When Iron Man was released in 2008, few people would have predicted that 10 years later we’d receive a 2-part finale in the form of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ Both movies were critically praised and reached the top 5 highest grossing films of all-time list. However, what if things ended differently? What if instead of a 2-part finale, Marvel had gone all out with a 3-part conclusion following a similar story to what we actually received? That’s what we’ll explore in this editorial.
When outlining the story, the first film would likely be similar to Infinity War, except not killing the Black Order and instead having them retreat to rejoin Thanos on Titan. When Thanos journeys to Vormir for the Soul Stone I’d also replace Red Skull with Lady Death. This is because the Soul Stone’s manipulation of life and death would be under her jurisdiction along with Endgame never making Red Skull’s return satisfying. This may seem very opinionated, but I expected Captain America and Red Skull to interact at some point in Endgame, otherwise why have him return as if that properly concludes his character.
I would still have Vision attacked by Corvus but after Thanos claims the Mind Stone he’d return to Titan and then battle Doctor Strange with all Infinity Stones except for Time.
I think it would be interesting if Thanos used the Mind Stone against Mantis after lying about being under her sway, similar to how he manipulated the Guardians of the Galaxy on Vormir. I think having the Mind Stone then would also be interesting as we can see Thanos actually using the stones in creative combinations like he did during his battle against Doctor Strange. Then I would have Thanos sent back to Wakanda by Doctor Strange as most of the heroes are there along with sending Iron Man back as well. Thanos would still then do the snap once he’s surprised by Thor. Besides these alterations I’d leave the movie alone. The title of this film I think would be Infinity Quest since the majority of the film is Thanos acquiring the Infinity Stones.
I would set the second movie in between the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. There would still be a time skip but not as far. The villain of this movie would be Ronin with the Avengers not realizing it’s Hawkeye until the end. I wouldn’t have the Avengers directly battle Ronin throughout the movie but instead them trying to prevent his various assaults across the world as he targets criminal undergrounds and corrupt governments during his revenge tour.
I would go all out with the concept of Ronin being “out of nowhere” to the point that the Avengers think Clint was killed by the snap until during the climax of the film Black Widow realizes Clint is Ronin. From here we can really explore Clint’s pain in a much more personal Avengers installment which can focus on the Black Widow and Hawkeye characters. Having Black Widow truly save Clint from who he was as Ronin would make her sacrifice in Endgame more satisfying as well.
This movie would be a great chance to properly flesh out the world post-decimation, along with showing what Bruce did to become merged Hulk. The audience can see Tony lose hope and adjust to his new family life (Pepper and Morgan) while Black Widow takes on more of a leadership role as we saw in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ For Black Widow, there are rumors her solo film takes place in between Infinity War and Endgame. If true, this movie could act as a setup for the events of that movie. With Thanos, I think it would be cool to watch him utilize the Soul Stone more as he did in Infinity War.
Maybe Thanos is feeling retrospective after his work has completed and that can be used as a moment to show selective flashbacks to his childhood and what lead to Titan’s demise. Originally this was to be included in the Thanos: Titan Consumed novel by Barry Lyga, until last minute Marvel decided to make the novel non-canon. Rumors claim this was Marvel punishing the publisher for spoiling certain elements without permission. If they went this route and introduced Lady Death as being the one who provides the user the Soul Stone on Vormir, I think it would be interesting to tie it all around as her manipulating Thanos ever since he learned of Titan’s doom. It would properly make him the “mad” Titan, make his journey divine and justified in certain ways, and connect to the comics. In the Thanos Quest storyline, Lady Death was the one who gave Thanos permission to collect and utilize all Infinity Gems (as they were called at the time).
A subplot can also focus on the Black Order leading the Chitauri forces against Captain Marvel and intergalactic governments such as the Kree and remnants of the Nova Empire considering they were affected too. Since Thanos is retired, I would have Captain Marvel and her allies defeat the Black Order and the Chitauri army yet unable to find Thanos. Tracking Infinity Stone energy would naturally bring her to Earth since that’s where the snap was conducted providing a reason for her to be on Earth outside of the intergalactic pager. I would title this movie Infinity War instead.
For the third movie, I would leave Endgame similar with the story. The only change would be this movie is it beginning right after the events of Infinity War (part 2 version). Overall, the second film wouldn’t attempt to change much as much as it would be trying to add to what happened so nothing feels left out when Endgame’s credits roll.