Virtually every superhero active in the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes part in the Avengers: Endgame's climactic battle against Thanos and his assembled forces in the ruins of the New Avengers Compound, including a surprise appearance by Howard the Duck.
According to WETA Digital Visual Effects Supervisor Matt Aitken, the inclusion of the fan-favorite character -- who appeared in both Guardians of the Galaxy films -- was a last-minute request from a studio executive, with Aitken remembering that the request may have come from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige himself.
"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," Aiken explained to Slash Film. "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."
Created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik, the classic comic book character only appears briefly in the final battle as the Ravagers assemble behind the Avengers and Guardians to mount a massive charge against Thanos' army. For eagle-eyed viewers, the cameo is a quick callback to MCU history.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and Josh Brolin as Thanos. The film is available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD.