Kevin Feige Nearly Killed Even More Heroes In Avengers: Endgame

Marvel Studios finds itself at a fascinating crossroads for its flagship franchise. The MCU's biggest stars ended up either killed off (RIP Natasha Romanoff and Tony Stark) or functionally retired (Old Man Steve Rogers, gone but never forgotten) in "Avengers: Endgame," the crossover of all crossovers that effectively put a conclusive button on the main storyline of the movies. Ever since, the studio has relied on brand-new heroes and charismatic stars (though some holdovers continue to flourish, as seen in "Thor: Love and Thunder") to reignite audience interest in the almighty brand through various Phase Four movies and Disney+ shows. During this relatively unsettled time for the MCU — we only just received our first clear look at what movies lie ahead during this year's San Diego Comic-Con, after all — both fans and filmmakers have taken the opportunity to look back at alternate paths they could've taken.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo in particular have been making the press rounds after the release of "The Gray Man," providing ample opportunity to relitigate their work on "Endgame." Most recently, we learned that the death of Tony Stark happened despite Jon Favreau's best efforts. Now comes the somewhat surprising news that, had Marvel president Kevin Feige gotten his way, even more beloved heroes could've ended up on the chopping block. This time, the Russos were the ones to pull back on the reins.

Read on for all the details.

'Taking all the OGs off the board'

Coming off "Avengers: Infinity War," which saw the complete annihilation of half of life in the universe, traumatized fans at the time had no idea what to expect with the highly-anticipated follow-up. (Spoiler alert: Most of them got better!) So when it came time to figure out the general concept of the two-part event, none other than Kevin Feige suggested the radical idea of killing off practically all the original Avengers in one blaze of glory.

That's the report by the Russos themselves in the latest episode of Josh Horowitz's "Happy/Sad/Confused" podcast. As the siblings previously revealed in the book "The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe," we have further confirmation that Feige was perhaps the most bloodthirsty of them all. Here's what Joe Russo had to say about the aftermath of "Infinity War" and the earliest discussions of how "Endgame" ought to unfold:

"There were lots of rumors swirling about who was gonna die. Kevin did actually pitch, at one point, taking all the OGs off the board. We thought it was way too aggressive and that the audience wouldn't be able to process it. And that, in fact, picking one or two characters to make sacrifices throughout the movie might give you moments throughout the film where the action could stop and you could have emotional catharsis and then continue with the narrative."

Anthony Russo is quick to interject that this idea never quite made it to the script stage, clarifying, "That was early days. It's not like there was ever a script or anything that had that ... This was just on a conceptual level." It's difficult to imagine that idea ever actually coming to fruition, but it's always fun to ponder the what ifs!