Today is officially the opening day for Captain America: Civil War, although many people already watched it during last night’s screenings. This marks the second film that Joe and Anthony Russo have done for Marvel, but they are only getting started after signing on to direct both parts of Avengers: Infinity War. They have a gigantic task set in front of them, but they have already been working with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely to solidify the story.
With the soon to be re-titled Infinity War scheduled to start filming at the end of the year, they should be nearing the end of the pre-production process. In a recent interview with Collider, the directors were asked plenty of questions about their next films and the characters that would be involved. First and foremost, they said it is necessary for Josh Brolin to be on set.
Joe: Absolutely. He has to be.
Anthony: We had a meeting with him and we discussed this very specifically because we like a very tactile approach, I think you can see it in the way we execute both Winter Soldier and Civil War. We like a very tactile approach to how the camera can move, how the other actors interact with one another…
Joe: And behave opposite one another. We can’t get that true behavioral performance without both actors being in the room together, it’s impossible. You lose so much subtlety in level of detail.
When Thanos comes, the world will need the mightiest of Earth’s mightiest heroes and Scarlet Witch certainly fits the bill. Even though she has displayed her great power before, there is still more that she can do, and that is not a good thing for Thanos.
Joe: I don’t think we’ve seen her scratch the surface yet of her power, she’s an extremely powerful character, and I think she’s a very important character moving forward. Let’s just say that.
Anthony: Because her power is so intense we look for ways to make her vulnerable and make her powers vulnerable, and sometimes you go through emotional channels to do that. That’s something we’re very much paying with in Civil War, complicating her emotional state and having that interplay with limitations or issues she may have with her abilities, we do that with all the characters, we look for their vulnerabilities. So moving her forward I think that will remain a dimension of her, an important dimension of how we tell her story because she is so powerful.
One of the other characters that should be helpful in stopping the Mad Titan is Vision, well as long as Thanos doesn’t rip the Mind Stone out of his skull. As long as he has his powers, he can certainly be of help but with Vision comes all the logic in the world. Should he choose to fight, there is a lot more for him to discover that he can do.
Joe: Vision is another character who I don’t think has realized his power yet. It’s tricky in Civil War because he’s a very logical character and I think his thought process is being complicate by something he didn’t expect that he could access which is emotion. And I think his feelings for a certain character in that film complicate his powers as well, and I think frankly he willingly takes a back seat in some events in the movie because he’s so powerful that there’s not –If he’s gonna blast somebody with his mind ray he’d kill them, so I think when he faces a true threat I think you’ll see what he can do.
Anthony: The great thing about Vision’s arc –and Paul Bettany has articulated it very cleverly- is that Vision wants to understand humanity and I think in that process of trying to understand humanity he becomes more human, and that’s very much the arc that he goes on in Civil War and I think he will continue down that road.
Both Scarlet Witch and Vision have really great and interesting stories in Civil War and share a lot of their time together. For that reason, and the fact that we will see more of them moving forward, the Russos were asked if there is a chance for a Vision And Scarlet Witch movie in Phase 4. Their response is just as simple as you’d think.
Joe: It certainly could be. If they survive.
It seems like all three of the aforementioned characters should play a big part in Infinity War, and it starts filming at the end of the year we should have a better understanding what each part is going to be. The directors have repeatedly said the two movies will be different and that they are only shooting them at the same time to help with scheduling. Still, it could be hard to get new actors and characters (such as Captain Marvel) to sign up for such a long shoot but that does not seem to be the case.
Joe: I think everybody’s excited by that concept and I think working on these film, because these actors have been doing it so long, they’re all very close, it’s a little bit like summer camp. I think they’re starting to get withdrawal symptoms when they’re not together now, so I think they’re excited.
Due to the amount of characters both returning and new that will have a role in the movies, there could be a problem with balancing screen time. As evident in Civil War however, I think the Russos have a strong grasp on how to do this many characters justice, and they are using their previous experience with big casts to help with the balance.
Joe: I don’t know. You can kind of look at Civil War and look at how many characters are in that film and how they relate to one another and whether the movie is successful or not successful in using those characters and moving the plot forward. I think that and, like I said, some other properties that are multi-perspective storytelling.
The sheer number of preexisting characters in the MCU are more than enough for Thanos to fight, but with these films being a piece to an even larger universe, there is always the possibility of Easter eggs and set ups for the future. If you are expecting to see Phase 4 and 5 heroes to make brief cameos, don’t get your hopes up. They are focused on the main characters, not setting up or introducing others.
Joe: Look, by the time we get to Infinity War there’s so much to do to service the characters that exist, that currently exist or will soon exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that our focus is going to be on those characters and advancing the story of those characters, and I think that alone is sufficient scale for those movies. So I don’t know how much time we’ll spend on Easter egging other characters.
There is also a 100% that other characters and stories told between Civil War and Infinity War will impact the Russos next project. Thanks to the connected universe, the creative teams at Marvel need to be on the same page with what is coming before and after their movies. As they have revealed, they have close relationships with all the other directors and they all talk constantly and have very specific points in production that they check in with what else is happening.
Joe: We talk a lot. It’s a little bit like United Artists over there right now because we’re all very close on a personal level, social level, texting, emails and everyone has the same collective goal which is great storytelling. We find it fascinating, I mean, just being in television where we supervised a lot of directors for years as executive producers, we’ve always liked a very social and communal environment as directors. Because [Steven] Soderbergh discovered us and really shepherded our path into this business, we feel karmic debt to the same for others, so we’ve always been very appreciative of others directors and supportive, and the same holds true here. We talk to some more than others but there’s a lot of dialogue that goes on.
Anthony: There’s two sort of formal check-in points that we have: The first is when there’s a draft of the script that’s basically there, that’s ready and that’s pretty much the draft they’re gonna shoot, that’s when other people that are working in the MCU on other projects will usually read that draft and get a very specific image of what’s being done in each of these movies. And then there’s also that point where the edit has gotten to the point where it feels pretty close to what the movie’s gonna end up being, of course there will still be more work done and changes made but the essential movie is there, and that’s also a check-in point that we use.
I cannot wait to see what the rest of Phase 3 has in store for us and how it all leads to Infinity War. Let us know what characters you want to see more of in the two part saga in the comments below!
Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 is scheduled to hit theaters May 4, 2018. Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 is scheduled to hit theaters May 3, 2019.