The battle on the planet Titan in Avengers: Infinity War is a brutal throwdown between Thanos and a disparate bunch of heroes, as Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and a few Guardians of the Galaxy tried to strip him of his gauntlet before the big purple guy could get all the Infinity Stones. As it turns out, however, there was almost a brief interruption during that battle—one that would’ve given Thanos the official thumbs down on the scales of intergalactic justice.
As reported by several folks in attendence, during the Comic-Con panel today with Avengers writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the duo revealed that there was originally a scene during that struggle in which Doctor Strange uses his powers to knock Thanos’ mind through a mindscape (think that trippy adventure Strange first went on in his own movie when Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One sent him hurling across the cosmos), where the Titan then ended up in front of The Living Tribunal.
Fans of Marvel comics may know this guy: The Tribunal is an entity as old as the universe itself, one tasked with maintaining balance among the various realities and dimensions of existence. According to Markus and McFeely, the Living Tribunal was going to judge Thanos and find him guilty of attempting to upset the cosmic balance. They ended up cutting it because it sapped the pacing from the battle. While they didn’t get into the particulars of where it would’ve gone from there, or how they’d return Thanos’ mind to the fight on Titan (if you’ve read the original Infinity Gauntlet series, you know the encounter with the Tribunal involves a cool moment where they question whose powers are actually superior), it does suggest Marvel was trying to thread in yet more ways to expand the MCU in greater cosmic directions. That they ultimately decided to cut the scene is probably for the best: There would have been a lot of theaters where audience members all turned to the nerdiest person in their entourage and whispered, “Uh, the fuck is that thing?”