“on your left!”
Captain America (Chris Evans) managed to pick up Mjolnir, fight Thanos (Josh Brolin) tooth and nail, and even then, the Mad Titan was still too much. Facing certain death, Cap picks himself back up and is ready to face the time-traveling villain with half a shield. Then, with the most perfect timing, you hear the now-iconic “On your left” line blast through his earpiece.
When The Winter Soldier opened with Sam running, his sense of humor and genuine friendliness shone through in Anthony Mackie’s performance. Cap’s frequent warning in that opening scene — “on your left!” — led to the characters becoming BFFs and partners.
So to hear Sam finally get to lap Steve for once before flying heroically through a portal to fight the Battle of Upstate was a lovely callback to their first meeting. This was also the moment Cap realized that Hulk’s snap actually worked, and the joy he feels in seeing Sam again is one of Endgame’s more powerful moments.
As it turns out, the “On your left” line wasn’t in the script on the first go around. Rather, it was eventually introduced by co-director Joe Russo. “I think that was a Joe Russo suggestion,” Endgame writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus have revealed. A perfect route after ten years of Marvel filmmaking.
Endgame’s writers originally had scripted an alternate-timeline scene in which a victorious Thanos sat atop a throne of skulls and bones in the year 2023, with Captain America’s head as one of his prize trophies. When the Avengers travel into that timeline, Thanos was to toss Cap his own head, “like a bowling ball,” as Feige put it, in a gloating moment of vile overconfidence.
The idea was to continue Thanos’ evil coming-out party from Avengers: Infinity War, where he finally showed why he’d been such a fearsome background manipulator all this time, after hovering like a hidden boogeyman in previous MCU movies.
But, said Feige in an interview with ‘SyFy.com’, the scene ended up asking too much of an already-convoluted time-jumping plot. And although he thinks that kind of imagery would have perfectly highlighted Thanos’ grim, smug, win-at-all-costs ethos, the Endgame team simply couldn’t make it work without adding too much extra exposition.
“Thanos is not just a purple guy with a big chin who sits in chairs and smirks, which is basically all he had been up until Infinity War,” said Feige. “… I would keep opening the book and saying, ‘But we need to do this. We need something like this. Thanos can do this.’ Some of that led to things you saw in Infinity War in Knowhere, where he turns Drax into a pile of cubes. Or turns Nebula into that spiraling ribbon. Or has bubbles come out of Star-Lord’s gun. His casual, sadistic use of the stones was something that we kept wanting to do.”
– Kevin Feige
It isn’t a perfect movie, but at the end of the day, “Endgame” is a love letter to the fans who have stuck with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) through its 11 years and 22 films. Marvel took the patience to craft characters that audiences understand so that as they progressed, their development felt believable and relatable. It’s easy to attribute this success to its sheer scale or the over-the-top action, but “Endgame” succeeds with fans because it’s proof that the film has heart.
'On Your Left' in Avengers: Endgame (2019)
- This is a feat of engineering with a sense of completeness.
- Avengers: Endgame is everything Marvel fans could want and more.
- This is the closing chapter to an 11-year saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, told across some 22 movies.