AVENGERS: ENDGAME Directors Talk Falcon As Captain America, Loki's New Timeline, The Multiverse, And More

In a new series of interviews, Joe and Anthony Russo discuss Thanos' failed plan, time-travel confusion, Gamora's future in the MCU, what comes next for Captain America, Loki's new timeline, and much more!

Avengers: Endgame is the biggest superhero movie of all-time and well on its way to becoming the highest grossing release in box office history. With the spoiler embargo officially lifted, directors Joe and Anthony Russo continue to do the rounds to answer every lingering question we have, and plenty of them are addressed in these latest interview excerpts. 

From the moment A-Force assembles to a very different role for Black Widow, why we didn't see normal people return from the dead, Captain America's worthiness, and The Falcon's new role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if you're still wondering about certain creative decisions, you'll find everything you need to know in this spoiler-filled breakdown.

So, to check out these latest Avengers: Endgame details from the Russo Brothers, all you guys have to do is click on the "View List" button below to check out everything they've had to say.

Why Thanos Failed

As Avengers: Endgame progresses, it quickly becomes clear that Thanos' plan was a failure. Wiping out half of all life didn't create a utopia and the drop in population only really set Earth back by half a century (meaning today's problems would resurface somewhere down the line). 

"Thanos is an egomaniac," Joe explains when that predicament was put to him and the impact it had on how Thanos' story plays out. "He was rejected in his youth when he presented a solution to his home planet and he lost it and probably lost a lot of people he cared about. So years later, he has processed his grief in a way that has convinced him that this is a really good idea."
"He's smart enough to know logically that it's like resetting planets like Earth back 50 years. But I think his hope was that the pain of what he had done would teach them to appreciate the resources moving forward. And by the end of the movie, he gets to the point where he's like, "I should have just wiped it all out and started over."

A-Force Assemble

"The number of ideas that we want to put into these movies is always far greater than the space available to realize them," the filmmakers explain when asked just how long they were planning to have a group of female superheroes assemble during the final battle with the Mad Titan.

"That's one of the ideas that stayed with us for a long time, and maybe we had tried different versions of it here and there throughout the story, and this was the particular, specific version of it that ended up working for the narrative."

A Different, Far More Personal Role For Black Widow

Black Widow met her maker in Avengers: Endgame and as upset as fans have been by this, it felt like a pretty logical way to end her story. Now, Anthony has revealed that he and Joe were originally planning to give the hero a very different role as she dealt with the fallout from the Mad Titan's attack.
"One thing that we talked about a lot—and I thought was really profound, but it was almost too large of an idea for us to wrangle, but we did try for a while—is just the idea that one-quarter of all children have no parents. Assuming you started with two parents. So that’s a lot of global orphans. Just the staggering number of that. I believe at one point really early in development, Black Widow was actually leading the organization in D.C. that was in charge of orphans, basically. That was what she was heading up five years later. But yes, it’s fascinating when you start running it down."


Was Iron Man Right?

When Iron Man returns to Earth, he wastes no time in making his grievances with Captain America known, and while much of what he says is clearly a result of the trauma he's been through, the Russo's say that this was a way of showing that his stance in Civil War may have been the correct one - to an "extent," at least.

"He was not wrong that there was a great threat coming, and they needed to build a suit of armor around the world, and at what point do civil liberties trump—no pun intended—do civil liberties come before the government’s ability to protect its citizens?" Joe asks.
"I think what’s interesting is that to some extent, they had to go through this. There was a sense of destiny to this. They had to go through it to win it. And in a way both he and Cap were right."

Why We Didn't See Normal People Return From The Dead

Something we never see in Avengers: Endgame is how normal people react to the dead returning. So, why was that not included?  "Well, when we see those things in movies, I just feel like I disconnect from them, because I don’t know those people," Joe says. "And so we always try to find a way to tell that story through the characters that we have and that we care about."
"And as directors, we’d rather direct a scene between Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner than with Extra 4 and Extra 5," He concludes, fully justifying this decision. 

Stan Lee's Legacy


"Stan was a ball of energy—very entertaining. He had the same joke every time he came to the set, which was, 'Why do I only get one line?'" Joe recalled of the late, great comic book creator.
"The first time we’d ever worked with him was on Winter Soldier," Anthony added. "He showed up just cracking jokes, talking to everybody, shaking hands. To see everybody light up — when Stan was doing these cameos, there were always twice as many people on set. Everybody wanted to be there — we were in awe of him."

Time-Travel Confusion

For weeks now, fans have been debating the mechanics of time-travel in Avengers: Endgame and the filmmakers have once again attempted to explain how they perceive it. "Here’s the most important thing about time travel: It doesn’t exist," Anthony joked.

"According by the rules of the movie, as stated by the Hulk and by The Ancient One, we go to great pains to tell you that Back to the Future is bullshit," Joe added.
"If you’re trying to change the rules of time travel in a movie, unless you are super clear and point out that these are not the rules from Back to the Future, people just won’t understand it. We learned about this after three test screenings. We had to go back and add in more jokes about Back to the Future so that people would take our multiverse theory seriously."

Explaining The Multiverse

"The Hulk says if you’re in the present and you go back to the past, you cannot affect the present because it has already occurred. That now becomes your past. Right?," said Joe Russo. "And if you’re [currently] in the past, this is now your present. And anything you do in that time shift would create a multiverse reality. It will create a new future, but it’s not going to affect your past."
“But to be honest, talking about time travel is very similar to talking about god," said Anthony. "Everyone’s going to have a different understanding of what it is." Joe agreed: "At the end of the day, any thinking about time travel breaks down. What we tried to do was make sure the rules we were playing with [in regard to] time travel were honored by the plot of the movie."

Iron Man Had To Die

"In a way, Tony was always fated to die," Joe says when asked about Iron Man's heartbreaking fate in the movie. "He was a futurist, always haunted by what was around the corner. [He went from] someone with an ego to someone who was completely selfless in the end. So that seemed like a very noble trajectory."

"Initially, he didn’t say anything when he was facing off with Thanos — he just gets the stones and snaps. But we were in the edit room and it just felt a little flat," Anthony adds, crediting editor Jeff Ford with one key change. "He's edited more Marvel movies than anybody. He said, ‘What about 'I am Iron Man?’ And we were like, that’s it!"

Captain America Is Worthy

Arguably one of the best moments in Avengers: Endgame comes when Steve Rogers finally wields Mjolnir. Asked why it was then that Captain America was finally deemed "worthy," Joe said: "Do you think he was worthy in Ultron, but he just didn’t pick up the hammer so he didn’t hurt Thor’s feelings? Because clearly Thor’s very sensitive."

That's something Joss Whedon also alluded to when Avengers: Age of Ultron was released.

Cutting Hawkeye From Avengers: Infinity War

The movie's writers recently revealed that the opening scene with Hawkeye was originally going to take place in Avengers: Infinity War and now Joe has elaborated on why that was moved.
"We were originally going to include that at the end of "Infinity War." Hawkeye wasn't going to be in the film, and then at the end when Thanos snaps his fingers, we were going to cut to black and then come up on a family picnic at [Clint] Barton's (Hawkeye's) house. We wanted the audience to be confused. "Why are we here, what am I watching?" And then after Barton's family slowly disappeared we'd cut back to Bucky. We tried it, but we found that it was too jarring of a concept. So I thought, why don't we remove it from the body of this movie and move it to open the next movie. It's a great way after a year to remind you of the pain that everyone was feeling."


Why We Got A Five-Year Time-Jump

The moment "Five Years Later" pops up on screen, it becomes clear that the MCU as we know it is gone and the ramifications of Thanos' actions have been felt in a significant way. "We wanted something that allowed them to change enough," Joe explains when asked about the time-jump. "We needed enough time for them to process their grief that it would alter them as people."
"They accepted it and made choices about how they were going to proceed with their future, and that changes people. Clearly, Banner has changed dramatically."
Anthony adds: "It gave Tony enough time to have a daughter he can interact with."
"Thor became increasingly depressed and isolated. So one year wouldn't have allowed for quite the effect and five makes it feel more permanent to the audience," Joe concludes.

Why The Falcon Is Captain America

At the end of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU has a new Captain America in the form of Sam Wilson. Why, though, was he a better choice to wield the shield than Bucky? "We definitely would sit around and talk about what made the best story moving forward, and Sam just always felt like the right recipient," Joe confirms. "After all, Bucky is damaged."
"And Sam seemed to most share [Steve Rogers'] qualities," Anthony adds. "When they first met, the bond between those two characters just spoke to a symmetry in their moral nature."

Loki's Future

The God of Mischief died at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War but he escaped with the Tesseract when we caught up with his past self in 2012, so what does that mean for Captain America's attempt to fix the timeline by returning the Stones? 

"Loki, when he teleports away with the Time Stone, would create his own timeline," Joe confirms. "It gets very complicated, but it would be impossible for [Cap] to rectify the timeline unless he found Loki. The minute that Loki does something as dramatic as take the Space Stone, he creates a branched reality."
"We're dealing with this idea of multiverses and branched realities, so there are many realities," Anthony says, further reiterating plans to explore the Marvel Multiverse moving forward.

Captain America's Return

Despite conflicting remarks from Avengers: Endgame's writers, the filmmakers stand firm with the idea that Captain America created a new timeline when he returned to the past to find Peggy Carter and grow old. Now, Joe has reiterated that "he would have to come back to this timeline in order to hand off the shield."

"There's a question of, how did this separate timeline Cap come to reappear in this timeline and why?" Anthony added and when Joe was asked if that's a story for another day, he said: "Correct." In other words, it definitely sounds like Steve Rogers' story in the MCU isn't quite over just yet. 

Gamora May Have Been Dusted

At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Star-Lord is showing looking for Gamora. The 2014 version of the character embraced her heroic side despite still being under her father's thumb, and seemingly went on the run after his forces were wiped out by Iron Man.

However, there's nothing to say she wasn't dusted along with the rest of them according to Joe. 

"We don't know whether she was dusted or whether she survived. That's probably a question that "Guardians [3]" will answer," he teased before Anthony added: "Quill doesn't know either."
Many thanks to Business Insider, The Hollywood Reporter, and Slate for the quotes used here.
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