Avengers: Endgame is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the direct sequel to Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the film features an ensemble cast including 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, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Josh Brolin. In the film, the surviving members of the Avengers and their allies attempt to reverse Thanos’s actions in Infinity War.
The film was announced in October 2014 as Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2, but Marvel later removed this title. The Russo brothers joined as directors in April 2015, with Markus and McFeely signing on to write the script a month later. The film serves as a conclusion to the story of the MCU up to that point, ending the story arcs for several main characters. The plot revisits several moments from earlier films, bringing back actors and settings from throughout the franchise. Filming began in August 2017 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, shooting back-to-back with Infinity War, and ended in January 2018. Additional filming took place in the Metro and Downtown Atlanta areas, the state of New York, Scotland, and England. The official title was revealed in December 2018. With an estimated budget of $356–400 million, the film is one of the most expensive films ever made.
Avengers: Endgame premiered in Los Angeles on April 22, 2019, and was released in the United States on April 26, as part of Phase Three of the MCU. The film received praise for its direction, acting, musical score, action sequences, visual effects, and emotional weight, with critics lauding its culmination of the 22-film story. The film grossed $2.799 billion worldwide, surpassing Infinity War‘s entire theatrical run in just eleven days and breaking numerous box office records, including becoming the highest-grossing film of all time from July 2019 until March 2021. It received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 92nd Academy Awards, among numerous other accolades. Fifth and sixth Avengers films, titled Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, respectively, are scheduled to be released in 2026 and 2027.
In October 2014, Marvel announced a two-part sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), titled Avengers: Infinity War. Part 1 was scheduled to be released on May 4, 2018, with Part 2 scheduled for May 3, 2019. In April 2015, Marvel announced that Anthony and Joe Russo would direct both parts of Avengers: Infinity War, with back-to-back filming expected to begin in 2016. That same month, Kevin Feige said the films were titled as two parts of a single film because of the shared elements between the films, but he felt they would be “two distinct” films, not one story split across two films. By May 2015, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely signed on to write the screenplays for both parts of the film. In May 2016, the Russos revealed that they would be retitling the two films, to further remove this misconception. That July, Marvel removed the film’s title, simply referring to it as untitled Avengers film. Feige and the Russo brothers indicated the title was being withheld because it would give away plot details for this film and Infinity War.
Principal photography began on August 10, 2017, under the working title Mary Lou 2, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, with Trent Opaloch serving as director of photography. The film, along with Infinity War, were shot using ARRI Alexa IMAX 2D cameras, thus marking the first time that a Hollywood feature film was shot entirely with IMAX digital cameras. That same month, filming occurred in The Gulch area of Downtown Atlanta, near the Five Points MARTA station, and Piedmont Park. Feige explained that the films were originally scheduled to be filmed simultaneously but were ultimately shot back-to-back, as “It became too complicated to cross-board them like that, and we found ourselves—again, something would always pay the price. We wanted to be able to focus and shoot one movie and then focus and shoot another movie.” Anthony Russo originally felt it made more sense to shoot the films simultaneously due to financial and logistical reasons considering the large number of cast members, and had suggested that “some days we’ll be shooting the first movie and some days we’ll be shooting the second movie. Just jumping back and forth.” The 2013 Asgard scenes were shot at Durham Cathedral in Durham, England during production of Infinity War in early May 2017. Production wrapped on January 11, 2018, although additional filming took place in Dutchess and Ulster counties in New York in June 2018. Reshoots began by September 7, 2018, and concluded on October 12, 2018. More reshoots occurred in January 2019. Location shooting also took place in St Abbs, Scotland, which doubled for New Asgard in Norway. Evans and Hemsworth each earned $15 million for the film.
The film’s official title, Avengers: Endgame, and final U.S. release date of April 26, 2019, were revealed with the film’s first trailer in December 2018. Visual effects for the film were created by Industrial Light & Magic, Weta Digital, DNEG, Framestore, Cinesite, Digital Domain, Rise, Lola VFX, Cantina Creative, Capital T, Technicolor VFX, and Territory Studio. As with previous MCU films, Lola worked on the de-aging sequences; the film features 200 de-aging and aging shots. Downey, Evans, Ruffalo, Hemsworth, Johansson, and Renner were de-aged to their 2012 appearances for scenes recreated from The Avengers (2012). Michael Douglas, John Slattery, and Stan Lee were also de-aged for the 1970 New Jersey sequence; Douglas’s appearance in The Streets of San Francisco was referenced. Lola also aged-up Evans for the final scene where he is portrayed as an elderly man, using some make-up and a stand-in as reference. Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt served as the film’s editors.
- Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man:
The benefactor of the Avengers who describes himself as a “genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist” with electromechanical suits of armor of his own making. According to directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Downey was the only actor to receive the entire screenplay for the film. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely knew that Stark’s death was inevitable both as a “[move] to selflessness” and as an end to the “chapter” Stark started. They felt that his death was earned after granting him “the perfect retirement life,” adding, “That’s the life he’s been striving for They got married, they had a kid, it was great. It’s a good death. It doesn’t feel like a tragedy. It feels like a heroic, finished life.” Joe Russo explained that Stark “always knew he was going to die because he could never reconcile that notion in himself of not protecting the universe,” and added that Stark was the most defiant among the Avengers since “Stark is the most formidable of all of them because of his heart.” The Russos sought Downey’s approval for Stark’s arc, which they had developed since Captain America: Civil War (2016).
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America:
The leader of the Avengers, World War II veteran and former fugitive, he was enhanced to the peak of human physicality by an experimental serum and frozen in suspended animation before waking up in the modern world. Markus described Rogers as someone who is “moving toward some sort of enlightened self-interest”. McFeely knew Rogers “was going to get his dance” he promised Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), with McFeely said that Rogers “postponed a life” to “fulfill his duty”, and McFeely “didn’t think we were ever going to kill him”, which is “not the [Rogers story] arc”. Instead, Rogers’s arc was to “finally get to put [his] shield down”. Patrick Gorman provided on-set reference for an elderly Steve Rogers.
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk:
An Avenger and genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, typically transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated. In this film, Banner has managed to balance his two sides with gamma experimentation, enabling him to combine his intelligence with the Hulk’s strength and physical stature, based on the “Professor Hulk” comic book identity. Compared to other heroes, who were demotivated by their loss against Thanos, Banner is the only character to remain hopeful, with Anthony Russo explaining, “Banner is the sole character who is actually forging into a bright new future, trying to build something totally new and find something completely new Banner is the one who is most heroic in a sense that he maintains his will to keep trying.” This concludes a character arc that was established in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and continued in Avengers: Infinity War.
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor:
An Avenger and the king of Asgard, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name. Thor now wields a mystical axe known as Stormbreaker, after the destruction of his hammer, Mjolnir, in Thor: Ragnarok. In the film, Thor has become an overweight, drunken ruler of Asgard’s refugees in Tønsberg, Norway. Referencing this drastic character change, Hemsworth said, “I just had an opinion. I wanted to do something different this time. Each film I’ve wanted to, in particular, the last couple, and they were on board,” and added, “We shot for many hours and days and discussed how far could we push (Thor) and what we could do different.” Anthony Russo added, “Even though there’s a lot of fun to be had in the movie with his physical condition, it’s not a gag. It’s a manifestation of where he is on a character level, and we think it’s one of the most relatable aspects of him. I mean, it’s a very common sort of response to depression and pain.” Thor’s story was his favorite arc, saying: “Part of Chris’ magic as a comedic actor is his dedication to the depth of the character on a very earnest level It’s so devious and subversive when comedy is coming from a place of complete commitment and emotional complexity.” Hemsworth underwent around three hours of hair and makeup for the transformation, which also required him to wear a large silicone prosthetic suit; he called himself “Lebowski Thor” on set. Initially, Thor was supposed to revert to his “old chiseled self” in the middle of Endgame, but Hemsworth successfully argued in favor of retaining Thor’s new physique.
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow:
An Avenger and a highly trained spy and former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. At the beginning of the film, Romanoff continues to command several teams from around the galaxy in the Avengers headquarters, which Joe Russo explained stemmed from her inability to move on from their failure to stop Thanos, saying, “she’s doing everything she can to try and hold the community together She’s the watcher on the wall still.” On the decision for Romanoff to sacrifice herself for Barton to acquire the Soul Stone to bring back everyone, Joe Russo stated that it was part of a larger theme exploring the desire to sacrifice, compared to the desire to protect in Infinity War; he says, “When she gets to that [Soul Stone] scene, I think she understands that the only way to bring the community back is for her to sacrifice herself.” McFeely stated, “Her journey, in our minds, had come to an end if she could get the Avengers back. She comes from such an abusive, terrible, mind-control background, so when she gets to Vormir and she has a chance to get the family back, that’s a thing she would trade for.” To prepare for the film, Johansson underwent a high-intensity workout regimen, which included plyometrics, Olympic weightlifting, and gymnastics, as well as a time-restricted eating diet, all under the supervision of her longtime trainer, Eric Johnson, with whom she had worked since Iron Man 2 (2010), the film which introduced her character.
- Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye:
A master archer and a former Avenger and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who recently served on house arrest. McFeely described Barton’s dark turn as “a good example of people who had much stronger stories after the Snap.” The film’s cold open, which features the disintegration of Barton’s family, was initially supposed to be in Infinity War following Thanos’s snap; however, it was moved to Endgame instead, with Markus explaining that it was “going to blunt the brutality of what [Thanos] did.” Joe Russo felt it was “a very tragic scene to open the movie with. It’s one of the few scenes in the movie that actually makes me tear up when I watch it, because I think about my own family And then you think about what would happen to you, as a father. You’d become very self-destructive.”
- Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine:
An officer in the U.S. Air Force and Avenger who operates the War Machine armor. Cheadle described Rhodes’s newfound belonging as an Avenger as “not so much straddling one foot in the military. He’s much more on the side of The Avengers than he was prior.” This is reflected on Rhodes’s more instinctive and realist worldview in the midst of encountering the fantastic, with Cheadle explaining, “He’s definitely got some ‘what-the-eff-is-happening’ [attitude,] more than maybe the rest of them do, given his background. But it’s a trial by fire, and he’s quickly adapted to what [the threat] is, rather than what he wishes it were.”
- Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man:
A former petty criminal and Avenger who acquired a suit that allows him to shrink or grow in scale while also increasing in strength. Lang is portrayed by twins Bazlo and Loen LeClair as a baby, by Jackson A. Dunn at age 12, and by Lee Moore at age 93. This was Moore’s final film before his death in August 2018. Markus explained that adding Lang helped with implementing time travel into the film, saying, “we had access to him in the second movie, and the fact that he was bringing a whole subset of technology that did have something to do with a different concept of time was like a birthday present.”
- Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel:
An ex-U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and Avenger whose DNA was altered during an accident, imbuing her with superhuman strength, energy projection, and flight. Markus stated that Danvers’s powers are on a scale that has not previously existed in the MCU and likened her personality to Rogers’s, “which is sort of a person who’s right and knows they’re right and doesn’t really want to hear it when you tell them they’re wrong”. Danvers has little screen time in the film, which McFeely reasoned as “not the story we’re trying to tell—it’s the original Avengers dealing with loss and coming to a conclusion, and she’s the new, fresh blood.” Larson filmed her scenes for Endgame before beginning work on her solo film Captain Marvel (2019), which was released first. Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were present for the filming of her scenes in Endgame and gave Danvers’s characterization in the film their blessing.
- Karen Gillan as Nebula:
An adopted daughter of Thanos and Avenger who was raised with Gamora as siblings. After being previously featured as an antagonist or an anti-hero in previous MCU films, Nebula undergoes a redemption arc in the film where she makes amends for her past actions, including an encounter with a past version of herself, with Gillan adding that she is “staring her former self in the face and it’s really clear how far she’s come from that angry, bitter and twisted person. She’s starting to connect with other people and find some level of forgiveness.” Gillan guessed that Nebula would play a prominent role in the film when she realized that Infinity War and Endgame would be adapted from The Infinity Gauntlet, which she had previously read when she was initially cast as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Gillan shared several scenes with Downey in the film’s opening, and the two improvised most of their scenes together.
- Danai Gurira as Okoye: The general of the Dora Milaje, a group of elite women warriors.
- Benedict Wong as Wong: A Master of the Mystic Arts and a companion of Doctor Strange.
- Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan: The former head of security at Stark Industries and Stark’s friend and former driver.
- Bradley Cooper as Rocket:
A member of the Guardians and Avenger who is a genetically engineered raccoon-based bounty hunter, mercenary, and master of weapons and battle tactics. Sean Gunn was again the stand-in for Rocket during filming, with his acting and expressions serving as motion reference for the character. Rocket’s appearance in the film continues a story arc that was established by Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director and Endgame executive producer James Gunn in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, was continued in Infinity War and Endgame, and concluded in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023).
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts:
Stark’s wife and the CEO of Stark Industries. Potts wears a weaponized powered exosuit of armor made for her by Stark, based on the Rescue armor. Paltrow said this would be her final major appearance in the MCU.
- Josh Brolin as Thanos:
An intergalactic warlord from Titan who, in Infinity War, acquired all six Infinity Stones and triggered the Snap, killing half of all life in the universe. Joe Russo said that after Thanos was successful in Avengers: Infinity War, he is now “done. He did it. He’s retired.” Markus and McFeely had difficulty in factoring the older, post-Infinity War, Thanos into the film due to the character already possessing the Infinity Stones, until executive producer Trinh Tran suggested that they kill Thanos in the film’s first act. Markus explained that the character’s early death “reinforced Thanos’ agenda. He was done it was like, ‘If I’ve got to die, I can die now.'” Thanos has less screen time in Endgame than in Infinity War, where he was considered the main character, as explained by McFeely: “We had to give ourselves permission to backseat the villain a little bit. I don’t think anyone in the first half of the movie is going, ‘Oh I wish there was a villain’. You’re rolling around in the loss and the time heist, and you think it’s sort of Avengers against nature.” The younger version of Thanos was nicknamed “Warrior Thanos” by the filmmakers. In addition to providing the voice for the character, Brolin performed motion capture on set. Joe Russo was a stand-in for Thanos for some scenes opposite Nebula.
April 26, 2019
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