Out Friday, April 27 is “Avengers : Infinity War,” and before the release of what is sure to be the most outsized and ridiculous film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, the cast and creative team gathered for an outsized and ridiculous press junket in Beverly Hills. Present on the panel was Dave Bautista (Drax of “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Paul Bettany (Vision/Jarvis), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challah/The Black Panther), Josh Brolin (Thanos), Don Cheadle (James Rhodey/War Machine), Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange/Dr. Strange), Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Kevin Feige (producer), Jeff Goldblum (The Grandmaster), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spiderman), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Starlord), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Anthony Russo (Director), Joe Russo (Director), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), and Letitia Wright (Shuri).
The conference was done using a bingo style hopper to determine who would field the next question, and every member of the panel was asked exactly one question, with very little tangential conversation. Since everyone attached to the film is under the strictest lock and key, most questions got entertaining, if dodgy, non-answers. But moderator Jeff Goldblum was delightful as ever, and we even heard rumblings of “Avengers 4.”
The first question went to Robert Downey Jr.: Will Iron Man appear in “Avengers 4.”
Downey: “Kevin (Feige)? [laughter] He’s nodding his head, but let’s see what he whispers in my ear. Yes, we already filmed it, which means I’m guess I’m … well, you never know! I gotta see in the screening tomorrow. If I die tomorrow, I’m going to be confused.”
I was able to ask a question of Letitia Wright and I inquired about how she sees her role as technology expert and STEM humanitarian Shuri as impacting kids and teens off-screen.
Wright: “It’s something that’s super new to me to play this character and to have a character who’s just interested in all of these amazing subject matters. I wish I had a Shuri on TV or in the movies that I could see when I was growing up then I would have staid in my math classes a little bit longer. I’m really happy that the film and this character Shuri has allowed young kids to feel like learning is cool and that they can contribute to the world with science and math and technology and engineering.”
Chris Hemsworth was asked which scene was the most challenging to film for the movie.
Hemsworth: “The first day … was Thor meeting the Guardians, and it felt like the first day of school for me because they all new each other and I didn’t, so I was the new kid…. To be on screen with them as Thor was pretty damn exciting.
Zoey Saldana discussed how it feels to go from one of the first heroes of color in the MCU to being joined by cast of “Black Panther.”
Saldana: “I’m happy…. I’m happy to be given the opportunities by leaders such of our studio heads when they take on the task of broadening our narrative. I think as actors regardless of our race and our gender we just want to be given an equal opportunity to be able to be chameleons and continue growing and connecting with our audience…. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that [her three sons] are going to inherit that influx of storytelling through media that represents them and makes them feel seen and heard.”
Finally, Anthony Russo talked about the intense research and debate that went into storyboarding the film and drawing from the comic books.
Russo: “When we began developing this movie we sat in a room, Kevin, Joe and I, … we had a picture of every single person and character who’s been in the MCU and we hung it up on the walls all around us. And we basically spent months and months and months talking about where we could go with each character…. Every one of these characters has been on a very specific journey through the MCU to arrive at this moment. And it was a very long creative process thinking about where we can take the story, where we can take the characters, how we can combine the characters in interesting ways. It was about the most fun creative exercise I’ve ever been through in my life.”
“Avengers: Infinity War” comes to theaters on April 27.