Avengers: Endgame is streaming. Here are the directors' best reveals
The Russo brothers and screenwriters share secrets about Ben & Jerry's, sauerkraut, Stan Lee's cameo and more.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
You can purchase Avengers: Endgame for streaming as of Tuesday. And while there's nothing like a big-screen experience, watching the streaming version has some advantages. Extras, for example, include deleted scenes (detailed here), a gag reel, a feature on Cap and Peggy's relationship and a touching tribute to
Watch this: Avengers: Endgame could have been very different
You can pick up fresh tidbits about the film by watching it with the commentary track turned on. Directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo and screenwriters Steven McFeely and Christopher Markus join forces to talk over the film and offer details and insights. Here are 13 of those revelations:
1. Yessir, that's my baby
The first person viewers see in Avengers: Endgame is Ava Russo, daughter of director Joe Russo. She plays Lila Barton, Hawkeye's daughter, whom Hawykeye is teaching to shoot arrows as the film begins. The scene was planned for Avengers: Infinity War, Joe Russo says, but the brothers found it "too disorienting" to cut from Thanos' snap to Hawkeye's family. (Lia, Russo's other daughter, shows up later as a kid in a diner who wants to get a selfie with Smart Hulk.)
2. It's about time
Listen carefully in the scene where we first see the time-travel suits. Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk) delivers an explanation of how time travel does and doesn't work that Markus says is very close to how "genuine quantum physicists" explained possible time travel to the writers.
3. We all scream
One of the directors' favorite Easter eggs comes when the Avengers are sitting around a table and Hulk is snacking on Ben & Jerry's Hunka Hulka Burnin' Fudge, one of two B&J flavors that Doctor Strange and Tony Stark discussed in Avengers: Infinity War. (The other was Stark Raving Hazelnuts.)
4. What Nebula knows
McFeely explains that Nebula doesn't know about what exactly happened to her sister Gamora, who was sacrificed at the hands of their father, Thanos. "No one knows other than anybody who was there," he says. Nebula "just knows her sister didn't come back, and he left with the stone."
5. The role of Asgard is played by England
When Thor and Rocket time-travel back to Asgard, the scene was shot at England's Durham Cathedral, the directors say. It was one of the few scenes they shot during the making of Avengers: Infinity War, but intending all along to use it in Avengers: Endgame.
6. Baby, you can drive my car
Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) is one of the directors' favorite characters, says Joe Russo. "He reminds me of Louie De Palma [Danny De Vito] from [the 1978-1983 sitcom] 'Taxi,'" jokes Markus. "He's about the same height."
7. Butt out
Joe Russo reveals that "probably the most controversial joke in the whole movie" comes when Ant-Man salutes Captain America's shapely rear end, aka "America's ass."
Says Russo, "That (line) was hotly debated." It's even more controversial later, when Cap says it to a version of himself.
8. The Natural
Robert Redford is in the movie as HYDRA agent Alexander Pierce, and Markus says that Redford himself declared it was his last movie role ever. So when Redford, age 82, says, "I'm gonna need that case," know that you're watching a great actor's (apparent) final scene.
9. Lola time
Stan Lee was de-aged -- the filmmakers call it being "Lola'd" -- for his final cameo, in which a 1970s version of Lee yells, "Make love, not war," out a car window. His look is based on a real photo of Lee from the '70s.
Howard Stark, Tony's dad, brings his pregnant wife sauerkraut because that's what screenwriter McFeely's mom craved when she was expecting him. "That's the McFeely Easter egg," he says.
11. Forever in high school
The filmmakers explain that time hasn't passed for the people snapped, which is why Peter Parker comes back and is still in high school. But those born during the five-year period when half the world was gone don't vanish, they get to keep on existing as well.
12. I am Iron Man
The scene where Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, snaps his fingers and declares, "I am Iron Man," is tough to top. The filmmakers reveal that this was the last scene shot for the movie. It was filmed in January 2019 at Hollywood's Raleigh Studios, adjacent to the soundstage where Downey did his screen-test for his iconic role 12 years earlier. Let the circle be unbroken.
13. Bruce Banner transformation took a turn
The screenwriters and directors dubbed Mark Ruffalo's eyeglasses-wearing hero Smart Hulk, and McFeely said his story originally was planned for Avengers: Infinity War. But that moment of triumph was too much for a movie facing a succession of losses, McFeely said, so special-effects artists cut the Smart Hulk reveal out of Avengers: Infinity War. "I don't think we had enough space to tell that story (in Infinity War)," Anthony Russo agreed.