When someone writes an entry in a big multi-billion dollar franchise, usually there are a ton of obstacles and requirements put on the movie by the studio paying to make it. Sometimes it drives talent like writers and directors to depart the project. Other times, it results in a sub-par product because the people who stuck with it couldn’t tell the story they wanted to tell. When writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely began developing what would be the closing chapter of this book of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney only gave them one rule: It must include Thanos.
Talking to the LA Times, Markus said they were able to write whatever story they wanted, as long as the Mad Titan was involved.
“[Disney] basically said, ‘We want to bring the MCU to the close of a definitive chapter. We want to do two movies [that are] very different in tone, you can draw from anything, [but] Thanos [has to be] in it.’ ”
That is not a ridiculous request, considering the seeds planted for that character already, nor is it an unreasonable one. For Civil War, Markus and McFeely had to write a draft with Spider-Man, and a draft without, just in case the Sony deal didn’t go through. They also had to write a draft that didn’t involve Robert Downey Jr, in case a deal couldn’t be reached, and they penned a draft that had a Tony Stark cameo. That is like 5 or 6 different versions of the movie they had to write because the studio hadn’t locked down things yet.
This seems to have had less conditions on it than Civil War, which could make things a bit simpler. I don’t for a second think there was anything easy about crafting the narrative for Infinity War and Endgame. One of the most genius things they did was make Infinity War Thanos’s movie. It is his story. Everybody else is a supporting character, reacting to events caused by Thanos.
There have been rumors of Jon Favreau not being able to make the Iron Man sequel he wanted. There were rumors of studio interference with Age Of Ultron, with Whedon allegedly becoming frustrated too. Edgar Wright (in)famously left Ant-Man when he clashed with the studio over the vision of the character. Now that could be more Marvel Studios than Disney, but Marvel seems to have evolved into a filmmaker driven studio (within certain parameters), and Disney knows to step back and let people write these stories.
Hopefully this trend continues. Sure, future MCU entries are going to have to adhere to some rules; it is the consequence of a shared universe. But hopefully they don’t interfere too much, where the product becomes a muddled commercial for their brand (Iron Man 2…)
I have a feeling that even if Disney didn’t say anything, Thanos would still be involved and we would more or less have the same two movies we received. Regardless, it seems to have worked out for the best. Endgame has surpassed Titanic for second place in money made at the box office.
Source: The Los Angeles Times