sometimes accused of which is just sometimes feeding each other and not being standalone thingsStephen McFeely: Right.Christopher Markus: You can't make them overly dependent on each other, and yet you still want to have this bloodstream flowing through the universe.Stephen McFeely: Peyton Reed and his group of writers are going to make whatever movie they want. We had very small requests like, "It would be great if right there that person was—is that okay? Good?" You always make the best movie you can. Same thing with Black Panther and same thing with Captain Marvel. They're gonna make the movies they're gonna make and in this unique case, very small tiny suggestions for beginnings and endings like that.


As a viewer who cares about the quality of the films first, and the inter-connectedness of it all second, McFeely's "You always make the best movie you can" quote is heartening. If they're going to keep making these movies forever (and they are), all I ask is that they make them well.

Avengers: Infinity War opens April 27, 2018.