Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo proved their mettle in the Marvel Cinematic Universe via the Captain America franchise. After leading Cap to new heights in The Winter Soldier and Civil War, the directing duo had to wrangle nearly every Marvel hero in arguably the biggest blockbuster of all time. In doing so, the Russos discovered an interesting similarity between the Star Spangled Man they knew so well and The God of Thunder they’d just met.

From the film’s opening scene, it was immediately apparent to the Russos that Cap (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) had a lot more in common than mere facial hair. Yes, Cap indeed “copied” Thor’s beard game, but what the two men also share is a sense of loss. Anthony Russo explains in the commentary track for Infinity War.

“One thing we all really responded to about Thor is where he’s left at the end of [Thor:] Ragnarok with the destruction of Asgard. We all have a history, obviously, with the Captain America character. I think there’s an interesting connection in that Cap was also a character who lost everything and there’s something fascinating about exploring these people as you strip away who they are and their built out identities and find out what’s left and we’re going through a very similar process with Thor in this movie.

We’re sort of completing the experience that Ragnarok brought to Thor in the sense that we’re taking the rest of everything away from him. Everything that remains. He’s starting with nothing after that point and trying to climb his way back. It’s a very underdog arc, a very rousing arc, I think. Very empathetic.”

Both Thor and Cap have been deconstructed throughout their time in the MCU, especially in each character’s third film. Each hero lost his trademark weapon in the third film, but Thor sustained even heavier losses with his father dying and his entire home world being blown to bits.

By tapping into Thor’s tragic arc, the Russos and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were able to put The God of Thunder at the (near) center of an Avengers film for the first time. Thor gets priority over just about every character except Thanos (Josh Brolin) in the story. Joe Russo notes that Thor could have walked away with the entire film, if only he’d gone for the head.

Avengers: Infinity War is now available on Digital HD and 4K UHD.