Avengers Endgame Interviews – Cast and Crew Talk About Creating the Epic Conclusion
The endgame is almost here! In a saga that has spanned a decade, broken box office records, and set the standard for its genre, a chapter is coming to a close in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Avengers: Endgame, fans will finally see the conclusion to not only last year’s Infinity War, but to the “Infinity Saga” itself, which began in 2008 with Iron Man. Secrecy on this latest installment has been an all-time high, with very little information being let out regarding the upcoming blockbuster. Nevertheless, media outlets were invited to a special junket to talk to cast of the film, despite their collective tight lips when it came to any sort of detail.
The moderator of the junket was executive producer Jon Favreau (who also directed the first two Iron Man films and portrays Happy Hogan in the MCU). After taking the stage and lamenting the fact that he’s not Jeff Goldblum (moderator of last year’s Infinity War panel), Favreau dropped the curtain of the stage to reveal the Endgame cast, or rather a great deal of empty seats, having been affected by Thanos’ infamous snap. The main cast took the stage: Danai Gurira (Okoye), Anthony and Joe Russo (directors), Scarlett Johansson (Nat “Black Widow” Romanoff), Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios), Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony “Iron Man” Stark), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Don Cheadle (James “War Machine” Rhodes), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce “Hulk” Banner), Paul Rudd (Scott “Ant-Man” Lang), Karen Gillian (Nebula), Brie Larson (Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers), Chris Evans (Steve “Captain America” Rogers), and Jeremy Renner (Clint “Hawkeye” Barton).
Favreau asked of Downey, Jr., as the beginning of the cinematic universe, “Could you envision Tony Stark’s arc and where you wanted to see the character go?”
Downey Jr.: I’m reminded now that I was talking a lot of smack saying, “Wait until you see where this goes.” But in the moment, I was just hoping day to day we were making good scenes and getting good stuff in the can. […] I just wanted to not drop the ball.
Downey Jr. went on to describe the new film as a “relay race,” motioning to MCU newcomer Brie Larson whose film Captain Marvel continues to break its own box office records. Favreau agreed, keeping in mind that even with the switching hands of actors and directors, the MCU has retained its common vision thanks to Marvel Studios’ President Feige.
When asked about how what makes Endgame so special and anticipated, Feige referred to Stark’s line in the trailers, “Part of the journey is the end.”
Feige: We haven’t seen an ending. A definitive conclusion to an overall saga. So that’s why it’s called End Game and why I think it’s very, very, very special.
Asked of the Russo Brothers: “How does the surprise ending of Avengers Infinity War affect the tone of Endgame and the aftermath of Thanos’ destruction?”
Gurira: What I can say is what I love about her is that she is very unapologetic. She’s a traditionalist in the sense that she believes in the sovereignty of her nation. She doesn’t have rage issues. She doesn’t have that going on. She loves her life. She loves her country. She loves her people. And she’ll do whatever it takes to take care of what must be done.
Hemsworth told of his experiences in becoming a beloved character as Thor, who’s own characterization often varied throughout his appearances.
Hemsworth: From Kenneth Brannagh to, that first film, was really sort of completely in his hands. And he was basically willing to do whatever it takes and wherever he needed me to go for the character. And then through the films with each director and in each different cast member, I would learn something different from them. And by the time about Ragnarok, I felt like I finally had enough sort of confidence to go okay. What is it that I could possibly bring to this?
Favreau turned next to Evans, asking him about how it was to play Captain America in Endgame. However, in trying to answer, Evans kept getting too close to revealing information about his character’s story, prompting Favreau to quickly interrupt each time, ultimately (jokingly) suggesting that Evans just talk about Scott Pilgrim instead (Evans and Larson both had supporting roles in the film).
Favreau asked Johannson the impact of her character as one of the franchises first female main cast members. Johannson detailed the character’s start in Iron Man 2 as very different from the character she would later grow into. And of her own experiences as more female characters were added to the roster.
Johannson: I remember when Lizzie (Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Scarlet Witch) signed on. Colby (Smulders, who plays Maria Hill) was there. We were all clinging to each other just to, I felt like I had been in this testosterone fest for such a long time. It was so nice to see other female cast members. And then with Brie coming on and Karen and Danai. And you know, it’s really, I feel like I’m in just this, I’m amongst so many wonderful actors, so many strong actors, and such a… it’s just grown beyond my wildest dreams.
Gillan then got to explain her own insight’s into her characters motivations, stemming from the abusive relationship with her father Thanos. Although, she had to stop herself abruptly, for fear of revealing to many plot points in her arc.
Gillan: She’s talked about how she wants to inflict revenge. And so we all know about that. So I would like to see her try and face that. I don’t know if she will. Maybe she won’t. I’m not saying anything. I just got really nervous I gave something away. So I’m going to stop.
The feeling of tip-toe-ing around spoilers continued with Rudd, who confirmed only what he had already seen in the trailers.
Rudd: I do know that I’m in it. How I fit in, how any of this works, it remains to be seen. And it’s going to be fun to have audiences discover it along with us. We haven’t seen it either.
Larson spoke about joining the legendary cast as its latest addition, and its relation to her own solo film.
Larson: This film will always be personally dear to me because it was my first time playing Captain Marvel. We shot this first. So I had to stumble and try to figure out who this character was with no script for this and no script for Captain Marvel either. And perform for the first time in front of legends.
Cheadle spoke of his experience in the films from the standpoint of his interactions with the other cast members, expressing the camaraderie they held on set, spanning the years they’ve worked together.
Cheadle: I’ve always known their work. But to get to know them as individuals and get to know them as people and get to be friends and to come back, to get to keep coming back to these relationships again and seeing where everybody is and people that have kids and kids going on to college and people having kids and relationships starting and ending. It’s rare to have that kind of an experience over the course of ten years with the same group of people. So it’s really nice.
Carrying on with that theme, Favreau asked Ruffalo of his impression of his cast members, and whether he considers the cast a “family,” as many have alluded.
Ruffalo: It doesn’t feel like family to me because we all really get along well. There’s not that much drama. It does feel like family. It’s a family that you wish you had in a way. I don’t know if you could tell. It’s the closest thing you have to continuity and friendships and watching people grow up and have children and get married and then get divorced and then get remarried.
With the chemistry between each of the cast members, the stakes are high for Avengers: Endgame. And no matter how the chapter ends, fans will undoubtedly have plenty more stories from this trail-blazing cinematic universe of heroes. Avengers: Endgame is in theaters April 26th.