WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, in theaters now.
Filmed largely simultaneously with Avengers: Infinity War, the opening sequence that set the tone for Endgame had originally been planned as part of the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe film's ending.
While attending a Facebook live event with ComicBook.com, Infinity War and Endgame co-director Joe Russo explained the scene where Hawkeye's family disintegrates after Thanos' use of the Infinity Gauntlet would have provided Clint Barton with a brief appearance in Infinity War and set up his role in Endgame as the vigilante Ronin.
After the Mad Titan snapped his fingers on Wakanda, the scene was planned to cut to black and return with Clint and his family enjoying a picnic. As audiences pondered the jarring onscreen change, Clint's family would disintegrate before cutting back to Wakanda, where half of the assembled heroes would similarly perish.
However, the filmmakers felt this shift would be overly confusing to audiences and instead decided to use it as the prologue to Endgame, reminding viewers of the cliffhanger ending to the previous film and setting the tone moving forward.
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 Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Josh Brolin as Thanos. The film is in theaters now.