The Marvel Cinematic Universe is usually quite a triumphant place. Sure every MCU movie has the hero get knocked around a bit by some Marvel villain with a bucket on his head, but by the time we get to the credits, the day’s normally saved.
The only time this isn’t true is in Avengers Infinity War, which might just be the most depressing superhero movie ever made. Basically, it’s a two-and-a-half-hour-long victory lap for Thanos as he tears through all of our favourite MCU characters (quite literally for Vision) one by one, slowly collecting the Infinity Stones.
Even at the end, when Thor managed to hit the Mad Titan in the chest with his axe, it seemed like normal Marvel movie fare. Except it wasn’t. With a snap of his fingers, Thanos atomised half of all living beings and disappeared to parts unknown.
On Titan, we saw The Guardians of the Galaxy turn to dust, Doctor Strange melted candy floss in water, but the last to go was poor Spider-Man (Tom Holland). As Peter fought against the power of the Infinity Stones, he desperately grabbed at Iron Man and let out the saddest words spoken in the MCU.
“I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go, sir. Please. Please, I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go. I’m sorry.”
It was a genuine gut punch of a line that left a lot of cinemagoers in stunned silence. But a fun fact, that line wasn’t in the script. According to directors Anthony and Joe Russo, the line as written was just “I’m sorry”, but they didn’t believe it was emotional enough and asked Holland to improvise.
“He unlocked it emotionally. He understood what we were asking for,” said Joe Russo [via BBC]. “That’s what’s in the film.” Holland would later clarify during an interview with GQ that the scene came together in a longer improvised take that “wasn’t great”.
“Basically, we did a long improvisation, and it wasn’t great,” Holland explained. “But it sparked a great idea, and then we reworked the scene, and then this was born.” Apparently, the repetition of “I don’t want to go” comes from an acting technique Holland uses when he wants to make himself cry.
“A technique I do if I’m trying to cry is I’ll say a phrase over and over again,” he explained. “So, for example, if I was in a scene and I was talking to someone, and the undertone of the scene was that I love them, I would say in my head, ‘I love you so much, I love you so much, I love you so much, I love you so much’. And in that scene, it was ‘I don’t wanna go’, and I just thought I would say it out loud, and it works. It’s really good in the film.”
Don’t get too sad, though. Holland quickly returned for the next Spider-Man movie, and he’s expected to return in Marvel’s Phase 5. Speaking of which, if you want to know more about the new movies coming from Marvel, check out our guides to The Marvels, Guardians of the Galaxy 4, and even Spider-Man 4.