We know that Marvel Studios was incredibly cautious when it came to preventing any leaks regarding the events of Avengers: Infinity War. In fact, the Russo Brothers went so far as to give members of the cast fake script pages, while forbidding to allow any one of them to read the full and genuine screenplay. Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) is notorious for blabbing, so it was the right move, ensuring that everyone — both the cast and fans — got a pure, untainted cinematic experience when the massive comic book blockbuster was finally released in April.
What we didn't know is that the actors, particularly those featured in the epic Wakandan battle against Thanos' forces, didn't know about a major plot point until the day they were supposed to film it. That would be the Infinity Gauntlet snap heard 'round the entire cosmos. This bit of info was revealed in one of the extra features of the film's digital release on iTunes, which goes behind the scenes of that final fight to prevent Thanos from procuring the Mind Stone from Vision's head.
"[For] the blip-out sequence, we had gathered the whole entire talent there, circled around our directors and basically revealed to them that morning of, when they came on set, that that scene was happening; that some of them were going to be, you know, disappearing," said executive producer Trinh Tran. "This, by far, has been the most top-secret movie out of all of the previous 18 movies."
Directors keeping crucial plot information from their casts is not new. During the shooting of the first Alien, Ridley Scott notoriously kept the details of the chestburster scene under wraps, so as to evoke a genuine reaction from the Nostromo crew. In the case of Infinity War, withholding that Thanos was about to wipe out half the universe was done to avoid spoilers.
"The audience is so good at predicting stories, that even just the smallest clue can tell them where the film is going to go," said Joe Russo. "So we worked really hard to make sure that none of the secrets of the film leaked."
Aside from keeping the snap a closely guarded secret — akin to the recipe for Coca-Cola or the Colonel's 11 herbs and spices — there was also the important decision of whom to wipe from existence.
"In terms of our choices about who Thanos would end up eradicating with his snap, it was very story," Anthony Russo said. "How do we pay off each individual character's storyline most profoundly? The first person to go is Bucky Barnes, and it's shot from Captain America's perspective. We're watching Cap go through the experience of watching [his best friend] go away. We're watching Okoye, whose number one mission it is in life is to protect the king. She watches the king go in front of her. And to see those characters react in those situations is very powerful and resonant."
Well, when you put it like that, Anthony, it makes the scene even more devastating, which we didn't think was possible. Brb, going to sit shiva again...