Samuel Beckett’s “Avengers: Endgame”
We've acquired a script for the final Avengers movie, and it's... surprisingly existentialist
[Bare interior of a secret, tech-filled Avengers lair. Grey light. Left and right back, high up, two small windows, curtains drawn.
Front right, a door. Hanging near door, its face to wall, a picture of Stan Lee. Front left, touching each other, covered with an old sheet, two ashbins. Center, in an armchair on casters, covered with an old sheet with an Avengers logo on it, Iron Man. He wears a broken version of his mask, with the eye lights dimmed.
Captain America stands by the door, looking nobly into the middle distance.]
Captain America: [possibly in character, or possibly not] Finished, it’s nearly finished, it must be nearly finished. [Pause] I don’t know, I was never given a full script. Were you?
Iron Man: [beneath the sheet] No one was.
Spiderman: [offstage] The directors didn’t even tell me who I was fighting! I had to punch the air in front of a green screen for fifteen minutes!
Captain America: [ignoring him] Ten years of complicated storytelling, laid out like sand in a mandala. Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there’s a heap, a little heap of ashes where your 40-person cast once stood, the impossible heap. [Pause] I can’t be punished anymore. I mean, they killed off all of the supporting cast members who provided my emotional arcs in my solo movies. I don’t know what else they could do to me.
[A disembodied laugh from somewhere offstage.]
Captain America: That can’t be good. [Pause] Are they going to use another one of my solo movies to focus on Iron Man?
Iron Man: [throwing off the sheet] Can there be misery loftier than mine? My parents? [gesturing at Captain America.] Killed by his best friend. The substitute father I turned into a sentient AI? Destroyed first by his girlfriend, and then again by a giant purple people eater. The fifteen year old superhero whom I look upon as a son? Turned to dust. My goldfish Goldie was eaten by the cat, and the cat choked on the goldfish. Whose backstory, leading into this film, is more tragic? No doubt, formerly. But now? [waves an imperious hand at Captain America] Get me ready, I’m going to monologue again.
Captain America: But you just had a monologue with comedic pop culture references.
Iron Man: Wasn’t quippy enough.
Captain America: Why aren’t we dead?
Iron Man: We’re two fifths of the original Avengers. There’s no way we’re getting killed off without replacements in mind.
[The lid of one of the bins lifts, and the hands of Thor appear. Then his newly shorn head emerges.]
Captain America: I’ll leave you, I have five other subplots to check on.
Thor: Me plot!
Iron Man: Calm down, Shakespeare in the Park.
Thor: Give me my plot! All the nuanced statements Taika Waititi made about immigration got completely destroyed by the start of the last Avengers movie.
Iron Man: Cap, give him something to do.
Captain America: Thor, do you want to go get the MacGuffin again?
Thor: Will it defeat the villain?
Captain America: Probably not.
Iron Man: It will take up a lot of screen time.
[Thor knocks on the lid of the next ashcan. Pause. Knocks Harder. Captain Marvel emerges.]
Captain Marvel: Is it time for my subplot?
Thor: Yes. You’ve got a plan to beat Thanos, haven’t you?
Captain Marvel: Obviously.
[Pause. Everyone looks uncomfortably at one another.]
Thor: Why don’t you do something?
Captain Marvel: We have three hours to fill.
Iron Man: I haven’t had a quip in a while.
Captain Marvel: Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.
Thor: This one time my brother transformed into a snake, because he knows I love snakes. Then when I picked up the snake to admire it, he shouted, “mblergh! It’s me!” and stabbed me. That was pretty funny.
Iron Man: Let’s bring the focus back on me. Bottle those two, Cap.
[Captain America puts the lids back on the ashbins.]
Iron Man: Am I center stage?
Captain America: You’re definitely pulling focus.
Iron Man: I feel a little too far to the left. [Captain America moves him.] Now I feel a little too far to the right. I think you’re center stage, Cap. Move.
Captain America: No. You move. [Pause] Is that a cat?
Iron Man: A cat?
Captain Marvel: [emerging from her ashcan] It’s not.
[A ginger cat wanders onstage.]
Thor: [emerging from his ashcan again] That is no cat.
Captain America: What?
Captain Marvel: It’s a Flerken.
Iron Man: Catch her! She could start the next phase of the franchise!
[The cat jumps into Captain America’s arms.]
Goose: [opens her mouth, revealing an improbable number of large tentacles] RAAAAAAAGH.
Captain Marvel: She does that sometimes.
[Exit Goose. Thor and Captain Marvel retreat into their ashcans.]
Iron Man: Do you remember why you’re here?
Captain America: No. I never got a full script. Did you?
Iron Man: No. Are you going to leave us?
Captain America: You want me to leave you?
Iron Man: Why don’t you finish me?
Captain America: We tried that, remember?
Iron Man: You couldn’t finish me. I couldn’t finish you.
Captain America: I’ll leave you.
Iron Man: We all know you’ll dramatically return at the climax. [Pause] Don’t you think this thing has gone on long enough?
Captain America: The franchise or this movie?
Iron Man: This thing!
Captain America: What?
Iron Man: You can’t leave me. Phase Four is about to start.
Captain America: I can’t leave you.
Iron Man: Wake up Thor, I need to monologue again.
[Captain America stoops, wakes Thor.]
Captain America: He doesn’t want to listen to your story. He’s tired of this franchise. He wants to go over the script for Men in Black.
Iron Man: I’ll let him say his catchphrase.
[Thor’s hands appear, gripping the rim. Then his head.]
Thor: Captain Marvel gets to say hers as well?
Iron Man: Sure. But first… [He launches into the story of how he brought Spiderman into the MCU.] I’ll soon have finished with this story. [Pause] Unless I bring in other characters. [Pause] But where would I find them? They’re all still dust. Cap!
Captain Marvel: Let’s build a time machine and go on a quest for six different MacGuffins.
Iron Man: I meant Captain America.
Captain America: I’m putting things in order.
Iron Man: You can’t, there’s too many plot threads and plot holes.
[Thor and Captain Marvel retreat into their ashbins.]
Iron Man: What are they doing?
Captain America: [lifting the lid] Going on side quests.
Iron Man: And where are you going?
Captain America: To save Bucky, probably. It’s my only consistent motivation.
Iron Man: Let’s play it that way. [Puts his sheet back on. Takes it off, regards the audience.] You all… remain.
Captain America: For the post-credits scene.