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Many have already written about the slippery slope the MCU gave to death, especially when cop-outs of time travel and the Infinity Stones can seemingly bring back anybody. What isn’t talked about as much are possible injuries inflicted on the Avengers team, sometimes at a mental level as much as physical.

As seen with Thor suffering from lingering PTSD symptoms, the life of an Avenger finally caught up with reality in the MCU. Physical injuries do occur, yet not overly common thanks to these superheroes having superhuman abilities. Medical professionals often look at these and detail the injuries the Avengers would have had in the real world.

According to some concept art for Endgame, Tony Stark was going to have one major physical injury that would have made his death far more disturbing.

The MCU wanted to go edgier, but Disney nixed the idea

Robert Downey Jr. on the red carpet
Robert Downey Jr. | Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic

On Reddit, someone posted a link to a recent Insider article presenting the above Endgame artwork with Tony Stark looking a lot worse for wear during his famous death scene. The original intention was to have Stark lose an eye after battling Thanos.

Using the Infinity Stones was more than a little tough on his body, but the brutality the producers had in mind went in line with a strange fetish toward bringing some gore to the franchise. There were already rumors in 2019 about the original desire of the writing team to make Thanos behead Captain America.

A weird obsession was there to torture Cap for whatever reason. Now it’s known the creative team wanted Tony Stark to not necessarily have a peaceful death.

Why the creatives of the franchise wanted to do this might fall under simple reasoning: They want to keep up with what DC is doing.

In an alternate universe, the MCU would likely be bloodier

Maybe some Marvel fans are starting to lament Disney’s acquisition, because most of the MCU movies are PG-13. This means not doing anything too edgy, including any type of explicit gore.

Seeing the new concept art of Tony Stark’s eye popped out of his socket was clearly rejected by Disney brass. From all indications, several concept art pieces were created and presented to higher-ups to decide the most appropriate choice for the MCU brand.

Stark dying with a less bloody face was arguably the better decision since it allowed Robert Downey, Jr. to bring out more emotion while saying his final words to Peter Parker and Pepper.

Most would admit they wouldn’t want to see Stark’s eye hanging out of his face while interacting during his death scene.

Regardless, it does seem to suggest some creative tug-of-war at the MCU about utilizing shocking things. Desire to do that is probably real internally, maybe out of fear the DC Universe overtakes Marvel eventually at the box office.

Marvel might do more daring things in future phases

Everyone knows the future phases of the MCU are in a state of flux right now. After the Avengers years, there’s clearly a philosophy from Disney to not meddle with the formula to keep box office figures consistent.

On the other side of things is the emergence of DC giving Marvel a run for their money. With big films on their slate coming up, there may be further worry at Marvel about wanting to do edgy things to attract DC’s adult audience.

Over time, this seems inevitable, even if those who adhere to family-friendly movies may be against such a thing. Already, the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel will reportedly be scarier than any prior Marvel movie.

Keep in mind “edgy” doesn’t always have to mean a plethora of blood. DC doesn’t always go there to make sure they get a Hard R.