Kevin Feige Wanted To Kill Off Thor & Cap In Avengers: Endgame

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Thor Captain America Avengers: Endgame Thanos

The fate of the heroes of the MCU has never been more uncertain than it was moving into Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. The Infinity Saga was coming to an end, actors' contracts were expiring, and a world-ending event was approaching; there was no telling who would survive, and Marvel Studios still managed to take this well beyond expectations as half of all life was wiped out.

Of course, even when all those people returned in Endgame, the battle still left plenty of casualties behind among the heroes of the MCU. Iron Man, Black Widow, Vision, Loki, Gamora, and Heimdall all took their last breaths in the two-part epic while Steve Rogers' Captain America took early retirement.

Between fallen and departed heroes, only half of 2012's original six Avengers that started it all were left. Since then, moving into Phase 4, Clint Barton returned in Hawkeye, Thor starred in Love and Thunder, and Bruce Banner will soon be back in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

But it seems the original path of the MCU was almost much different, as more of the Avengers nearly lost their lives in the fight for Earth.

Avengers: Endgame Almost Killed Off More OGs

Avengers Endgame battle

During a recent interview with MTV's Josh HorowitzAvengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige originally wanted to kill off Thor and Captain America in the Infinity Saga's climactic blockbuster.

Commenting on the fight between the "big three" Avengers and Thanos, Joe Russo confirmed they wanted the audience to believe anyone could die after Infinity War "put them in a position where they felt like nobody was safe:"

“Without question. That was the stakes of the movie, right? If you don’t feel like, you know… We knew the audience felt that way and we were acutely aware coming off of Infinity War that we had put them in a position where they felt like nobody was safe. And there were lots of rumors swirling about who was going to die."

The director went on to reveal Feige initially pitched "taking all the OGs off the board," but they felt it was "way too aggressive" as it was better to spread the "emotional catharsis" throughout the movie:

"Kevin [Feige] 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 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 and then add more emotional catharsis.”

Did Avengers: Endgame Need More Deaths?

Going into Avengers: Endgame, many were expecting the worst for the original six as the next generation takes over and new faces surface in Phase 4. Ultimately, the deaths were limited to Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, but how would things have played out if Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and Hawkeye also met their ends?

Well, just as the Russo Brothers said, the impact would have been drastically less. Killing off six heroes wouldn't have allowed the time for fans to properly process the loss of each or give any of them their emotional due, even if they were spread evenly across the three-hour flick.

Thor, Hulk, and Hawkeye clearly still had more stories to be told, as Phase 4 has proven across several projects. Meanwhile, giving Captain America his heroic retirement was a fitting way to defy expectations. Most would expect Steve Rogers to be the one to make the sacrifice play as Tony Stark takes a comfortable retirement, so flipping the script on fans was genius.

Even though four of the original Avengers are still kicking around the MCU, their roles are clearly different from how they were before. These heroes may be getting explored in greater detail thanks to Disney+, but their overall presence in the universe ought to be dialed back, particularly after at least a few more likely meet their demise in the Multiverse Saga.

Thor being killed early in The Kang Dynasty could be a genius way to establish the threat of Jonathon Majors' villain as he takes out the God of Thunder. It's also tough to imagine Hawkeye sticking around much longer after making several attempts at retirement and with Kate Bishop now taking over his mantle. Similarly, Hulk now has She-Hulk to continue his legacy forward.

Who knows what the future may hold for these remaining heroes, but fans are best to enjoy them whilst they're around, even though Mark Ruffalo is the only one with a further appearance already lined up as Bruce Banner, aka Hulk, returns in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law this month.

Avengers: Endgame is streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.