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Why One Of The Most Emotional Scenes Was Cut From Endgame

There's a method to the madness of Avengers: Endgame co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo.

During a Reddit AMA, the ace filmmakers responded to a fan who asked why one of the flick's more famous deleted scenes — in which all of the assembled heroes take a knee out of respect after Tony Stark's heroic act of self-sacrifice — wasn't included in the final cut of the film.

In case you haven't gotten a chance to catch the excised scene here's a brief explanation (and you may want to get your tissues). You'll recall that Stark mortally injured himself while using the Infinity Stones to snap Thanos and his invading armies out of existence; unable to even speak, he held on long enough for Peter Parker to tell him that the Avengers had won, and for his wife Pepper Potts to reassure him that she and his daughter Morgan would be okay without him. "You can rest now," Pepper said — and so he did, taking his last breath. The deleted scene would have taken place directly after this.

In it, we first see an utterly shell-shocked Captain America and Thor, in disbelief over the loss. Then, we cut to Hawkeye — who slowly, tentatively drops to one knee. One by one, the rest of the heroes follow suit: first T'Challa, then Captain Marvel, followed by Peter Quill, Nebula, Valkyrie, Ant-Man, Cap, and Doctor Strange (who had known all along that Stark would have to sacrifice himself to achieve victory). As the camera pulls out to a wide shot, we see that everybody is kneeling (except 2014 Gamora, who has taken the opportunity to slip away without anyone noticing).

Why Avengers: Endgame's 'Take a Knee' scene didn't make the cut

The scene is absolutely fraught with emotion, and the Russos didn't disagree that it would not have seemed out of place if it had stayed. According to the directors, the problem was that as it played out, it ended up bearing too much similarity to another scene which they had planned for the flick's conclusion — one which was just as epic, and which did make the final cut.

"We found the Avengers kneeling scene incredibly emotional as well, but when played in the run of the film, it felt incredibly similar to the moment when all of the heroes stood on the shore at Tony's funeral, paying their respects to him outside his home," they explained. "The two scenes, when in the film together, seemed to fight one another, and created a repetitious ending."

That actually makes a ton of sense; the way in which the camera lingers on every character in the deleted sequence, making sure that everyone's reaction is recorded, strikes pretty much the exact same emotional chords as the funeral scene. It could also be argued that this scene trumps the deleted one because it's strikingly accomplished in a single shot, and because there are a few relevant parties present (such as Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, and a grown-up Harley Keener, who as a kid helped Stark out during the events of Iron Man 3) who weren't there during Endgame's final battle.

It's easy to see how the inclusion of the "Take a Knee" seen could have diluted the emotional impact of that dramatic one-take sequence. It's worth asking, though, if the scene might show up in an alternate version of Endgame down the road... a director's cut, perhaps?

Will the scene ever appear in a director's cut of Endgame?

It turns out that we have an answer to that question as well, thanks to the Russos and that absolutely Herculean AMA in which they answered seemingly a billion questions. Their answer to the query of whether or not there would ever be a director's cut of Endgame was succinct, to the point, and frankly awesome.

"Honestly no, we have always released the version of [each of our movies] we wanted to," the brothers said. "So you would never see a director's cut of a Russo Brothers' Marvel movie, because you have already seen it."

We would have expected no less. The directing duo earned the unwavering trust of mighty Marvel with their first MCU effort, 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is widely (and rightly) considered to be one of the greatest superhero films of all time. They were then handed the task of fielding three of the most complex crossover films ever produced in Captain America: Civil War and the one-two punch of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, and while the fact that every scene they deemed necessary to all four of those films ended up in the final cut is pretty mind-boggling, we can't say we're terribly surprised.

These guys obviously know what they're doing, and although they've said that their run with Marvel is pretty much concluded, it so happens that they've also expressed interest in a couple of properties which are now under the studio's control: the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Say, guys: you gave Marvel the biggest movie of all time. We're going to go out on a limb and say that they just might be down to work with you again.