Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Avengers: Endgame Directors Wanted Thanos To Decapitate Captain America

Off with his head!

If Joe and Anthony Russo had stuck to their guts, Captain America would have lost a lot more than friends and fellow heroes in Avengers: Endgame

The directing duo revealed in a chat with Entertainment Weekly at the outlet's San Diego Comic-Con 2019 video studio on Friday that they wanted Endgame to feature Josh Brolin's Thanos decapitating Chris Evans' Captain America in 2014 during the Avengers' time heist mission. After — wait for it — slaughtering the entire Avengers roster in the past, the Mad Titan would have time-traveled to the present day in 2023 (where some of Earth's Mightiest Heroes were trying to undo the Decimation that killed half of all live in the universe) and tossed Cap's severed head at the still-alive team's feet. 

"We clung to that story line for so long just for that moment of Thanos walking through a portal and dropping Captain America's severed head," Anthony Russo shared. 

Joe Russo agreed, noting that he and his brother were "clinging to this concept" so much so that they were having trouble finalizing the third act of Avengers: Endgame because they didn't want to abandon the idea. The Cap beheading would have come late in the movie — where 2014 Thanos finds out what the Avengers are up to and decides to meet up with them in his future (their present) in hopes of kicking butt, taking names, and restoring his vision of balance to the universe — and the Russos held onto the plot point for a really long time. 

"We wanted Thanos to walk up to the Avengers and throw Captain America's head on the ground. We couldn't give up on it," Joe said. 

Ultimately, though, the Russo Brothers dropped the concept and went back to the drawing board to see how the events of the second act could naturally flow into the third, which peaked with the massive battle between 2014 Thanos and his army of alien Chitauri and the Avengers, both never-Snapped and formerly-dusted. 

"Finally we said, 'All right, what if we don't do that? Can we find another way into the third act?' And that's when it turned into what it is now," said Joe. 

Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely also discussed the intended Captain America decapitation when they spoke with Backstory Magazine's Jeff Goldsmith at the "Writing Avengers: Endgame" panel on Friday, July 19. 

"We were working on different ways to bring Thanos into the present day because we had killed the present-day Thanos but we had activated the past-Thanos," Markus shared (via Yahoo). "He, being Thanos, [knew] it would take Nebula some time to rejigger the time machine. He went down to his present-day Earth, which would be 2014, and wiped it out and killed the Avengers. And then, Nebula would turn on the time machine, [and] he would walk through with the Avenger he had killed and go, 'I killed you, again, what are you gonna do about it?'"

That murdered Avenger was, as we now know, going to be Captain America.

If a head had rolled in Avengers: Endgame, heads would have rolled elsewhere, with Marvel fans likely being horrified at the sight of their beloved Cap's noggin tumbling around on the ground like a soccer ball. For our part, we're glad we didn't have to bear witness to that specific brand of nightmare fuel, though we can understand where the Russo Brothers were coming from in wanting to explain in no uncertain terms that Thanos is the most vicious being the Avengers have ever encountered. Both directors brushed off the idea that the beheading would have taken Avengers: Endgame to too dark a place, and we agree. 

This twist is but one of many scenes fans never got to see in Avengers: Endgame. Lucky for them, the home release of the superhero ensemble is fast-approaching — with the digital version coming on Tuesday, July 30 and the Blu-ray edition arriving on Tuesday, August 13. Both versions include special featurettes, a gag reel, and, of course, plenty of deleted scenes. Since the Russo Brothers never actually went through with the idea of Thanos lobbing off Captain America's head in Avengers: Endgame, however, such a sequence won't be available to watch now or ever — and it's probably for the best. Fans already had enough reasons to cry during Endgame; the last thing they need is to see Cap's disembodied cranium at his teammates' feet.