Directors Anthony and Joe Russo made their Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014 with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which they followed in 2016 with the blockbuster sequel Captain America: Civil War. When the time came for Marvel Studios to select the directors for the third and fourth Avengers, the job fell to them. And considering the massive success of Infinity War and the huge expectations for Avengers: Endgame, it's safe to say they accomplished their mission.
The two were on hand Sunday in Los Angeles for press conference for Endgame, where they reflected on watching 2008's Iron Man, the tone of Endgame and the effect the MCU has had on audiences.
The panel was moderated by Jon Faverau, who directed Iron Man and has appeared across the MCU as Tony Stark's bodyguard Happy Hogan. Turning to Faverau, Anthony Russo said, "Joe and I speak constantly about the debt that we owe to you. We remember that moment when we first sat down during the first Iron Man for the first time. And I remember that feeling of like, 'I wish we were a part of this.' We had no idea that years later that we would be. That was an epic moment in movie theaters."
Turning his attention to Avengers: Endgame, Anthony continued, "I have mentioned this before, our storytelling adage is to write yourself into a corner. What we take that to mean is to put yourself in a place in a narrative level where you have no idea how you can possibly move the characters forward. That's a great, exciting place to be. It forces you to come up with some really creative ways going forward. And we've tried to do that for the ending of every single Marvel movie we've ever done, none more so then Infinity War.
"We're very committed to the ending of that movie," he continued. "We think stories lose their meaning and relevance and resonance if there aren't real stakes, and for us moving into Endgame. This movie is very much about how do these characters, how do these heroes deal with loss? Resounding loss, true loss, devastating loss. That's what they've experienced in Infinity War. That was a unique experience for all of them. How does someone move forward from that, how does a hero move forward from that moment? The way we wrote the story, how is everyone dealing with it on an individual level living with that experience, and how do they collectively deal with it."
Joe Russo addressed the impact of the MCU films, saying, "This is a really unique experiment in movies, this grand mosaic of depending how you count it up, eleven franchises interwoven into one big narrative. And I think a lot of people have invested a lot of heart and soul into the characters, and we take these movies around the world.
"It's heartwarming to see people come up to you and say, 'Hey, I started watching these with my classmates when I was 10 years old, and now we're all 21 and we're all going to see it together,'" he said, "or 'My parents have taken me to every movie' or 'My grandfather's taken me to every film.' It's a real sense of community and sharing these stories and believing in them. And I think with Endgame, we get the opportunity to finish off one of the grandest experiments in movie history and bring it to a conclusion. What we're hoping for is people to feel satisfied by that conclusion."
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau and Bradley Cooper, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Josh Brolin. The film arrives April 26.