An achievement in filmmaking, comic book adaptation and blockbuster franchise work in general, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame brought eager audiences almost 6 hours worth of story to close out the first saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But if you thought that was a mammoth undertaking, just wait until you dive into the fact that this trim and svelte package came from 900 hours of footage cultivated through the film’s back-to-back shoots.
This wonderful nugget of information comes from Jeffrey Ford, the co-editor of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, who, alongside fellow co-editor Matthew Schmidt, was tasked to help directors Joe and Anthony Russo craft their unique vision for the grand finale of the original Avengers lineup. And alongside that figure, Ford provided the following commentary for just why there was so much footage at the end of the day:
We were cutting every day, we were refining, we were figuring out what we were going to reshoot, figuring out what we had to finish. It was a constant state of pre-production, production and postproduction all at the same time for almost a year straight.
It kind of makes even more sense that when we interviewed the Russo Brothers about the production of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, they had no problem confirming that the production of one film right after the other was one of their big regrets. Just imagining all of the shooting and editing on Infinity War running into pre-production, and eventually the shooting and editing of Endgame, is enough to potentially drive any civilian mad.
Jeffrey Ford confirmed as much when he spoke to Business Insider, as he continued to talk about that process in the following details:
And then when we finished that year of insanity we went right into an absolutely hellish, almost impossible postproduction period that lasted from January to April when we delivered Infinity War, and that was one of the most intense periods of filmmaking I ever experienced, and I have worked on some crazy movies.
Looking at how Ford has edited or co-edited each Avengers film, the entire Captain America trilogy and Iron Man 3 since 2012, those claims are as water tight as the work that’s come out of the editing rooms at Marvel Studios. It should be noted that the figure of 900 hours’ worth of footage, while daunting, should have some caveats attached to its existence.
This is probably counting multiple takes of certain scenes and even moments where scenes are being set up and broken down. However, that also means that with the reshoots and retooling we’ve heard about with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, there are moments we haven’t seen hidden in the fray.
Those moments include Tony’s daughter Morgan appearing to him in the post-snap afterlife, or that alternate battle that Black Widow and Hawkeye engaged in on Vormir in Avengers: Endgame. Add in other moments, like the Hulk being present in the line-up on Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War, or other moments created specifically for trailer fodder, and you can see some potential for this treasure trove of footage.
Namely, if Disney+ really wanted to give themselves a killer edge over the competition, not only could they offer the theatrical cuts of both films, they could provide alternate versions that fans will not be able to find anywhere else. And with this much footage available, it might be easy to smooth out some of the edges and provide a whole new experience fans didn’t know they wanted.
Still, even if that 900 hours of footage is just sitting somewhere in the Marvel Studios vault, it’s good to know that out of that massive wall of movie came two spectacular halves to an event we’ll be lucky to see as many times as we want in our lifetimes. And it’s all thanks to the efforts of Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt.
Avengers: Infinity War is available on Netflix for streaming, as well as Digital HD and home video release, while Avengers: Endgame is currently in theaters now, and will be on Disney+ as of December 11.