Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame.
It's been nearly a month since Avengers: Endgame arrived in theaters, and new revelations about the movie are still being made every day. With the spoiler ban officially lifted by the Russo Brothers, the cast and crew of Endgame have been able to get more chatty about the film's contents. And considering just how massive the blockbuster is, there's a lot to unpack-- especially related to its ending.
Avengers: Endgame included the biggest MCU battle in history, as the dusted characters were teleported to the battlefield-- and they had some help with them. Every major character united in the battlefield, alongside countless troops of Wakandans, Ravagers, Masters of the Mystic Arts, and Asgardians. This includes Howard the Duck, who briefly pops up alongside the Ravagers. Visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken helped bring this stunning sequence to theaters, and recently opened up about the process of inserting Howard into Endgame, saying:
If Howard the Duck's in there, then it's kind of like everybody's in there, right? Nobody's missed out. We got that call from Marvel that and we were well underway with that shot and we were kind of close to finishing some of them, so it was a little bit of a scramble. But it wasn't totally last minute.
It looks like the idea of bringing Howard into the final battle against Thanos came relatively late into the process. But Matt Aiken and company had enough time to make it a reality, and include the fan favorite character in his third cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Howard The Duck got brought from Contraxia to Earth through one of the portals, facing off against the Mad Titan's countless forces.
In his conversation with Comic Book, Matt Aitken explained how the visual effects artists decided where to drop Howard the Duck. It was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment that most moviegoers missed on their first viewing. As Aitken revealed,
We said he had time to do it, and there was a nice little gap between a couple of the Ravagers that he would just drop right into. It was nice that he wasn't so obvious in the middle of the frame that everybody was going to see him straight away. It was a little bit of a nice little Easter egg that people would have to hunt out to a degree.
Howard The Duck's Endgame cameo might seem like a bit of fan service, but it makes sense within the canon of the MCU. The last we saw Howard, he had a hot date on Contraxia in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It stands to reason that he might be in that party spot when the dusted characters were revived, and hopped in a portal that the Ravagers were utilizing.
Despite not having a meaty role or much screen time, it still took Matt Aitken and his team of artists at Weta Digital a ton of work to fully render Howard the Duck, and insert him into the mind-blowing final battle. Aitken explained the kind of detail work that was needed, saying:
You can't skimp on these things, so he's a hero insert, he's got feathers, all the feathers are rigged. He's got hero pictures and he had to be animated. There's no corner-cutting in lots of this work, you just have to do it. But we did it all, and just delighted that he could be in there.
All that work really paid off, not only where Howard the Duck is concerned. The entire final battle was stunning, and had more action than the average viewer could ever keep track of. It was a sequence meant for the big screen, and one that fans will likely be dissecting with a fine toothed comb once Endgame is available for home purchase.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.