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The Time Stone Heist In Avengers: Endgame Was Almost Completely Different

The Time Stone was probably the easiest of all the Infinity Stones to acquire during the team's time heist in Avengers: Endgame, but it was almost a lot harder. The flick's writers recently revealed that a much different route to acquiring the stone was originally envisioned... one which ran through Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum.

Scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely dropped the tidbit during an interview with Canada.com, during which they were asked if there were any really cool ideas for Endgame that ended up not being used. McFeely initially drew a blank ("It's three hours, so it seems like we used everything," he deadpanned), but Markus reminded him of an initial concept for the Time Stone heist which sounds like it would have been, frankly, totally bonkers.

"At one point, we had a different way of getting to the Time Stone which involved some characters breaking into the Sanctum Sanctorum and being pursued by all the weird stuff that happens to be trapped inside there," Markus said. "It was totally off story and unnecessary and it got cut, but it was fun to write."

We can only imagine just how fun it was. You may remember that in Endgame, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) — sorry, Professor Hulk — were tasked with taking a little sojourn back to 2012 and the Battle of New York, where they hoped to acquire the Space Stone (housed in Loki's scepter) and the Time Stone. The latter was still in the possession of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), since Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) wouldn't arrive on the scene for another couple of years. 

The Space Stone mission went sideways, forcing Stark and Rogers to use the last remaining Pym Particle to travel to 1970, where they were able to secure the stone (which was at that time being housed in a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility). Banner, meanwhile, was able to talk the Ancient One into giving up the Time Stone by relating to her how Strange would willingly give the stone to Thanos in the future (during Avengers: Infinity War), prompting her to realize that Strange must have known that doing so was the only way to save the universe. (She was right; Strange didn't die 14,000,605 times just so he could take a wild guess at the most likely outcome for victory over the Mad Titan.)

Judging by Markus' comment, the mission to snag the Time Stone must have at one time been penciled in for a different time period, a later one in which Doctor Strange was keeping watch over the Sanctum Sanctorum. As you probably remember from the events of Doctor Strange and Thor: Ragnarok, the Sanctum is a place where many weird, hilarious, and dangerous things are prone to happening, usually involving the seemingly dozens of magical artifacts which are housed there.

Imagine, if you will, Professor Hulk trying to navigate this bizarre environment in search of the stone. The Green Goliath may have been a heck of a lot more even-tempered in Endgame due to Banner's merging of his intellect with the Hulk's form; his new temperament was even played for laughs when Banner found himself completely unable to act Hulk-like during the Battle of New York trip. But the Sanctum Sanctorum reacting to an intruder by unleashing all of its magical relics — many of which have been seen to have minds of their own — would be enough to drive anybody to their wits' end. Heck, Strange's cloak alone would have given Banner fits.

We sincerely wish that McFeely had gone into a little more detail about the scene, because we have no doubt that it was a doozy. But the ace screenwriting duo had plenty of other questions to answer, including whether they considered letting Stark live (they did), whether Peggy Carter's mystery husband alluded to in the Captain America series was indeed a time-traveling Steve Rogers (he was), and — most intriguingly — whether they have any designs on writing more MCU flicks in the future.

While Markus and McFeely, along with Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, have maintained that their MCU journey is probably over, Markus had a provocative comment when asked if the pair could see working Marvel again. "We're certainly not slamming the door," the scribe said. "We had an amazing experience with them. I don't have a character in mind that I'd like to tackle, but on a personal level I'd probably like to go back to a single-character movie. It's been a while since we've done an origin story, so that could be interesting."

We'd like to go on record stating that this would be a very, very welcome development, and that if the duo ever do return to the Marvel fold, we'd very much like to see a scene in which some poor unfortunate soul gets it into their head to try to infiltrate the Sanctum Sanctorum. An idea that awesome simply needs another chance to make it to the screen.