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‘Avengers: Endgame’ – How the Russo Brothers craft the end of an era

by Tiffany Mink

After 22 years in the making, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has all come down to this. The plot of “Avengers: Endgame” has become one of Hollywood’s biggest secrets, and at the helm are directing duo, Anthony and Joe Russo.

endgame

The brothers left audiences in awe with their dusting at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War” – so where do you go from there?

“One of our favorite storytelling adages is ‘write yourself into a corner’,” said Anthony Russo. “Put yourself in a place on a narrative level where you have no idea how you could possibly move forward from here. And that’s a very exciting place to be.”

Captain America and Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame

Exciting doesn’t even begin to describe the energy around “Endgame”. Reports show the film has sold five times as many tickets as “Avengers: Infinity War” in its first week of sales, weeks before it even hits theaters.

Losing the majority of our heroes, including more recent characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man, took everyone by surprise and the Russos say they are committed to that ending.  

“We think that stories lose their meaning and relevancy and resonance unless there are real stakes,” Anthony Russo said. “For us, the story is very much about how do these heroes deal with loss, resounding loss, true loss, devastating loss. How does a hero move forward from that moment? And our road into this story is how is everybody on an individual level dealing with that experience and then how do they collectively deal with it?”

Thor in Avengers: Endgame

The entity of the MCU as a whole is fairly unprecedented in and of itself, as 11 franchises have been woven into one larger narrative. Joe Russo considers the task of ending it all to be a unique experiment in movies.

“We get the opportunity to finish off one of the grandest experiments in movie history and bring it to, as Kevin [Feige] said, an epic conclusion. So what we’re hoping for is that people feel satisfied with the conclusion,” said Joe.

Joe Russo at the Avengers: Endgame press junket

A conclusion that is shrouded in mystery. Much like “Infinity War”,  the cast has continued to reveal they have filmed numerous endings or scenes. Even the Russo brothers suggest that the footage we’ve seen in the “Endgame” trailers could all be fake (it has been done before).

But when you are working on what could be the biggest movie of all time, how does that secrecy impact the work? The concept of feedback is practically eliminated.

“At the end of the day, my brother and I, we came to this material because we’re fans,” said Anthony Russo. “The energy we move on is our own passion and our own excitement. We learned long ago that you have to tell stories for yourself. Once we conceive the film and start executing, we’re not really second-guessing what we’re doing.”

Anthony Russo at the film's press junket.

“[…] and once the film is complete and we put it out into the world, we really have no idea how it is going to be received.”

As opening weekend approaches, the Russo brothers, along with Marvel and Disney, have started a #DontSpoilTheEndgame movement to keep spoilers at bay so everyone can have the same movie experience.

Despite only being the Russos’ third film in the MCU, “Infinity War” did the impossible. Audiences got a film that beautifully aligned several stories, top talent, and set the highest stakes seen since the first “Avengers” film. It has resulted in dozens, if not hundreds, of fan theories about what we could see unfold in “Endgame” and the conversation online is the loudest it’s ever been for the genre. Needless to say, the Russos have a lot riding on this one.

“Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters nationwide on April 26th. Tickets are on sale now. Check out the latest trailer below:

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame | “To the End”


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