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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is on the edge of a precipice, with just days left before Avengers: Endgame finally arrives in theaters. The Russo Brothers will bring Phase Three of the MCU to an end, and the stakes could not be higher. Given the state of the shared universe at the end of Infinity War, fans have spent the last year theorizing about what could come next, now that Thanos wiped out half of all life.
Our questions will be answered shortly, as Endgame is just days away from arriving in theaters. The upcoming blockbuster will end the MCU as we know it, and wrap up the characters arcs from many of the OG Avengers. CinemaBlend's Jeff McCobb recently spoke with The Russo Brothers, and asked the co-directors about their favorite arc in the MCU. Joe Russo piped in first, saying:
Cap obviously because we spent so much time with him. And he has gone on a very extreme journey, from First Avenger to Infinity War. He went from a patriot to an insurgent, that’s a very complicated arc.
This answer shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The Russo Brothers joined the MCU in Captain America: Winter Soldier, which is widely considered one of the shared universe's best outings. Since then, they became the architects of Phase Three, and utilized the title character in three more movies, including Endgame.
Joe Russo's comment does make some valid points, as moviegoers have watched Steve Rogers have a pretty unbelievable journey throughout the last eight years. Captain America's story spans decades, and featured him doing an about-face in regards to his belief system. So while the other Avengers have grown before our eyes, Cap arguably had the most seismic change this character.
In the same conversation with CinemaBlend at CinemaCon 2019, Anthony Russo echoed his brother's sentiments, agreeing that Captain America was their favorite. He said,
I would have to say Cap. It’s just, we’ve been so focused on that character. He was our access point to the MCU as storytellers. Having been born, and grown up, and come of age during World War II. Having that all torn away from you, and waking up 70 years later. It’s a really profound journey that character’s been on. A lot of hardship. And a lot of nobility in his heart. And we’ve had a lot of fun trying to figure that character out over the years.
Once again, the Russo Brothers show that they're great at working together. The co-directors have shared a singular vision for the MCU, and done the impossible with their work on large ensemble projects like Captain America: Civil War. And through it all, Chris Evans' signature character has been their favorite Avenger to see onscreen.
You can't blame The Russo Brothers for having some favoritism, as the Captain America franchise was how they were able to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and eventually rose to the top of the creative ladder. They brought a surprising amount of realism and grit to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, including stunning action sequences and plot twists that rocked the shared universe to its core.
Captain America: Civil War is another great feat, and their second go in the MCU. But rather than focusing solely on Steve Rogers, The Russo Brothers were given the challenge of bringing in most of MCU's heroes to the playing field. It wasn't an easy task, and moviegoers had some trepidations going into theaters. But the directors juggled a big cast, and fractured The Avengers as we know them.
You can check out our conversation with The Russo Brothers at CinemaCon 2019 below.
From the interview above, you can really see how much Captain America means to Joe and Anthony Russo. And while they've gotten to know all the major Marvel characters with their work on Civil War and the Avengers movies, Steve Rogers continues to be their favorite arc in the shared universe.
While plenty of moviegoers have their favorite Avenger, you can't deny the validity of The Russo Brothers' points. Just look at how his journey compares to other major Marvel characters. Tony Stark went from billionaire playboy to a superheroic leader, but he hasn't changed that much since the first Iron Man movie ended. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow continues to be a mystery, although that might change when her solo outing finally arrives. And while Thor is more responsible and humble, he's still largely the same God of Thunder we met in his first flick.
The Russo Brothers might have a favorite in Captain America, but they've got plenty of character arcs to wrap up when Avengers: Endgame arrives next week. Many of the original Avengers actors are coming to the end of their contracts, so fans may finally bid goodbye to folks like Cap, Iron Man, and Thor. And given the high stakes after Thanos' snap of death (aka The Decimation), it seems likely that at least one of those icons will end up being killed off.
In addition to ending certain character arcs, The Russo Brothers also have the responsibility of opening up narrative possibilities. While Marvel Studios hasn't revealed their plans for Phase Four yet, the fandom is expecting quite a few sequels over the next few years. But with Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians all faded to dust as a result of Thanos' victory, the future is currently unclear.
Most moviegoers assume that the dusted heroes will somehow be resurrected throughout the course of Avengers: Endgame. Exactly how that'll be done is unclear, but it seems like Phase Four depends on it. Because unless the future is filled with prequels, it doesn't seem like the MCU can continue on any other way.