‘Avengers: Endgame’ Cast Talks The Completion Of Their Character’s Arcs and Moving Forward
Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 at 10:00 am
Marvel Studios has been keeping some of the bigger plot details of Avengers: Endgame a secret for the better part of the past year. It’s a formula that has worked out for them as no one will expect to see some of the major surprises. Though many have their suspicions on what will happen in the sequel, no one but those close to the film and its production knows what will happen.
During the global press conference for Endgame, Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Ronin), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Danai Gurira (Okoye), and Don Cheadle (War Machine) all opened up about what it was like play these iconic characters and moving on after being a part of a 10-year narrative. Others shared their thoughts on starting this new journey. Check out what they had to say below.
In seeing this 10-year narrative come to an end, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige summed it up with a quote from the Endgame trailer. “Robert said it so well in the trailer, ‘part of the journey is the end,'” Feige said. “About four or five years ago we started talking about doing something – at every turn, including the first Iron Man film, we talked about doing something that has never been done before. What if a superhero were to out his identity at the very last shot of the movie? ‘We can’t do that. What would we do next time?’ I don’t know, let’s do it. Four or five years ago we talked about what haven’t we seen in films based on comic characters? We haven’t seen an ending. A definitive conclusion to an overall saga. So that is why it’s called Endgame and why I think it is very very special.”
Gurira said what she loves about Okoye is that she is “unapologetic” and that she is a “traditionalist” in a sense that she believes in the “sovereignty of her nation.” It is something that resonated with her because she was born in the U.S. but raised on the continent of Africa. “Seeing a country like Wakanda have no colonization and became so powerful, and she is like a guardian in a sense, is what really resonated with me,” Gurira said.
The actress said she got to work closely with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, who allowed her to imbue her with the idea that she does have “a good time” and that she “doesn’t have rage issues.”
“She loves her life. She loves her country. She loves her people,” Gurira said. “And she will do whatever it takes to do what must be done. And there is a fierceness that I think that she has and she also unapologetically embraces her femininity.”
Hemsworth wasn’t even sure if the first Thor was even going to make it past the first DVD and was worried about being recast. Luckily that didn’t happen. But it did give him the opportunity to work with a variety of directors from Kenneth Branagh and Alan Taylor to Taika Waititi and the Russo Brothers. “Through the films, with each director and each different cast member, I learned something different from them,” Hemsworth said. “By the time Thor: Ragnarok was released, I felt it finally gave me the confidence to say ‘What else can I possibly bring to this?’ And I had this great collaboration with Taika and we really decided to do something different and see how we could make it unexpected and unique.”
In his calls with the Russo Brothers, they discussed the new version of Thor they had planned for the audiences to see. He commented on how he would like to continue the version he had shot with Taika, to which the Russos replied they had an even “newer version.”
“And it was,” Hemsworth said. “As with this film here, it’s just about the people here that made it so special and unique each time with any of our characters is everybody you get to interact with and the fact that we are all willing to be open to what new possibilities lie ahead of these franchises and these characters. It has been a pretty remarkable journey.”
For Evans, what he likes most about playing Captain America, particularly in Avengers: Endgame, is “the completion of the arc.”
“There is a 22 film tapestry,” Evans said. “He’s been through so much. There are so many wonderful elements of working on this movie. And I’ll add to what Chris said, it may seem like a safe answer, but really and honestly, the friendships and connections that I have made over these ten years now, truly has become a family.”
And throughout these 22 films, audiences have seen Captain America be a leader and interact with various characters, heroes, and villains. Of course, he’ll have to adjust his leadership style as he meets other heroes who are just as qualified to be leaders and take charge. Heroes like Larson’s Captain Marvel and Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa aka Black Panther. “I think he tends to lean on people who are like mind in nature,” Evans said. “People who are intrinsically selfless.”
“All the heroes here have their baked-in-the-cake flaws,” he continued. “A lot of that makes for really good conflict in storytelling. That’s why my favorite stuff in this arc has been my stuff with Downey because there is such a dichotomy in how we approach things but at the end of the day, our hearts are both in the right place. But introducing characters like Captain Marvel, like Black Panther, who also align very similarly to Cap’s nature, I think it reinforces Cap’s sense of purpose and home. It’s an environment that feels more natural for him. So I think it’s nice to the certain pockets where he feels at peace, and the certain pockets where he feels his buttons are being pushed.”
Johansson wasn’t sure how the audience would react to Black Widow or her interpretation of it when she was introduced as a sexy secretary with a special skill set, or at least posing as one. “I feel that the next time we saw her in The Avengers, she was sort of one of the boys, for better or worse, and that made sense then,” Johansson said. “As the fans and the audiences have pushed, certainly Marvel and all the studios and filmmakers to really to throw up on the screen what represents what’s going on in the zeitgeist and wanting to see diverse films and cast that represent and their own aspirations and how they feel. I think the character has grown in reaction to that and the movies have really grown in reaction to that fan encouragement.”
She remembered how she clung on to Elizabeth Olsen and Cobie Smulders when they both signed on because it had been such a “testosterone” fest for a long time. So it was nice to see other female cast members. That feeling increased when other actresses like Brie Larson, Danai Gurira, and Karen Gillian had signed on to their respective franchises and the Avengers films.
“I’m among so many wonderful actors, so many strong actors,” Johansson said. “It’s grown beyond my wildest dreams. I could have never imagined where this could take all of us. It’s been quite a journey.”
For Gillian, she sees her character finally resolve some of those daddy issues she may have with Thanos. “I think I am excited for her to finally face the source of this abuse,” Gillian said. “This has sort of been building through multiple movies like the Guardians movies. And she’s talked about how she wants to inflict revenge. I would like to see her try and face that. I don’t know if she will. Maybe she won’t. I’m not saying anything. I just got really nervous about giving something away.”
Rudd, who was terrified to give something away, said he knows that he is in it based on the trailers alone. But when it comes to fitting in with the fractured team, he says it will be fun to see. “How I fit in, how any of this works, remains to be seen,” Rudd said. “It’s going to be fun to have audiences discover it. Along with us.”
“It’s amazing to meet so many people who are passionate about it,” Rudd said. “It’s incredible to meet so many kids whose lives are affected by these characters. And to play a small part in that, pun intended, is something that I will always treasure.”
Larson says she came into the MCU “at the most magical time” where her first introduction to everyone in it was the ten-year photo which she describes as a “really remarkable day and super surreal.” But Avengers: Endgame will be, personally, dear to her because it was the first time that she actually played the character before she jumped into her own standalone titular film. “I had to stumble and figure out who this character was with no script for this and no script for Captain Marvel either, and perform, for the first time, in front of legends,” said Larson.
Cheadle chimed in on his character’s development, which he described as someone who first started out as a “lighter toned, habitual, sort of bigger in life than I am in real life.” He is alluding to the fact that he replaced Terrance Howard as James Rhodey aka War Machine in Iron Man 2. “But as the character sort of darkened and things became more compact on a narrative, I think we’ve seen a real growth in this character,” Cheadle said. “He’s gone through his trials and tribulations obviously, over the course of these films, and come out the other side, and has his legs under him, no pun intended, literally, and is able to be part of a team and contribute at a high level. It’s been a lot of fun to see where he’s come from, and to see where he’s gone, and see what happens next.”
Avengers: Endgame opens in theaters on April 26, 2019. Click right here for trailers and more.