46 Avengers: Infinity War Details We Learned From The Blu-Ray Audio Commentary
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The directors and writers revealed plenty of new tidbits on the Infinity War Blu-ray.
If you're looking to check out every special feature on Avengers: Infinity War's home release, you're going to have to peep the digital version. It comes with an exclusive "directors roundtable" feature in which several MCU directors--from Joss Whedon to Taika Waititi--sit down together to discuss the cinematic universe they've built. But there's more to this package that true Marvel fans won't want to miss out on, especially Infinity War's audio commentary track.
The digital version is available to buy now, and the physical version--including the 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD--have finally hit stores. Bear in mind, if you buy the physical version, you get a digital copy as well, so that's definitely the most complete option.
In Infinity War's audio commentary, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, as well as writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, reveal tons of new information, from facts about the movie's production to their reasoning behind various decisions. Obviously you're going to want to watch the movie again first, but when you're done, check it out again with the audio commentary on.
All the other Infinity War special features are a fun and informative watch, so we also put together a highlights list of our favorite things we learned from the deleted scenes, featurettes, and more. When you're done, don't forget to refresh yourself on what Infinity War's after credits scene means for the MCU's future, including the upcomingCaptain Marvel.
1. There's a cameo by Thor director Sir Kenneth Branagh.
"This was an amazing surprise, by the way, and we had this idea very late in editorial, to ask the amazing Sir Kenneth Branagh to come in and do the opening distress call over the logo, that carries us and sets the stage and carries us into the scene with Thor and Thanos and Loki on the Ark," detailed Joe Russo.
2. They wanted to keep the plot simple.
"We wanted to keep the plot very simple, with very simple MacGuffins, because we have so many characters in the movie that we knew if the plot was complicated, it would take too much story real estate to explain the plot, and that would take away from the character interactions, which we also knew would be the highlight of the film," stated Markus.
3. They didn't have the script for Thor: Ragnarok when they started working on Infinity War.
"The first scene of this movie changed a bunch, and until we figured out that they were going to end on a trip off of a destroyed Asgard, we didn't know where Thanos would find Loki," said McFeely.
4. Creating Thanos was one of the first visual effects they tested.
Because he was so central to the movie, and the difficulty in creating him was the highest, they knew they had to get him right.
5. Valkyrie definitely survived Thanos's attack.
"Several Asgardians have escaped. I've gone on record saying that Valkyrie has escaped with some of the Asgardians," said Joe Russo. There's a hint that Korg may also be among them: "All I can say is pray for Korg," added Markus.
6. Earlier versions of the script had more scenes of characters in their everyday lives.
But the plot had to move too quickly to allow for much of that--Thanos's breakneck pace left little room.
7. They talk about why the attack on Xandar happens off-screen.
"We wrote versions of Thanos attacking Xandar, and it had a similar purpose in the script to what Knowhere does now," explained Markus. "It was a place where Thanos and Gamora encounter each other. But the fact of the matter is, you know exactly what--if Thanos went to Xandar to get that stone, you know what happened. It was a big battle, and he got it." They decided to cut it from the script to avoid being repetitive, and to maximize how emotional it was every time Thanos got ahold of one.
8. They're aware that Tony having the Captain America flip phone on him is slightly ridiculous.
"And he luckily carries around the burner phone, fully charged--well to be fair we did have another scene between Pepper and Tony that illustrated where the phone came from, but it was a reshoot scene that we then opted to revert back to the park scene," stated Joe Russo.
9. There's a specific reason why Tony accepts that he needs to call Steve.
"When he says, 'Steve might be able to help,' it's because Tony knows that Wanda is on the run with Steve, and he knows that Vision has been stepping out and maybe having a relationship with Wanda, and he had been cool with that and probably not called Vision to task for it," said McFeely.
10. This entire long shot was done on the lot at Pinewood Studios.
It was on a green screen. The shot was designed to ground you with the characters, and it was inspired by Spielberg's directing.
11. Doctor Strange is meant to be one of the most powerful characters in the MCU at this point.
"We wanted to advance his power levels since the end of Doctor Strange, because it has been a few years, and that he's been doing his work and he's a diligent study and he's now one of the more powerful characters in the Marvel universe," said Joe Russo.
12. We should have faith in Doctor Strange.
By Infinity War's ending, it could be easy to get frustrated with Doctor Strange for so easily giving the Time Stone up to Thanos. But we should have faith in him, apparently:
"He generally comes off as the adult in the room, very reassuring, and that regardless of what happens over the course of the movie, I think Strange might know how this is going to work out. I have faith in him," said McFeely.
"You need that kind of character in a movie like this, where there's a lot of spinning plates, and a lot of the spinning plates are off balance," said Joe Russo.
13. Ebony Maw was inspired by the Marvel character Mephistopheles.
"He is inspired a little bit by Mephistopheles from the original Starlin books...there are some directly quoted lines from the book that we put in his mouth," said Joe Russo.
14. They changed the Black Order/Children of Thanos in deliberate ways.
They thought these characters were too powerful in the books, and didn't want them to outshine Thanos himself. In addition, they wanted the sub-villains' powers to match up in interesting ways with the heroes', which is why, for example, the Maw is a wizard--or a "techno-mage," as they call him.
15. Maw burning his hand on the amulet is a deliberate nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
16. Only two days pass over the entire course of the movie.
"I'm not even sure exactly what the amount of elapsed time in this movie is, it can't be more than maybe two days," said Markus.
"Yeah, at most," replied Joe Russo.
17. They see Peter Quill as a Peter Pan-like figure.
"Quill is a very interesting character to us," said Joe Russo. "He's sort of like a Peter Pan character. His mother was dying of cancer, he was kidnapped at the age of 10, raised by pirates, you know, he's unique."
18. Thor's meeting with the Guardians was one of the earliest scenes shot and cut.
And it changed very little through the end of production.
19. Earlier drafts had more backstory for the Black Order.
"Ultimately, the movie was getting too crowded, too hard to follow," said Joe Russo. "In the books there's a backstory between Proxima and Corvus that they're married, only hinted at in the slightest way here by the fact that they are paired up to retrieve a stone, and the way that Proxima responds when Corvus gets stabbed by Natasha."
20. The Alan Silvestri-composed Avengers theme music was deliberately used at only a couple of points in the movie.
"It's very Pavlovian for many of us, in terms of the emotional reaction we get from it," explained Anthony Russo.
21. They deliberately put the movie's couples in difficult situations.
"Characters at several points in the movie--characters in relationships--are put in situations where one is asked to kill the other to protect the universe," said Joe Russo.
"We're used to heroes sacrificing themselves, it's almost a given," added Markus. "But what's the next step? What are you willing to give up?"
"I know all these people will jump on the grenade," explained McFeely. "Will they throw somebody else on the grenade?"
22. They always wanted to save the Soul Stone reveal for this movie.
"We never wanted to give that chip away," said McFeely. "We didn't want it to be somewhere you already knew, we didn't want some other movie to plant it. We wanted to use it as a story point."
23. There's a subtle way they show that Gamora can sense that Thanos has been there.
"There are two shots in the movies where Zoe silently absorbs the presence of Thanos," said Joe Russo. "One is over her shoulder when they first arrive at the Ark, and they see all the dead bodies floating in space. It's a very subtle shot of her twisting her head knowing there's very few people in the universe who could enact that kind of destruction. And then again here, feeling it as she's landing, that they may be too late."
24. The illusion scene was Thanos's test to determine whether Gamora still cares for him.
"He uses this whole thing as a test to see if she still cares for him, and that reaction tell him that she does," stated McFeely.
"This is one of the most interesting things that Thanos does, and you realize that he has an inner life and an emotional life that's important to him," added Anthony Russo.
25. They answer the question "Why doesn't Thanos just double the resources in the universe?"
"People have asked us why Thanos didn't just use the Stones to double the resources in the universe," explained Joe Russo. "Clearly he is not...he was told no to an idea that he had, that he felt was the only solution, and then was proved right to himself when that solution was not acted upon. So his messianic complex, he is now committed to following through on the idea he had many, many years ago. He's not a stable--although he appears stable at times--he is not a stable individual."
26. There were drafts where Captain America and Iron Man reunited around this point.
But their differences are too severe, and it caused the pace to "grind to a halt."
27. Ebony Maw's death was inspired by Indiana Jones.
It was inspired by the moment Jones putt down his whip and pulled out a revolver in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
"Something quick and efficient would be more surprising than something belabored, because there's an incredible amount of action in the movie, it felt like we didn't need another five minute action sequence," said Joe Russo.
28. Thanos capturing Nebula was the catalyst for Thanos's quest, and thus the entire movie.
"The catalyst for the whole movie was when Thanos figured out where the Soul Stone was, because he captured Nebula on his ship and rooted around in her brain and found out that Gamora knew where the Soul Stone was," explained McFeely.
"It's the reason why he has not gone after the Stones at this point; because the minute he does, the forces of the universe are going to line up against him," added Joe Russo.
29. Rocket was hiding Thor's new eye in his ear, not his butt.
"I think a lot of people assume that Rocket had put it up his ass to get it out," revealed Joe Russo. "It was up his ear, remember?"
30. There were multiple possible versions of the scene where Thor gets his new weapon.
"We had scenes where it was trapped by basically a dragon, all sorts of things," McFeely said. "But this scene, not only does it provide a test for Thor, but it also shows what Thanos has wrought, right? And that's the second element. You get your little myth about the forging of the gauntlet, and that he's a ruthless SOB."
31. This was the first scene they shot, in the first few days of shooting.
They used the scene to figure out the tonal balance between the Guardians and the Avengers.
32. There's a specific reason they brought Red Skull back.
They knew that when the movie got to the planet Vormir, they'd need a character to reveal the location's rules--i.e. how to obtain the Soul Stone--in a way no one would doubt.
"That dovetailed nicely with a fetish Chris and I have of bringing Red Skull back into the universe," explained McFeely.
33. Making Eitri look giant was a challenge.
"It's very complicated to change scale on a character," Russo said. "When you have other characters in frame, when you're working with a giant character, so it was a very laborious process of matching lenses, moving Peter in for his shots bringing him out then moving Hemsworth in for his shots, and then changing the scale for each of them. It required the most math and science of anything we did in the film."
34. The filmmakers were unfamiliar with the Wakanda war chants while shooting.
The filmmakers were unfamiliar with the Wakandan war chants while shooting, because Black Panther was still in production.
"When the actors came from across Atlanta, from the set of Black panther, over to ours to do this, they just started doing it. And it was awesome," Markus says.
35. Rocket's "space dogs" line came from a test audience member.
"There was a focus group after one of the test screenings. Somebody was commenting on something that happened in this section of the film, and he said, 'You know those space dogs?' We thought it was hilarious, so we incorporated it into Bradley Cooper's read," Anthony Russo says.
36. Chris Pratt improvised a line in this scene.
The line "For the record, this was my plan" was improvised by Pratt.
37. The filmmakers know exactly which stones Thanos is using at any given time.
For example, in this scene, he's using the Power Stone to destroy the moon, and the Space Stone to pull it down to the surface.
38. Paul Bettany had one of the most uncomfortable costumes while shooting.
"Paul Bettany wears one of the most restrictive and intense costumes of any of the cast, completely painted up, his head is encased, his body's encased," Anthony Russo says. As they point out, that's not pleasant when you're shooting Georgia in 90 degree heat with 90% humidity.
39. Bruce Banner's arc was designed to make Banner a hero in his own right, regardless of the Hulk.
"This is an arc that makes Banner a hero, and not just someone who whines for the Hulk's help the whole time. Banner has to step up and solve the problem on his own," Joe Russo says.
40. There was a version where this is Captain America's entrance into the movie.
"There was a draft where that tackle was Cap's first appearance in the movie. They called us insane, and we may well have been," Markus says.
41. Captain America will have a "big story" in Avengers 4.
"We know we have two movies to tell the character arcs, and so some characters are going to better served in the second story. I think it's OK to say that Cap has a big story in the second one," McFeely says.
42. This is one of the only uses of the Soul Stone in the movie.
Thanos uses it to determine which Doctor Strange is the real one.
43. In the commentary, they refer to Bruce Banner as "the herald from space."
In the commentary (though not in the film), they refer to Bruce Banner as "the herald from space," a role in the comics filled by the Silver Surfer, a character for whom Disney doesn't have the rights.
"This is what Bruce Banner has been warning them about, as the herald from space, for the whole movie. And now it's here," Markus says.
44. Thanos is transported into the Soul Stone's internal world here.
"Are we committing to it being Soul World?" McFeely asked.
"Of course it is," Joe Russo replies. "Thanos is transported, through the power that was needed or required to wipe out half the life in the universe, into this dream state inside the Soul Stone."
"And he is allowed one last meeting with that which he gave up to get there, the spiritual representation of his daughter," Markus finishes.
45. Spider-Man's death wasn't so brutal, originally.
"If I remember correctly, it was, 'I don't feel so good,' Tony looked at him, he said, 'I'm sorry,' and disappeared," Joe Russo says. "And then on the day, we kept driving to put more and more emotion into it, and just went up to Tom and said, 'You don't want to go. You're a child. And you're using your strength as Spider-Man to fight this.' And then that was the performance that came out."
46. There's one last Easter egg here.
"For our eagle-eyed viewers, you'll see, to the right there, a scarecrow made of Thanos's armor. That is an homage [to the comics]," Joe Russo says.