Endgame co-writer Stephen McFeely revealed that the writers originally had totally different plans for Iron Man. In an interview with Empire, McFeely said that instead of Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) traveling back to the original Avengers movie, they were set to visit celestial planetoid, Asgard.
“Technically in Thor: The Dark World, the Tesseract is in the vault as the Aether is also there,” McFeely explains to the publication. “So that sent Tony to Asgard, and he had an invisible stealth suit, and he fought Heimdall, who could, of course, see him.” But McFeely said that co-director Joe Russo had different plans for the script. “I think [Russo] went in and said, ‘Why don’t we go in to Avengers? It’s the biggest movie, it’s the most fun, let’s go,'” he added.
Though sending Iron Man to Asgard would make total sense, the writers’ ultimate decision was probably for the best. After all, Thor: The Dark World was the lease popular film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even Thor himself, actor Chris Hemsworth, admitted that he wasn’t thrilled with the first two Thor installments, Thor (2011) and sequel Thor: The Dark World (2013).
“I was sort of exhausted of what I’d been doing and a little sort of underwhelmed by what I was putting out there,” Hemsworth said in an interview with Yahoo News this year.
Dark World was pretty universally loathed, so much so that it’s become a running joke among Avengers fans. Things might have been different had Patty Jenkins directed the film as planned, but due to creative differences, she left the franchise. (She went on to direct Wonder Woman, so she’s doing just fine.)
Of course, the irony is that Dark World is still featured in Endgame, except it’s the titular God of Thunder who returns to Asgard instead of snarky Stark. Still, focusing on the original Avengers and having best frenemies Tony and Steve time travel together feels like it was the smart move.