In the shocking final moments of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos the Mad Titan used the full power of the Infinity Stones and the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of all life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a truly chilling scene, iconic heroes like Spider-Man, Black Panther and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy crumbled into dust as their fellow heroes looked on with awe and horror.
Now, Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo have explained why Thanos' victims perished by turning into ash in a new interview.
"We thought about the elemental aspect of your body and what happens to it," Joe Russo told Rotten Tomatoes. "Accelerating the decomposing process in a way."
In the film, the decision to turn Marvel's heroes into dust added a grim physicality to a moment that played out differently in the comic book Marvel Universe.
In Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim's The Infinity Gauntlet, the unlucky half of the Marvel Universe simply faded out of existence when Thanos snapped his fingers early in the story.
While the snap takes place before most of Earth's heroes meet Thanos in the comic, it played a more central role in Infinity War.
"We very thoroughly explore a lot of different ideas before we lock in to what's exciting us most," added Anthony Russo. "I'm sure at some point there were many variations, but once the story starts to take shape, it really forms in a muscular way around a single idea."
As Infinity War co-writer Stephen McFeely revealed last month, Thanos' snap almost didn't happen until Avengers: Endgame. With the release of Avengers: Endgame only a few days away, it won’t be long before the Avengers reveal their plan to reverse Thanos' actions or what that plan might cost them.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Josh Brolin as Thanos. The film opens Friday worldwide.