A film as large as Avengers: Endgame will still have people leaving the theatres with many burning questions. Luckily, the directors Anthony and Joe Russo have offered some insight in various interviews that explain what creative decisions they made during Endgame. These range from why there wasn’t an after-credit sequence to what happens to Peter Parker’s classmates.
How Fat Thor came to be
Easily one of the best arcs to come out of the movie was Thor’s, where we see him go from a depressed overweight man burdened by his failures to a hero willing to forgive himself. It’s a bold choice to make such a hunk of a character be this vulnerable, emotionally and physically.
This came out of really intense sessions with the writers, Markus and McFeely. We just started circling this character, who was really blaming himself. If you look at the loss Thor suffers in Infinity War, it’s staggering. From the beginning of the film, when Thanos attacks his ship, kills Loki and Heimdall and much of his people. And all the way through to his failure to stop Thanos. We started thinking about how that would weigh on him and what that would do to him. We started circling this idea of depression and throwing that out in a way that we thought was really surprising and interesting.
Lack of After-Credit Sequence
Many were sitting in their seats waiting for the final moment of the credits. Where is the MCU heading after Endgame was on everyone’s mind? Then suddenly, they aren’t greeted by the traditional after-credit sequence. There was nothing to really hint at what the future of this franchise holds. It truly felt like the end of an era. Russo Bros. shed some light on why there wasn’t an after-credit sequence in the film.
The reason why there’s no end credits is because our goal on this movie was simply to bring to a conclusion the 22 movies now that comprise the MCU for these 10 years of storytelling. … I think one of the great creative upsides for Joe and I, as storytellers on this movie, was that this is the first MCU movie we got to tell where we weren’t thinking about the future. We were simply thinking about the past, the journey that we’ve all been on together since that first Iron Man movie. And how do we bring the most epic sense of closure to that the journey that we can possibly do. So that was our goal, and that was really why we had no tag.
Stan Lee’s Cameo
As in every Marvel movie, we got a short cameo from Stan Lee in Endgame. There always is the question on if they plan on adding these cameos early on in the script but it seems that the Russo Bros. have their own take on finding the perfect spot for Stan Lee to appear in their films.
“I’m sure all the directors approach it differently, but the way we approach it is, we get the script done and then we start looking for a great area to put Stan into the movie. And we try to make it have some narrative richness and also make it entertaining for the fans. For Winter Soldier, it’s the security guard when Cap steals his suit back. Very poignant moment in the movie. And Civil War, “Tony Stank.”
How did Thanos transport his entire army with one vial of Pym Particles?
The movie’s 2nd-act is pretty lighthearted for the most part but takes a dark turn near the end when Thanos finds a way to arrive in present-day to collect the gauntlet. He pulls a bait-and-switch with past-Nebula and gets his hands on some Pym Particles. When past-Nebula arrives at the present, she uses the Avengers’ time machine to bring back Thanos and his entire army. But as established by the film, it takes one a vial of Pym Particles to transport one being through the Quantum Realm. So how did Thanos get a thousand creatures through it?
There is a guy called Maw in his army, he was a great wizard. Thanos himself was a brilliant genius as well. Those two easily reverse engineered and mass-produced Pym Particles.
The story behind the “I Am Iron Man” moment
One of the most rousing moments in the film is when Iron Man gets a hold of all the stones in his final bout against Thanos. As Thanos vainly exclaims his inevitability, Tony utters the line that started it all, “I am Iron Man.” Turns out, this line came very very late into the editing process and if it weren’t for their editor, they wouldn’t have included it.
“Tony used to not say anything in that moment. And we were in the editing room going, ‘He has to say something. This a character who has lived and died by quips.’ And we just couldn’t, we tried a million different last lines. Thanos was saying “I am inevitable.” And our editor Jeff Ford, who’s been with us all four movies and is an amazing storyteller, said ‘Why don’t we just go full circle with it and say I am Iron Man.’ And we’re like, ‘Get the cameras! We have to shoot this tomorrow.’”
RDJ’s reaction to his final film
As the torchbearer of the MCU, it’s easy to imagine the conversation with Robert Downey Jr. that Tony was going to end his life to save the universe as a bittersweet one. But like the class-act guy RDJ, it seems like it all went well for the Russo brothers.
We did pitch Robert his arc because he kicked off the entire MCU. The Tony Stark arc is the longest and perhaps fullest in the MCU. Once we decided we wanted this kind of ending for the character, we certainly wanted to make sure Robert was comfortable with it, just because of his enormous contribution to the MCU. We did pitch it out. We went over to meet with him and we pitched it out to him.
A lot of the actors are not opinionated about what we do. They like the fact that we are sort of in control of these stories and we are driving where they should go and we have a vision for where they should go and they trust in that. I think Downey may have had mixed emotions about thinking about [where Tony Stark ends up in Endgame], but I think at the end of the day, he totally accepted it.
Cap’s final adventure in the past
In another interview with Entertainment Weekly, they discussed the effects that Cap’s travel into the past had on the timeline and tease a potential future Captain America storyline that may be revisited.
“If Cap were to go back into the past and live there, he would create a branched reality. The question then becomes, how is he back in this reality to give the shield away? Interesting question, right? Maybe there’s a story there. There’s a lot of layers built into this movie and we spent three years thinking through it, so it’s fun to talk about it and hopefully fill in holes for people so they understand what we’re thinking.”
Does he meet Red Skull one last time?
It is interesting to think that we could explore Steve’s time traveling to the past as he drops off the various Infinity Stones. There is a lot of storytelling potentials here, especially with him facing the Red Skull again who is the guardian of the Soul Stone. The directors do give us some hint at how that confrontation would have looked like.
“Red Skull would probably put the soul stone back to its location, and wait for the next unfortunate stone seeker to make a sacrifice. Cap and Red Skull probably won’t fight. It’s because it’s his mission to return the stone to its original place. The Red Skull is also no longer the same Red Skull from FA. He is more like a ghost, you could almost say he’s a completely different entity now. He only exists to guard the stone, his past conscious may or may not exist anymore.”
What happens to Peter’s classmates?
The movie ends with all the snapped people of the universe coming back to life after 5 years of being dead. Because so much time has passed, a lot of questions were raised about how the world moves now that 50% of the population has reappeared. When Peter returns to school in the end, he’s greeted by a Ned who looks exactly the same as we left him. Did Ned get snapped too? What about their classmates that didn’t get snapped?
So… Ned disappeared as well,” Joe Russo tells EW. “That’s the two of them seeing each other for the first time after having disappeared.” But just because half the population got wiped out, “that doesn’t mean that everyone that they went to high school with didn’t disappear,” Joe said. “There could be kids who are now much older than them and no longer in high school,” Joe added. “But Ned and he both disappeared and are returning in that moment.
The True Hero of Endgame
The Russo Bros. also shed some light on the most underappreciated character, unnamed mouse. He was the one that brought Ant-Man back from the Quantum Realm. Without him, Lang would not have been able to tell the others about the time heist and they would not have been able to bring back the vanished.
“Yes, the MOUSE SAVED THE UNIVERSE. Among the many realities in those 14 millions possible futures Doctor Strange foresee, the mouse failed to press button and thus the heroes failed in those futures.”
Why they decided to kill Black Widow
Most fans likely had Steve Rogers and Tony Stark on their Endgame kill-list. Both characters have had incredibly fruitful arcs over the course of 10 years that merited a send-off. One character no one had on their kill-list was Black Widow. It’s one of the biggest shocks of the film and has garnered some criticism from fans who feel that Nat’s arc was shortchanged.
“To me it’s one of the sadder scenes in the movie because it’s really putting two people in a Sophie’s choice, putting two people in the position where: do you let your friend die or do you die?” said Joe Russo. “The theme of the movie is, can you change your destiny, and what does it cost to do it? And are you willing to pay that cost?” added Joe. “It’s a resounding yes from the Avengers. In [Infinity War] they said, ‘We don’t trade lives,’ and there was a desire to protect. And in this movie, there’s now a desire to sacrifice in order to accomplish the goal.”
Why didn’t they use the Time Stone to save Tony?
When you’re incorporating McGuffins as plot-breaking as the Infinity Stones, it’s almost too tempting to simply use them to get out of tight spots in the story. Luckily, the Russos know better so when they were asked why no one thought to use the Time Stone to reverse Tony’s death, they had a clear-cut answer.
It’s because even if you save Iron Man, it will still not change the fact that Thanos will eventually win the war. Among the 14 million possibilities that Doctor Strange has seen, Iron Man’s sacrifice is a must for that one win scenario.
What do you think?