Avengers Infinity War poster slice

Can you guys talk about the collection of the Stones? How the Stones almost help you guys shape your story? Were each of these passing gems, we were all watching like, “Well this is the one where the Stones sort of come together.” Making it a little bit easier for the next person. It’s not like they’re spread…

Stephen McFeely: They’re still spread out. Remember, one of our jobs, we’re big structure guys. So if you go back and look at Winter Soldier and Civil War particularly, they are, whether you like the movies are not, they’re pretty well structured. Big choices have been made. We had to do the same thing here and yet we had six MacGuffins – it can be relentless if you do this right. Which means, every time you collect [an Infinity Stone] – I don’t mean to get into the screenwriting weeds – but every time you collect one, it can’t just be a check mark. It has to do something characterful. It’s got to move the plot forward but it also has to stakes and cost for literal characters at the time, so that it’s not just a shopping spree. And I think we’ve done that and boy, we’re going to wrench some emotion out of each and every one of those moments that we can.

Can you go back to Thanos for a second, the MCU has received tons of critical praise but the one thing franchise has been dinged on is, the villains are just not as impressive as Loki, over and over. That’s something you guys are aware of, so trying to create “THE BIG BAD” of this franchise, I’m curious, how are you navigating that?

Christopher Markus: Well part of it is motivation, where if you have a villain who just wants to kill somebody or just wants to take over the world because it seems like a fun thing to do, or has been paid by the Russians to take over the world…run for President to take over the world. That guy isn’t very interesting. He’s pathetic but, we take this from [comic book writer Jim] Starlin. Thanos is an amoral philosopher. He’s not the Devil – although he does sometimes have the Devil standing next to him. We wanted that all the way through. To have a villain with understandable motivations and emotions. Thanos has family. Thanos has two daughters that we know of. Thanos has eight million backstories in the comics but they’re all kind of sad.

Stephen McFeely: What I want to point out, is that my favorite two [villains] in the entire MCU are Loki and Kilgrave, because he’s creepy and awful, but really cares in a strange way.

And he totally doesn’t see himself as the villain.

Stephen McFeely: For sure. And screen time, right? A lot of screen time for both of those characters. Chris is right, they both have these weird family relationships. So Thanos will get the benefit of both of those things. He’s got daughters that he clearly has to deal with, and James did a nice job of setting the table for us, but we’re certainly going to run with that. And screen time. This is not an origin story. Very often, in the screenwriting weeds, we’re trying to get a character up and off the ground and so the bad guy tends to be a foil for the development of the hero and that’s not the case here. If anything, it’s the opposite. Our heroes are foils for the villain, whose story we need to tell at large.

Chris, can you clarify what you were saying about Devil?

Christopher Markus: Oh, Mephisto in the comics. I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of Mephisto. He’s often seen in hell, but he’s not the evil. He’s something more elemental more primal.

Were these films getting to the more weird, other-wordly characters and the personification of death or is it more motivated by family?

Stephen McFeely: It’s cosmic and crazy but in a way tha we always try to ground stuff. Particularly in Winter Soldier and Civil War we took stories that everyone was familiar with, Brubaker’s [Captain America] run and Civil War Millar, but make a different soup out of the ingredients. So we’ll do something similar here because we owe it to the characters and these 18 movies were the characters.

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]

We saw something earlier, as we were walking around, that implied Captain Marvel will have–

Stephen McFeely: What did you see?

Just mailboxes

Christopher Markus: She has a mailbox! [laughs]

She has a very telling mailbox. 

Stephen McFeely: You’ve caught us.

I’m sure that’s very under wraps but is there anything you can share about the character’s possible involvement. 

Christopher Markus: Well, super excited to have her—for one thing. You know, that movie does not exist yet so we’re following up on something that is good intentions at the moment. But that’s a power scale that right now doesn’t exist in the MCU and it’s, or she’s I should say, in some ways the closest to Captain America which is a weird, now rare kind of character which is sort of a person who’s right and knows they’re right and doesn’t really want to hear it when you tell them they’re wrong. So, with all these flawed, f*cked up people and Quill who’s a mess and Tony who’s a massive ego all contorted. It’s fun to get another person with a clear vision in there and going, “Shut up.”

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