The actor was also joined by his younger brother to play a game of "Know Your Bro" on Monday's episode of 'The Tonight Show.'
Avengers: Endgamespoilers were hard to avoid, even for the film's cast.
Chris Evans revealed that he accidentally spoiled a pivotal moment in the Marvel film for co-star Anthony Mackie. In the film, Evans' Captain America handed off his shield to Mackie's character, Falcon.
The actor told Jimmy Fallon on Monday's episode of The Tonight Show that the script was very secretive, though he was given the scene for the moment between his and Mackie's characters.
"While we were filming in Atlanta, I had already read the scene. I had a few people over to watch a football game or something and Mackie was the first one to show up," he said. "I didn't know he didn't know what was gonna happen. And he showed up first and I said, 'Hey man, isn't that scene fantastic?' and he said, 'What scene?' And I said, 'The scene when I give you the shield.' And he said, 'You're giving me the shield?'"
Once Evans realized that Mackie had not yet read the scene, he found a copy of the script for him to read. "I got to watch him read the scene for the first time where he's getting the shield and he was so happy and you immediately feel like, 'Man, maybe I robbed this moment from...maybe Kevin Feige deserved this,'" he said of Marvel's president.
"It was so nice to share it with him. He was so happy and so deserving," Evans continued. "It was a nice way to kind of have, just between us, the transition of characters. It was great."
Mackie previously opened up about how he learned about the scene in May.
"We were at his house and he goes, 'You excited?' And I go, 'What are you talking about?' and he goes, 'You don't know?' He jumps up, runs out of the room and comes back in with the script," Mackie said in an interview with IMDb. "We cried. We drank. We laughed. I am very happy I got that moment with Chris, for him to not only pass me the shield, but to tell me it was happening."
Evans was also joined by his brother Scott during the appearance to play a game of "Know Your Bro."
Fallon explained that one brother would wear noise-canceling headphones while the other answered questions. The brother wearing the headphones would then answer the same question to see if their stories matched.
Chris kicked offthe game by saying which career Scott would pursue if he was not an actor. The older Evans brother said that Scott would do police work because he loves detective shows and murder scenes.
When Scott was asked the same question, he revealed that he would be a homicide detective or criminologist because he's "so into murder in not a creepy way."
Scott was next asked to reveal something that Chris did growing up that his parents never found out about. The younger brother shared that Chris pushed him into a coffee table when he was about 8 years old. "I cracked my head open. I ended up getting four stitches, but I remember he pushed me against the table," he recalled. "I had already cracked my head open once and I was like, 'No blood. No blood. No blood.' And my hand, it was like a murder scene."
"Chris was like, 'Please don't tell.' And I just said that I fell and I got stitches," he continued. "Mom, he pushed me."
Chris was then asked the same question. He began to tell a story about when he made Scott cut school and they "went and did a lot of bad things," though he was later told that Scott shared the story about Chris pushing Scott into the coffee table. Chris responded, "That was between us."
For the final round, Chris was asked to share Scott's most embarrassing childhood memory. After he shared that Scott had "bowel control issues" when he was younger, Chris said that a 5-year-old Scott pooped his pants while skiing on a family trip.
Chris recalled that his father cleaned Scott up before they returned to skiing, though Scott pooped his pants again. Following Scott's second accident, their father went to go get the car and the kids waited in the lodge. "He starts crying, saying it's gonna happen and me and my sister are like, 'Just hang on,'" he said. "He didn't make it."
After Scott took off his headphones, he said that his most embarrassing childhood memory was when he was driving home with his siblings and he had to go to the bathroom. "I begged my sister to pull over because I really had to go. She was like, 'Where are you going to go?' And I was like, 'On the street,'" he said. "She wouldn't pull over and I went in my pants."
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, if you still haven’t seen it.
Let’s take a break from debating Martin Scorsese’s latest and most eloquent appraisal of Marvel movies to talk about…Marvel movies. The same day the legendary filmmaker penned a sober yet impassioned op-ed in The New York Times about what comic book films have done to Hollywood, one of the MCU’s best and brightest — former Captain America Chris Evans — was on The Tonight Show, casually and obliviously telling Jimmy Fallon about that time he spoiled the ending of Avengers: Endgame for co-star Anthony Mackie.
[email protected] accidentally spoiled the ending of #AvengersEndgame for Anthony Mackie. More with @ChrisEvans on #FallonTonight! pic.twitter.com/qg7xjC1Ixc
— Fallon Tonight @FallonTonight November 5, 2019
As picked up by Entertainment Weekly, Evans admitted he’s arguably worse than fellow Avenger Mark Ruffalo, who famously blurted out the ending of Avengers: Infinity War a year before its release. Granted, he didn’t ruin all of it — just the bit where Cap bequeaths Mackie’s Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, his shield.
“While we were filming in Atlanta, I had a few people over to watch football or something, and Mackie was the first one to show up,” Evans told Fallon and crowd. “I didn’t know he didn’t know what was going to happen. I say, ‘Hey, man, isn’t that scene fantastic?’ and he said, ‘What scene?’ And I said, ‘The scene where I give you the shield!’ And he said, ‘You’re giving me the shield?’
“And I said ‘Oh no,’ so I ran to my room and I got the scene and gave it to him, and I got to watch him read the scene for the first time where he’s getting the shield,” Evans said. “And he was so happy and you immediately feel like, ‘Man, maybe I robbed this moment, maybe [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige deserved this.’ But it was so nice to share it with him. He was so happy and so deserving. It was a nice way to have — just between us — the transition of characters.”
Hey, at least Evans didn’t ruin a presumably even twistier film, Rian Johnson’s forthcoming murder mystery Knives Out, in which he plays what looks like a super-smarmy trust fund kid.
Which DC Comics villain did Cardi B dress as for Halloween? Who is the latest Arrow cast member returning for the final season of the show? Which Marvel movie star doesn’t know that they’re supposed to be in the animated What If? series? Want to go behind the scenes of the Avengers: Damage Control VR experience? Want to listen to the first episode of the official Watchmen podcast? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.
That girl is Poison. pic.twitter.com/IQdNErF3G8
— iamcardib @iamcardib November 1, 2019
Cardi B posted this rather provocative Halloween costume where she’s dressed up as Batman villain Poison Ivy.
Supergirl star David Harewood denied rumors of Martian Manhunter joining DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
The new Marvel and Stitcher podcast collaboration Marvels released a trailer before its November 20 debut.
Paul Blackthorne is returning for several episodes as Quentin Lance for the final season of The CW’s Arrow .
— Ryan Reynolds @VancityReynolds November 1, 2019
Ryan Reynolds was shocked by this kid’s impressive Deadpool costume that he wore for this Halloween.
Michael Douglas apparently has no idea he’s supposed to voice Hank Pym in Marvel’s What If series.
Some more random BTS pics from the movie. This first one was from our makeup test before we started shooting. I have LOTS more and will post soon as people seem to be digging them. #Joker is everywhere. Again, thanks for ALL the messages. Very touching. All ? @nikotavernise.
A post shared by Todd Phillips @toddphillips1 on Nov 3, 2019 at 4:22pm PST
Todd Phillips posted another batch of behind the scenes photos with Joaquin Phoenix from the set of Joker.
According to one of the VFX artists on Zack Snyder‘s Justice League, many of the VFX shots were completed.
Continue Reading Superhero Bits
Due to the amount of graphics and images included in Superhero Bits, we have to split this post over THREE pages. Click the link above to continue to the next page of Superhero Bits.
Disney presented panels on Frozen 2 and Avengers: Endgame at The Contenders Los Angeles today. Both sets of filmmakers spoke to the secret ingredients that make each franchise such a success. First, Frozen II producer Peter Del Vecho spoke about what makes Anna and Elsa the perfect pair of princesses.
“Anna is very much a fairy tale character,” he said. “Elsa's actually a mythic character. She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and does things others can't do. Unlike the first film, where they were kept apart for most of the movie, this time Anna's right there by her side. But there are parts Elsa has to do alone.”
Frozen 2 picks up three years after the first movie and has seven new songs. Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez write the songs as the story develops. There's never a song just for the sake of a song.
“We meet with them every day,” Del Vecho said. “In the beginning we don't even talk songs. It's all about character. As the story evolves, there's a back and forth between script and songs. Oftentimes the songs evolved and change or the story evolves and change, one or the other.”
Some new characters join Anna and Elsa in Frozen 2 and some previously seen characters get bigger roles.
“Evan Rachel Wood plays Anna and Elsa's mother, who had an appearance in the first movie but we didn't know much about her,” Del Vecho said. “Like a lot of mothers, she imparts a lot of wisdom they use later in life. Evan Rachel Wood has that perfect voice that sits right in between Anna and Elsa's voice, so it sounds naturally like their mother.”
Markus, left and McFeely Shutterstock
Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely credited Marvel producer Kevin Feige with the secret ingredients that made the 22-film Marvel Cinematic Universe such a success. Avengers: Endgame has become the highest-grossing movie of all time, and the writers discussed some of the ingredients within the film.
“You can think of genre as an amplifier for a small human story,” Markus said. “We want to tell these little stories about people. You can tell a tiny story about a dad and a daughter, and it has a certain amount of mileage. The dad puts on an iron suit and the range of not only eyes and ears you can reach goes up exponentially, but the stresses you can put those stories under.”
The Contenders Los Angeles: Deadline's Complete Coverage
One secret ingredient was established in the original 2008 Iron Man, when Tony Stark Robert Downey Jr. confesses his secret identity. The MCU films that followed no longer had to deal with secret identities, though Spider-Man still keeps Peter Parker Tom Holland under a mask in the Sony films.
“Think about the storytelling that allowed them,” McFeely said. “If they had decided to keep the idea that we had to keep that secret, now you're telling certain types of stories.”
McFeely estimated that one-third of a superhero film could be devoted to protecting a secret identity, and Marvel can devote that third to other stories. The other major ingredient dates back to Stan Lee's comics.
“We often think that the character's flaw is their strength,” McFeely said. “[ Captain America's] Steve Rogers, for example — he's the guy that can do this all day. He is absolutely fixed in his opinion. He's Gary Cooper in many ways, but that gets him in trouble. He won't bend. He will sacrifice himself.”
Frozen II is out November 22, and Avengers: Endgame is now on home video.
“It's Almost Hard To Comprehend”: Casting Director Sarah Halley Finn On Success Of 'Avengers: Endgame' — The Contenders London
On the November 1, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film senior writer Ben Pearson presents an oral history of Avengers: Endgame’s epic final battle.
In Our Feature Presentation:
‘Avengers: Endgame’ Final Battle Oral History: How the Biggest Scene in Comic Book Movie History Came Together
Other Articles Mentioned:
All the other stuff you need to know:
You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes. /Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com. You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the popular podcast apps RSS. Send your feedback, questions, comments and concerns to us at [email protected] Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention the e-mail on the air. Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, tell your friends and spread the word! Thanks to Sam Hume for our logo. Source: Slashfilm.com
As the narrative conclusion of 22 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame needed to end with a scene so large, it could contain the dozens of characters who’d been established by that point. The film’s colossal final battle fit the bill: it’s a gargantuan confrontation with Thanos and his alien armies on one side and Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and all of the surviving heroes on the other.
It’s such a spectacular clash that it instantly became the biggest comic book movie moment of all time. This is the oral history of how that epic scene – from the destruction of Avengers HQ all the way until Tony Stark’s devastating sacrifice – came together, as told by the people who helped shape it.
These interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were essentially filmed back to back, but writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were developing ideas for Endgame years before production began, back when they were still working on 2016’s Captain America: Civil War with eventual Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo. But Marvel Studios President and Endgame producer Kevin Feige had ideas about this scene long before that.
Trinh Tran Executive Producer: I think it’s always been a dream to make Infinity War and Endgame. It’s always been in Kevin’s mind that if we get lucky enough to get there, this is the story we want to tell. It’s not that it’s super detailed, that we knew every detail that was going to happen. We knew that Thanos was going to be the end point if we get there, and we’re teasing it throughout the way. We knew that we’re going to be closing the chapter to certain characters and that’s going to be paving the path for introducing new characters, so there’s certain elements that we knew early on, and it was about piecing it together.
Christopher Markus Co-Writer: In late 2015 when we were outlining both [Infinity War and Endgame], we had the idea that we were going to kill Thanos, then find old Thanos and he would come back to our time and wreak havoc. The nature of that havoc changed a few times…it was always sort of, “Hell comes to Avengers compound,” which has been a place of peace prior to this point. “You tried to save the world? It’s going to come right back here.”
Trinh Tran Executive Producer: I think in Kevin’s mindset, the dream is that everybody appears at the end, and they’re fighting against Thanos. I think that, overall, it was like, “That would be amazing, if we have every single hero that we’ve had, ever in the MCU, appear.” I think that’s the starting point, and from there, we built on in terms of OK, who disappeared from the previous movie so they can come back on. Who was interacting with who? We obviously don’t want it to be that they’re fighting for the sake of fighting. These characters have to have significance – why are they there in this position? So all that started getting laid out.
Jeff Ford Editor: The end battle in Endgame underwent a lot of changes over the course of writing. We actually didn’t photograph most of the end battle until 2018. We shot most of that sequence in October of 2018 with three units in Atlanta. It was a crazy month of crazy mo-cap. One of the reasons we didn’t shoot it during the initial production phase was the movie was evolving and Infinity War was evolving. We had two movies that were going to interact with each other and affect each other, but we didn’t want to repeat ourselves or get in the same rhythms, and we wanted to make sure that we delivered a unique final battle for the final battle. Which was ultimately the final battle for a few people. So what we did is we decided, let’s just punt on that one. Let’s get the rest of the movie together and see where we need to go. We knew where we were headed, and we had already shot Tony’s demise, and we had already shot the scene at the lake and the epilogue. We’d also shot Hawkeye in the tunnels and stuff like that – but we hadn’t done the big heavy lifting part. We also hadn’t figured out how they were coming out of those portals yet. We knew kind of what we were going to do, but that underwent a huge change and then the reshoot changed that significantly, and for the better.
“I Knew It!”
After Thanos Josh Brolin destroys Avengers HQ, Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. and Captain America Chris Evans join Thor Chris Hemsworth for a 3-on-1 fight on the destroyed ruins of the compound. When Iron Man is put out of commission and Thor is on the ropes, one of the movie’s most crowd-pleasing moments happens: Captain America picks up Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, proving once and for all that he’s worthy.
Stephen McFeely Co-Writer: It was a 3×5 card on the board early on. It was actually in the [outline] that we gave Marvel in the summer of 2015. “Cap picks up Thor’s hammer.” And it was like, “Yeah, we’re doing that somewhere.” I remember debating about whether we should see – I think we shot it both ways – you see Cap, he looks at Thor and Thor is so screwed, and then Cap looks over and he sees the hammer. Do you reveal it that way first? You could do it any number of ways.
Dan Laurie Supervising Sound Editor: Thor and Thanos have a big fight. Thor’s got his hammer, and that’s got a very distinctive noise – even though it was changed because there was lightning coming from the sky, they had to put sounds onto that. It’s evolving, because it’s different to the next film, so they had to do that. But then he’s fighting with Thanos, and Thanos had this double-edged blade thing that he fights with. I don’t know what it’s called. I don’t even think it had a name. But we’d have to have a distinctive noise for that, because we don’t want Thor’s hammer and that sounding the same. [The designer] recorded a load of metal hits and then stretched it out and then put it through a modulator to make it sound like it was spinning.
Christopher Markus Co-Writer: There was certainly a debate at one point because particularly in Ragnarok, it establishes that Thor can summon the lightning without the hammer. I think Odin even says, “It was never the hammer.” And yet Cap summons the lightning with the hammer. You get to those things and you’re like, “It’s too awesome not to do it! We’ll talk about it later.”
Alan Silvestri Composer: The thing that Joe and Anthony struggled with, and I think did a magnificent job of solving, was how high do we let the audience get knowing that we’re really going to pull the rug out? That moment when Cap gets the hammer, we were in Westwood on preview night the Thursday night before opening night. When that happened, that place stood on its feet and screamed. It was the biggest reaction in the movie. It was very tempting to give it all away [by using the full Avengers theme at that moment], but what we knew was, we’re about to destroy Cap little by little, and we want everybody to be right there, that this is hopeless because the real moment is the reuniting of all of the Marvel universe to help him. So that was one of those brilliant Joe and Anthony decisions. “No, don’t take it. Leave it over there. Resist.”
Trinh Tran Executive Producer: I remember how excited Chris [Evans] was. Obviously he’s read his scene and knew what was going to happen, but when you’re standing there holding it and lifting it up, it’s a pretty amazing feeling. I think the excitement on him was so captivating. I know there were certain moments – people portal-ing in, him holding the hammer – there are certain moments where they’re so excited, and having him lift it up was gratifying knowing that what we had teased in Ultron kind of came to an end in terms of, he really can lift it. I can’t describe it. I didn’t grow up reading comics, but I was geeking out over the fact that I got to see that.
Jeff Ford Editor: I cut the Avengers trying to pick up the hammer scene in Ultron, so I remember endless conversations with [ Avengers: Age of Ultron director] Joss [Whedon] about, “He’s going to be able to do it. Of course he can. He’s Cap!” But we didn’t want to give it away and we really wanted to tee that up, and I love that scene. I think seeing that realized is one of the pleasures of a long series like this, where you’ve really been with these characters for a long time, so when that happens, it’s not satisfying unless you buy it, and I buy it. Because Cap is that guy. And it’s not satisfying unless it makes sense for the moment in which it’s placed in the narrative that it’s in. You can’t just, “Oh, by the way, he picked up the hammer now.”
Matt Aitken Visual Effects Supervisor, WETA Digital: We just knew that was going to be a thing. When you see Mjolnir lifting up off the ground slowly, you know it’s not Thor, because he’s being dealt to by Thanos. It’s as much a surprise to him as it is to everybody else. But that shot where we whip-pan with the hammer and see Cap holding it, the crowd goes crazy at that point. We did three versions of that shot. The one that ended up in the film, there’s no lightning on Mjolnir, but we did a little bit of lightning and then a bit more lightning as well, and we presented them to the filmmakers and they were editorially able to play around with which one they went with.
Jeff Ford Editor: There were two takes that worked. We flopped back and forth for a minute, but for the most part, there’s a thing Evans does at the end of the take where he sets himself. It’s money…It’s a beautiful piece of choreography that he came up with. It was during a reshoot that we shot a bunch of lines from Thor for what he would say, but the best one was, “I knew it.” We had him on that rock and we were like, “Say this, and this, now this.” He had to catch a flight. We had one day where we had to get a lot of Hemsworth. We were sharing him with another show and it was a reshoot thing.
Stephen McFeely Co-Writer: He hurt his back, so we lost him for a while.
Jeff Ford Editor: So I remember it was like Hemsworth day. There were like five cameras set up, and he’d go from each camera and do a different piece of performance for a different part of the fight. He’s so great, he can do that. But he was awesome, he was such a trooper, and we shot all of his close-ups, because then we’d go back and work with a double. I’m wracking my brain, and I cannot remember what [Thor’s unused, alternate reactions] were.
Christopher Markus Co-Writer: They might have all been “I knew it,” just with different spins. The one that’s in the script is happy. I’m sure there was some jealousy, some resentment, some shock – it’s such a happy moment for the audience that I’m glad we went with the happy one for Thor, because he’s sort of the voice of the audience going, “Fuck yes!”
Jeff Ford Editor: It’s a great reversal in that fight, too, and we needed it there. I think it’s a great way to set that off. The thing that takes it home, again, is Silvestri’s score, which is a quote from the Cap score right there.
The Cavalry Arrives
Captain America stands alone against Thanos and his hordes of soldiers on the battlefield, and all seems lost. But suddenly he receives a message from Falcon Anthony Mackie in his earpiece, and as he turns around, portals begin to open, and we see the return of every Marvel hero who had been dusted by Thanos in Infinity War.
Stephen McFeely Co-Writer: The first draft looked one way…Some of it’s the same. The ship appears. Kaboom. Creates a new battlefield, that was a big part of it. They get separated. In the first version, they were all together, because we hadn’t quite cracked it.
Christopher Markus Co-Writer: And everyone came back immediately. There wasn’t that cavalry moment. They all came back when [Hulk] snapped. On a storytelling level, it really just killed the momentum of the movie.
Jeff Ford Editor: In the original version, the portaling was pretty much as scripted, but it happened very quickly. It also happened in a way that was happening sort of around Cap. The conceptual change that we made was that Cap would experience that and we’d see it from his point of view. So the idea of hearing Falcon come out, and it starts, and he turns, and we thought, “Who’s going to walk out of there that’s going to be the most significant person? When that battle is joined, who do you want to walk out of there?” And it’s like, “Oh, it’s Okoye, Shuri, and Panther.” So that idea was something that kind of evolved as we were talking about the sequence, and we designed a way to do that, that then demanded we do, “Well, wait a minute, now it’s a cascade of all these other portals from other places.” And we had to very carefully modulate who it would be, knowing that when Cap sees Spidey, those are character connections that make sense from the earlier stories, but also, it’s what the audience is also keying on. It keeps happening and keeps happening.
Stephen McFeely Co-Writer: We shot it a couple of times. The first time, it was quicker. It was very powerful, and I would say exciting, like, “Holy crap, they’re back!” And the music was at a 10 early, and you zipped around. I liked it a lot, but Joe and Anthony were absolutely right to reshoot it, because everybody didn’t get their hero shot. Classic old-school Hollywood filmmaking where people step into the shot and the crowd goes, “That guy’s back!” and you love him for, like, five seconds. That’s what it is now.
Christopher Markus Co-Writer: You get caught up in the logic of it and you go, “Well, they’re going to have to come back and they’re going to have to spend some time talking about what the hell has been going on, so we’ll need a time cut…” It was only eventually when it occurred to us that you could say that somehow Strange had held a little seminar prior.
Stephen McFeely Co-Writer: Or that you could separate [Hulk’s snap] from seeing them. They didn’t have to be right on top of each other. That gap of, what turned out to be like twenty minutes, was super helpful.
Jeff Ford Editor: Originally they came through several [portals], but they opened continuously at once. In other words, there wasn’t one, and then another, and then another. So the staging in of that process wasn’t the way it was originally envisioned. And Cap was just standing there as this happened. The audience saw it, but he didn’t turn around and go, “Oh my God.” I think Evans – I remember the day we shot that, I was standing right next to him when we were shooting that scene where Evans sees it, and he’s playing just his POV of Panther where he nods. I literally was tearing up and saying, “Chris, this is amazing.” That’s why I love Evans: he will bring it, and he’ll bring it in a way that’s on a performance level that’s higher than you ever expected, and it’s really complex. He’s such a minimal actor, too. He doesn’t do a lot, but when he does it, it’s just so affecting. He did that, and it blew my mind. I’m like, “I’m using that. I know the piece I’m using, I know exactly what I’m using before I go back to the cutting room.” The nod.
Stephen McFeely Co-Writer: So it takes a while, which means you needed a big piece of score that took a while from Silvestri, which meant you couldn’t start it at 10. It was so fascinating. I can’t remember how many versions he did, he certainly did more than one, but [when the] one finally came in, you go, “Oh, OK this works now.” It took so long for everybody to get on the same page.
Sarah Finn Casting Director: An Academy Award should go to the producer, who had to get everybody on set and match up all their schedules.
Trinh Tran Executive Producer: I didn’t think it was possible. Here’s the thing: we had an amazing crew. Our line producer was amazing and able to logistically make it happen and got everybody there. Scheduling was pretty difficult because obviously they had other projects that they were working on. If you really look at it, there are certain scenes where we would have a double for the back of their head because we couldn’t get so-and-so on that set on that particular day. There are two instances where we actually did get everybody. That’s the wedding scene – you know what I’m talking about and we, until this day, are still calling [the funeral] the wedding scene – that’s that one shot with everybody there. That was spectacular. And then second one was when all the heroes portaled in. It was such an incredible feeling to stand there and watch every single one of them in their hero costumes walking out of that. I think, by far, that was the most crew we had.
Matt Aitken Visual Effects Supervisor, WETA Digital: We really just see Titan really clearly in one of the portal shots, but it’s a key shot because we have Drax and Mantis and Strange and we see Quill turn up, and everybody’s waiting to see Spidey, because everybody was devastated by Spidey’s blip at the end of Infinity War…you know people are recognizing Titan, they see Strange and Drax and Mantis, and they think, ‘Ah, this is potentially where Spidey’s going to come.’ And they see Quill, and they go, ‘Oh my God, there’s only one person missing from Titan now,’ and you see him start to web in in the background, and the crowd just goes crazy at that point. It’s just amazing. The payoff is huge. But getting everybody together for that one was tricky. We had Drax and Mantis together, we got the two of them. Strange was necessarily on a different plate because he’s floating, so he shot separately on a green screen. Chris Pratt wasn’t available on that day, so we picked him up later on with a separate motion control green screen element. And Tom Holland for Spidey had to be another day again, so there’s actually four different plates for that one shot.
Sarah Finn Casting Director: Looking at it just from the breadth and the scope of actors and talent that’s coming together and characters that the audience has come to know and love, I think that is one of the great moments in movie history, when everybody comes bursting through. I’m all about the characters and the actors, and I think that from an audience standpoint, to have had the time to get to know these characters and connect with them, and then to suddenly see them uniting forces, all of our central characters – Captain America, Thor, Star-Lord – but then the whole scope of the Marvel universe and the caliber of talent. I think we have 19 Oscar winners and 28 nominees on screen together. To take a moment and realize it’s this exciting, action-packed moment, but the level of talent that’s acting out this battle is also something that’s very uncommon and very special.
Trinh Tran Executive Producer: I’m not kidding you, everybody was geeking out over everybody else. It wasn’t like, “Oh, you’re in a Star-Lord costume, or you’re in a Black Panther costume.” It was, “Oh my God, I’m standing [next to you!]” It’s funny because you think our talent is so used to that, but they were absolutely feeling the same way that I or you or anybody was feeling on that day, because they were seeing each other in that costume, but you’re seeing everybody from the last decade, from Tony Stark to Thor to Captain Marvel. So it was a pretty amazing feeling.
Matt Aitken Visual Effects Supervisor, WETA Digital: [Howard the Duck] ended up not featuring in the end battle, but very late in the day – and I think it might have come from Kevin Feige, actually – we got the note that if there was a chance, to get Howard the Duck in. There was this one little gap when the Ravagers were coming out of Contraxia where there was room to drop him in, and he wouldn’t be too obvious, which is good. It was the way they wanted to play it. It would involve us essentially building and rigging and shading and prepping a hero digital character for one tiny little beat. I’ve counted, he’s actually in eighteen frames of the film. So it’s not like a huge presence. That’s a lot of work for a small amount of time. But we were so delighted to be able to do that, and what we heard that when we sent the shot through and it was reviewed in the screening room at Marvel with the filmmakers, they were all clapping and cheering to see Howard.
Christopher Markus Co-Writer: I remember there was one with temp score where, totally unintentionally on peoples’ part, but because the Wakandans come out, and they kind of come out of a sunny haze and they do it slowly, and the music was sort of ethereal and semi-somber, it seemed like Cap was going to heaven. Like he was about to be killed, and then it went “La la la la,” and they were like, “No! Come.” My head goes to the wrong place there.
Jeff Ford Editor: I worked on that portal sequence, off and on, for nine months. Probably a little bit every day for those nine months.
Matt Aitken Visual Effects Supervisor, WETA Digital: The way the portal sequence plays out is immensely satisfying. The way it was written and conceived by the filmmakers, I knew it had the potential to be an amazing sequence within the film. People say it’s the most emotional moment of the whole film for a lot of people, I think. And I didn’t want bad visual effects to detract from that. So we put a lot of effort into making that stuff work really, really well. All those environments are full 3D CG environments so that they track with the moving cameras incredibly accurately. We wanted it to look beautiful as well, you know? This is a glorious moment. We’ve got these giant portals, there’s sparks drifting around, there’s nice color complexity in the shots. So yeah, I definitely didn’t want to make a mess of it, and I think it worked out OK, and it’s had a fantastic reaction from the audience both times I’ve seen it, so it’s been wonderful.
With the entire roster of surviving MCU heroes lined up, the camera travels down the line of characters in what co-writer Stephen McFeely described as “the biggest oner scene in the history of the Avengers.” The camera stops on Captain America as he catches Thor’s hammer and, as an inspirational battle cry, finally says the two words fans have been waiting to hear.
Jeff Ford Editor: We also realized, “Where do we put the Avengers theme break? We know we’re going to play that theme – where does it happen?” We tried a million different ways to do it, and then we realized it ain’t gonna happen until [Cap] says “Assemble.” Once we figured that out, musically we knew that Alan Silvestri would write us this incredible thing that contained all of that emotion, because there’s the emotional, and then there’s the visceral, and the visceral comes after Cap says go, which is “Assemble.” So once we figured out that structure, we were just giddy, because it all came to life.
Alan Silvestri Composer: The Avengers theme, because of how it was received in the original Avengers, just became this kind of golden asset that just sat there. It’s tempting to just go, “Use some of that.” Joe and Anthony were very mindful of the fact that if they abused that, then it wouldn’t be there for them when they really needed it. [The “Avengers assemble” moment] was amazing because we’re building with the portals theme. It’s a new theme, it’s this anthemic, kind of, “Here we go” [track]. And then we’re using that part of the Avengers theme, that “duh-duh…duh-duh,” which we saw when Hulk was coming up in the original Avengers, so we know, “OK, they know what comes after that,” and we’re just winding it up. When Cap gets the hammer [in that oner shot], we stop, and he says the line in silence. Then it’s like lights go on at a surprise party. The Avengers just can’t get there fast enough! And we thought, “Everybody’s earned that tune now.”
Trinh Tran Executive Producer: I think that was Kevin’s highlight of all time. To be able to finally put those two words together and have him actually say it. We could have been happy if it ended there, you know? We knew that we wanted that to happen in Endgame, and it was trying to find, obviously, the right moment, and what other right moment than when everybody’s standing behind you and they’re ready to go? But I do vividly remember him: it was all green screen, all the characters were standing there, and Chris Evans was holding that, and when he actually first said it, I think it was silence before they all started charging, and we all felt that energy, that surge of “this is happening. We’re going for it!”
Christopher Markus Co-Writer: [It was satisfying] to get that [line] into a movie and have it literally be at a point of assembly, because it’s an odd battle cry when you’re all together. But also to sync it up with the hammer catch and the way Evans undercuts it.
Stephen McFeely Co-Writer: That’s Joe, Anthony, and Chris blocking and rehearsing on the day and deciding the best version of it.
Trinh Tran Executive Producer: I wish I were able to actually read [Kevin’s] mind, because I remember him being there – he specifically flew in for the portal opening moment in Atlanta. I remember him talking to me afterwards and he said, “That was the best moment I ever felt.” We all got chills, because when [Cap] uttered those words, those are what we’ve been wanting to hear for over a decade.
Clash of the Titans
With the battle cry uttered, the two sides begin to run at each other. It’s like a massive comic book splash page come to life. And then the full-scale battle begins.
Dan Laurie Supervising Sound Editor: The final battle, the real challenge there is that someone told me we had 36 different characters in that scene, all with individual sound design, all doing something different. So that sound design has evolved from the last film they were in. It was a massive challenge to keep that going, put unique sounds on them, and be in the middle of a battle with people running around, with this fantastic music. The challenge there was to keep the story going, to understand what people are saying, not be too loud, because we’re always very careful – I can’t stand stuff that’s too loud. We don’t want to exhaust the audience in these massive battle scenes.
Alan Silvestri Composer: There are some basic physics going on acoustically. The ears, if they are overly assaulted, will literally shut down as a survival mechanism. So what happens is, if you don’t find a way to give the audience’s ears a rest – especially in a challenging acoustic environment like that – they’ll shut down. Then, no matter what you do, they won’t open back up in time. So we were very aware of the fact that we have to drive this as hard as we could and make it as exciting as we could, but when there was an opportunity to take our foot off the gas, we were very clear about embracing that. We didn’t want to beat the audience up. It wouldn’t help.
Matt Aitken Visual Effects Supervisor, WETA Digital: The environment underwent a big change after the plates for the battle were filmed…they were shooting on multiple stages with multiple units running at the same time. We have the Avengers compound, which is on the banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York with woods around it. So the environment would be a combination of destroyed built environment, with certainly dirt, a lot of rubble and building elements, but also some busted trees and tree stumps and burnt out trees. But when it was all cut together and assembled in a rough cut with pre-vis, those tree stumps that they’d dressed the sets with became a bit more prevalent than they had anticipated and wanted the scene to look like. Because it sort of read more like they were fighting in the ruins of a bombed out forest rather than the ruins of a bombed out Avengers compound. So for a majority of the sequences, we actually ended up roto-ing the characters off the environment and replacing the environment with a fully CG bombed out crater.
Jeff Ford Editor: We didn’t really shuffle it around a lot. I remember we did have a much more elaborate sequence with [Thanos’s henchman, Ebony] Maw. His battle with Panther was longer. I remember we took it down because when they come through the portals, they kind of introduce all these characters into the story that haven’t been in the movie yet…Panther and Maw felt like, that’s not the story that we’re tracking, so maybe we reduce that stuff. We ended up making sure we had a cool shot of Panther, but it was like, “Let’s make sure that every moment we engage in that section needs to lead us to that final confrontation with Tony and Thanos.” So there were a few things we reduced there for that reason.
Matt Aitken Visual Effects Supervisor, WETA Digital: At one point, there were going to be – potentially dark elves were going to show up, they didn’t make an appearance. But the guys who are new are particularly the Chitauri gorillas. We see the Chitauri leading them out by chains and then they set them free. These are not quite King Kong sized, but yeah, giant gorilla-ish, alien gorilla creatures who are a formidable force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
Sarah Finn Casting Director: For a lot of those characters, there’s physical work that goes into it, from art department to stunt departments. There are different abilities that we’re looking for, for the actors to bring them to life. For the Black Order, there were acting abilities that were required, even for the non-speaking roles. For example, Terry Notary is an incredible actor. You’ve seen him in The Square, and we were lucky to have him playing one of the roles in that as well. Josh Brolin had not done motion capture before, and he had a ball. I saw him a little bit on set, and he had a stick coming out of his head that everyone could talk to. He completely understood the character, and there was something about having this physical element that was an extension of himself that I think actually enhanced his performance. He’s an amazing actor, but I think he understood the scope, the dimension, of Thanos in a way, from physicalizing it and from working with the process that was used to create what you see on screen.
Dan Laurie Supervising Sound Editor: They used a lot of sounds from Ant-Man. They used some of the magic stuff from Doctor Strange. They recorded practical effects with plates smashing, and…you know when you put them on a stick and it makes a sort of whirring noise? They used stuff like that. They have a lot of fun going out and recording on their recording trips that they do. So that was pretty unique for that.
Alan Silvestri Composer: When Tony and Thor have their “Shakespeare in the Park” moment [in 2012’s The Avengers], we had a piece of thematic material that played the clash of the titans – it really wasn’t Tony’s theme or Thor’s theme, but it was now part of the Avengers lexicon of thematic battle moments. So a lot of what we did in [the final battle of Endgame] is that we were able to define specific beats and then we were able to, in some cases, bring back one of our classic Avengers moments and use that as a way to define some of these things so it would not just be this amorphous, “What’s everybody doing here?”
Jeff Ford Editor: There was also an additional joke where Rudd and Evangeline were in the van and they’re trying to hot-wire it, and he twists a couple of wires, and the radio comes on and it plays that Partridge Family song from Ant-Man and the Wasp that he was into. The Outriders go [imitates their heads popping up]. I always thought it was funny that the Outriders heard the Partridge Family, and they start coming at the van and he’s like “Aww, I’m sorry!” It was funny because he kinda blew it, and then of course they shrink and hide, but we had one shot where the Outrider was peeking in the window and the Partridge Family was playing, and I thought that was pretty cool. But we didn’t need the extra loop on him. So that was a lift. But very little came out of it. Also, that’s an incredibly expensive sequence. We had to shoot and make exactly what we needed, because everything in that sequence is incredibly difficult CG heavy lifting. We would have never made it if we weren’t really, really rigorous about what we wanted.
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