Last year, Marvel wiped out more than half of their roster with “Avengers: Infinity War,” and will catch up with the remaining heroes on April 26 in “Avengers: Endgame.” Prior to the films release (and while keeping a tight lid on virtually all plot points), the directors Joe and Anthony Russo, executive producer Kevin Feige, and the remaining cast–Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Karen Gillan, Dinai Gurira, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd and Mark Ruffalo–gathered in Downtown LA to talk about the film. The panel was moderated by Jon Favreau, whose Happy will return in “Endgame” after a long absence from the franchise.
Presumable in order to minimize the chance of inadvertent spoilers, lest the cast get too comfy, questions primarily came from Favreau and were targeted at one person.
The conversation began with Downey’s thoughts on how the franchise had exploded and evolved since he first suited up as Iron Man in 2008.
Downey: “As we had those many discussions in the high desert shooting [Iron Man], I’m reminded now that I was talking a lot of smack saying ‘Wait ’til 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, usual gobbledygook– I just wanted to not drop the ball…. To me it’s just the coolest relay race in the history of entertainment, for my money.”
Kevin Feige chimed in how the MCU has grown in popularity, and what makes the series so special for so many fans.
Feige: “What’s special is all the actors on this stage, all the actors that are not on this stage, and the family that has come together in this decade plus. And the fact that–Robert says it so well in the trailer–part of the journey is the end and about four or five years ago we all started talking about … what haven’t we seen in films based on comic characters? We haven’t seen an ending. A definitive conclusion to an overall saga. So that is why it’s called “Endgame” and why it is very, very, very special.”
Anthony Russo discussed how he and his brother have guided the series, having directed four of the films.
Russo: “One of our favorite storytelling adages is ‘write yourself into a corner.’ What we take that to mean is, put yourself into a place on a narrative level where you have no idea how you could possibly move forward from here. And I think that’s a very exciting place to be, and it forces you to come up with some really creative ways forward. We’ve tried to do that with the end of every Marvel movie we’ve done, never more so than “Infinity War.” We are very committed to the ending of that movie, we think that stories lose their meaning and relevancy and resonance unless there are real stakes.”
Scarlett Johansson delved into the arc of Natasha Romanoff and Black Widow.
Johansson: “Initially, the character really started as a sort of sexy secretary with a skill set on the side, and I didn’t know how the audience would react to the character, my interpretation of the character, obviously a very beloved character for a long time. The next time we saw her in “Avengers” she was sort of ‘one of the boys’ for better or worse, and that made sense then, and as the fans and the audiences have really pushed, certainly Marvel, but all filmmakers and studios to really throw up on the screen what’s going on in the zeitgeist… the character has sort of grown in reaction to that and the movies have really grown in reaction to that fan encouragement.”
“Avengers: Endgame” comes to theaters on April 26.