Most movies have a few years between the initial film and a sequel. A movie as massive as Avengers: Infinity War probably should have earned Joe and Anthony Russo a year-long vacation before they even started thinking about Avengers: Endgame, it’s mega-sized follow-up. And yet, the brothers already had agreed to film the two stories back-to-back, so that they could be released in theaters a year apart. When CinemaBlend asked the Russos what they would change about the process, now that they are a year removed from it, and Anthony Russo candidly admitted to us:
We wouldn’t shoot them back-to-back. [Laughs]
Hindsight is 20/20 in a situation like this, and Anthony Russo is likely feeling the enormous weight of carrying two massive and hugely anticipated Avengers movies over the finish line under an intense deadline. Does he wish that he and his brother, Joe Russo, had more time to develop their process and perfect visual effects? Of course.
But the fact that they did agree to shoot the footage all at once also meant that the brothers and their collaborators didn’t have time to let the reaction to Avengers: Infinity War affect their approach to Endgame. They already were too far into the process to make any sweeping changes to the pending sequel based on how Marvel fans reacted to Thanos’ ultimate triumph. Anthony Russo elaborated:
I think the challenge for all of us was finding the balance between the two films. Because each film is so complex on its own that sometimes considering both of them was a bit overwhelming. So we looked for opportunities in the process to separate the two so that our brains could be fully focused on the narrative. While the films have a connection, as the Marvel films do, they are distinct stories.
Putting more time between the films might have allowed Joe and Anthony Russo to better process what worked about Avengers: Infinity War, and what they’d want to change about Avengers: Endgame, if anything. The back-to-back nature of the experiment meant that they already were deep into preparation on Endgame long before Infinity War surfaced. This created a dichotomy, as Avengers: Infinity War Visual Effects Supervisor Dan DeLeeuw explained:
It was interesting because you're full in post while you're still shooting the first movie. And then it's… your brain’s split. Usually you can hold a movie in your head. But now you're having to hold two movies in your head. And it's just kind of this schizophrenia thing that starts happening every once in a while.
Will it pay off? We know that Avengers: Infinity War worked. And the reason we were catching up with the Russos was to celebrate the fact that Infinity War earned a visual effects Oscar nomination. See if it wins at the Academy Awards on February 24. And then come back for Avengers: Endgame, in theaters on April 26.