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SYFY WIRE Avengers: Endgame

Endgame screenwriters explain why Defenders, Fantastic 4, X-Men didn't make the cut

By Josh Weiss
The Defenders on Netflix

WARNING! The following contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame!

Humans disagree on many things, but there is one topic that allows us to unite as a species: just how f***ing epic Avengers: Endgame actually is. The follow-up to Infinity War is packed with so many fan-pleasing moments, that it's hard to imagine how Kevin Feige and the good folks at Marvel Studios will ever be able to top it.

And while Endgame brought back nearly every single familiar face in the MCU we've grown to love over the last 11 years, it did have a few notable exceptions. Take, for instance, Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand/Iron Fist from the Marvel Netflix shows. How come The Defenders didn't join the final assault on Thanos (Josh Brolin)? Or what about the X-Men, or Fantastic Four, whom Disney just purchased

Defenders & Dark Phoenix

In a lengthy Q&A with The New York Times, the movie's screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely answered these questions and many, many more. 

"We would have to introduce these five characters — or whatever many," said McFeely. "We already are assuming people have seen a lot of the movies. Are we really going to assume they have bought a subscription to Netflix and watched those shows enough so that when they see them, they’re going to go 'yay?'"

Outside of just going overboard with heroes, Markus noted there's also the film's surprisingly jumpy timeline to consider.

"It also screws up the timelines. You would have to assume that they all got snapped away, or otherwise they might have shown up earlier. I think the only character who has come from TV to the movies is Jarvis, James D’Arcy [from Agent Carter]," he said.

Yes, he's right — D'Arcy's Jarvis is the only TV crossover character in Endgame, showing up to drive home Howard Stark (John Slattery) in 1970 after Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) infiltrate a S.H.I.E.L.D./military facility in New Jersey to steal the Tesseract and more Pym Particles. D'Arcy's character had a co-starring role in the short-lived, period-set Agent Carter TV series.

Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

While it would have been unquestionably awesome to see the Netflix heroes join the fight at the end, the screewriters have a point. It would have put the already-bloated sequence above capacity, much like Hulk trying to take the elevator with the rest of the Avengers after defeating Loki in 2012. So, to answer Doctor Strange's question to Wong, no, that wasn't "everyone."

The reason for why none of the X-Men (unless you count Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch) showed up is a bit more simple.

"Legally, not allowed to," was McFeely's terse answer as Markus backed him up with, "I guess it’s done now but it wasn’t done then. They still have an X-Men movie [Dark Phoenix, due in June]. You can’t reboot them before they’re done. 'Sorry to completely screw you.'"

Paul Rudd Ant-Man Avengers: Endgame

Still, the screenwriters still had to limit their Marvel characters for the final fight, even though they could choose anyone and everyone who has graced the big screen in the last decade.

"There were moments, as they brought everybody back, where we’re like, technically, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer have [Ant-Man] suits. Do we bring them back? It became impossible to track the people we did bring back, but also, it’s just going to be an orgy," finished Markus.

Avengers: Endgame is now playing in theaters everywhere. After just one weekend, the massive superhero flick accrued more than $1.2 billion at the global box office.