As much as there is tremendous fiscal reward and fan love to be reaped from penning a superhero movie the size of Avengers: Infinity War, it’s also got to be something of a nightmare. The amount of story that you’re responsible for and all those nods to characters and events that have happened or will happen soon enough that must be wrangled into a borderline coherent assemblage alone would make most people weep. And mind you, that’s not even a tenth of the responsibilities that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have when approaching the next two Avengers films, which will double down on the Marvel free-for-all that was the surprisingly strong Captain America: Civil War.
Indeed, for every bitter, higher-than-thou would-be screenwriter who grumbles or straight-up shouts “I could’ve done that better” after seeing these Marvel movies, take a moment to consider just how complicated a task all of this would be, even before one has to cater to producers and studio notes that can mess with tonality and story structure. So, it’s not entirely surprising that when discussing the upcoming sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron, another movie I enjoyed in a brainless sort of way, Markus and McFeely said they are currently working on their third draft of Avengers: Infinity War, and their second draft of its untitled sequel. They made these comments during an interview with Yahoo! and here’s the exact words via /Film:
We’re many drafts in. We’re on the third draft of movie one and the second draft of movie two. [We’re writing them in tandem] as much as we can. On any given day, you’re only working on one but that doesn’t mean that next week, you aren’t working on the other one. And certainly, notes are coming in and all sorts of production stuff is coming in, like for instance, ‘that thing over there is now a window not a door so adjust that.’ Or, ‘we’re not going to this town now, we’re going to this town.’ That kind of stuff happens constantly and will continue to happen for the next few months.
The writing partners went on to discuss the idea of major characters dying in the upcoming sequels, and just how much they think about all the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when considering where the films will go from here. Here’s what they had to say about that:
When we lock ourselves in a room with the Russo brothers and a couple of execs from Marvel, one wall has cards for movie one and the other wall has cards for movie two and another wall has little baseball cards of every character still alive in the Marvel universe…
Down to Darcy’s boyfriend in Thor 2 – literally, anybody who did not die and has been established as alive. And then we looked at that began to shuffle the cards around. So basically, the big scene is when Darcy’s boyfriend and Galactus get together and….[Laughs].
I honestly never had any doubt about how much consideration of story structure and characters was put into these movies – if anything, they are studiously written for an airtight sense of storytelling. It’s always been the visuals, and the direction of the performances, that have always made me critical of most of these movies, at least when they are discussed as anything more than fun, hugely compromised entertainments. There’s always hope that Infinity War will be as uniquely expressive as Iron Man 3 or the oft-derided, excellent Ant-Man, but with all these proverbial spinning plates, I anticipate it almost exclusively as an enjoyable, thoughtless night at the movies.