Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame. If you haven't seen the latest Marvel blockbuster, look away!
It's been nearly a week since Avengers: Endgame arrived in theaters, and moviegoers haven't stopped discussing and dissected every frame of the record-breaking blockbuster. The Russo Brothers brought everything imaginable to Endgame, including plenty of wild plot twists and surprise cameos. And following the film's runtime, there was one more surprise that gobsmacked the hardcore fandom.
Avengers: Endgame included an epic curtain call, which recognized just about everyone who has had a major role in the massive shared universe. Following that fitting sendoff, moviegoers stayed glued to their seats to see what the end-credits scene would tease for Phase Four. But the scene never came, a first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Russo Brothers recently explained this unexpected decision, with Anthony Russo recently saying:
The reason why there's no end credits is because our goal on this movie was simply to bring to a conclusion the 22 movies now that comprise the MCU for these 10 years of storytelling. … I think one of the great creative upsides for Joe and I, as story tellers on this movie, was that this is the first MCU movie we got to tell where we weren't thinking about the future. We were simply thinking about the past, the journey that we've all been on together since that first Iron Man movie. And how do we bring the most epic sense of closure to that the journey that we can possibly do. So that was our goal, and that was really why we had no tag.
As if the wild events of Avengers: Endgame weren't enough of a mic drop, the Russo Brothers delivered one more shocking twist. The new release was the cumulation of 22 Marvel movies, so the brothers decided the movie deserved a proper ending. No teases, no credits scene, just the end of the Infinity Saga and the MCU as we know it.
Anthony Russo's thoughts about Endgame's ending come from a Q&A that Joe and Anthony Russo did following an Endgame screening in Washington D.C. just last night-- with CinemaBlend in attendance. Now that the movie is finally in theaters, the Russos no longer have to worry about guarding its secrets, and giving cagey answers to fans and journalists. The cat is out of the bag, so the directors can finally be open about their creative process, and the myriad bold choices made throughout the course of the expansive film.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced the post-credits scene to moviegoers back with Iron Man, which featured the debut of Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. These bonus clips have become commonplace since, teasing that's next for each franchise, and offering deeper connections to the shared universe. And considering how almost nothing is known about the MCU in Phase Four, moviegoers expected to get some idea through Avengers: Endgame's credits.
But it turns out that The Russo Brothers don't know much about the MCU's future either. While they set up a new Captain America and a path for Thor, the studio is gong to have new architects planning the next slate of movies. The Russo Brothers did masterful work with Phase Three, but it appears that Avengers: Endgame is their last entry for a while.
During the same Q&A in Washington D.C., Anthony Russo maintained just that: they couldn't tease the future of the MCU in Avengers: Endgame because they simply don't know what's coming next. As he explained:
There are people at Marvel thinking about the future of Marvel. Joe and I don't have any plans to continue with Marvel after this. We may end up doing another Marvel movie down the road if the right idea comes up that we all connect with. Because we love Marvel. We've had the most amazing experience of our careers, but on this movie, and I give a lot of credit to Kevin Feige for this because he's such a genius producer. We've always spoken to Kevin about where these stories go. On this movie, we did almost none of that talk with him.
Well, that's definitely not how Marvel fans expected things to go down. After crafting narratives that includes all of the MCU's biggest characters, they bid goodbye to the Avengers and Guardians following their pair of Avengers movies. And without speaking with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige about the future, they had no advanced knowledge to craft a credits scene from.
The Russo Brothers made their debut with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is widely considered one of the best installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following that movie's massive success, the brothers helped to craft the story of Phase Three, directing three large ensemble projects in the process. They've spent years worrying about the events of the MCU, so it stands to reason that they might want to have a break following the release (and insane success) of Endgame.
Clearly Marvel Studios is happy with what the Russo Brothers were able to accomplish within the MCU. And as such, Kevin Feige and the powers that be gave them the freedom to craft their Avengers movies, without worrying what may or may not be coming next dow the pipeline. As Anthony Russo went on to explain:
Because again, he was like leaving it to us to close the story, and that was entirely our focus. So I think that that was the goal of the movie. That opened up a lot of creative opportunities for Joe and I, in the process of making the movie. And I think part of the fact that there's no tag is testament to the fact that you were not thinking forward at all.
The stakes were extremely high for Infinity War and Endgame, so it's surprising to see how hands off the larger studio was regarding The Russo Brothers' narrative choices. But that relationship also functioned as a two-way street, because Anthony and Joe didn't look to the future or ask for details regarding what's next. So it looks like they'll be able to enjoy future Marvel movies just like the rest of us.
The future of the MCU remains a total mystery, in part thanks to the lack of an Avengers: Endgame post-credits scene. Smart money says the studio may keep their cards close to the chest at least until Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives in a few months.