April 11, 2019
The Russo Brothers Explain Why They Lied About The ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Title
The cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War resulted in a lot of fan speculation about the next installment, the plot, the characters and yes, even the title. And one of the best guesses coming out of that film was “Endgame,” taken from a line of important dialogue spoken by Doctor Strange in the movie. The Avengers: Endgame title was flat out denied by the Russo Brothers in press interviews. Did the filmmakers lie? It sure looks like it…well, from a certain point of view.
At the Avengers: Endgame junket, I finally had a chance to ask the Russos for clarification.
Why was everyone so interested in the title in the first place? It probably began when Marvel head Kevin Feige said that the title of Avengers 4 was a “spoiler” for Infinity War. So with that speculation began. After that film hit theaters, the speculation intensified, with “Endgame” being one of the more popular theories. In an interview with ComicBook.com, the Russo brothers claimed that no one online had guessed the title yet and that the closest guess to the actual title was “Avengers: Forever.” Uproxx published an interview with the Russos where they asked point blank if “the title of the fourth Avengers ever spoken in Infinity War?,” to which Joe Russo responded, “No.”
When the title was finally revealed to be Avengers: Endgame, fans, and journalists were both a bit miffed as they felt they had been misled to by the filmmaking duo. Granted, there are more serious problems in the world than the title of a superhero movie, but this is my job! I’m supposed to take this seriously! At the junket for Avengers: Endgame, I decided to ask them.
I know when Infinity War came out, someone asked you if the name of the title was in that movie and there was the word “Endgame” in that movie. So I’m wondering, did you lie to the press?
Anthony Russo: (joking) No one ever said “Avengers: Endgame” [in the movie.]
Joe Russo: That was a year before the movie gets released, and we are constantly changing things and these are iterative and creative processes. It is impossible to commit to anything with any kind of clarity a year before you’re about to release some content. ‘Cause who knows your DP could accidentally put the title on his resume and then we throw it out. You know, like there are a million reasons why that may or may not be a title for the movie. And until we sit in a room and we watch a trailer with the title on it, then we all look at each other and say, we running with this title. That’s usually when the title sticks to a movie. So when people are asking us questions a year before release… And look, they have the right and that’s their job but we also have the right and it’s our job to protect the creative integrity of our choices. And you don’t want to be trapped into, and pressured into choices in the same way that a writer wants to feel like they’re getting accurate answers out of us – There are no accurate answers a year out!
Honestly, I know how hard it can be for any filmmaker who is answering questions about a highly anticipated movie sequel. I definitely understand the storytellers wanting to protect the integrity of their creation. I respect that the Russo Brothers have been releasing trailers featuring fake and altered shots not in the actual movie to subvert expectations and keep the real plot details under wraps. They even filmed fake endings so that those who were on set, including the actors, might not know what actually happens or not.
But I honestly, don’t understand why they felt they needed to lie about a title. I feel like there are so many other ways to dodge the questions mentioned above. There is a way to answer these questions truthfully, to tease and deflect, but not reveal anything at all. This isn’t a situation like J.J. Abrams being asked point blank by the press if Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness. That is a tough situation for a storyteller and I can really understand the motivation at that moment.
And let’s be clear, this is not something to be really upset about – it’s just a title for a superhero movie. I love the Russo Brothers and their films, I just wish they didn’t ever feel the need to lie to journalists when doing press for their movies. I hope we can find a middle ground where they can protect their secrets and maintain an honest relationship with the movie press who loves their work.
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