Over the course of 11 years and 23 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us a number of incredible moments. It would be hard to pick just one, but for the architect of the MCU, Marvel Studios President and Marvel CCO Kevin Feige, there may be an easy answer. Avengers: Endgame executive producer Trinh Tran suspects that Captain America’s ‘Avengers Assemble’ moment was Kevin Feige’s ‘highlight of all time.’ Speaking about that moment, she said:
I think that was Kevin’s highlight of all time. To be able to finally put those two words together and have him actually say it. We could have been happy if it ended there, you know? We knew that we wanted that to happen in Endgame, and it was trying to find, obviously, the right moment, and what other right moment than when everybody’s standing behind you and they’re ready to go? But I do vividly remember him: it was all green screen, all the characters were standing there, and Chris Evans was holding that, and when he actually first said it, I think it was silence before they all started charging, and we all felt that energy, that surge of 'this is happening. We’re going for it!'
During his tenure, Kevin Feige has shepherded and bore witness to franchise-defining moments, from ‘I am Iron Man’ and the 360° shot in The Avengers; to the introduction of Spider-Man and Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War. But if Trinh Tran is right, ‘Avengers Assemble’ is the biggest highlight of all for Kevin Feige. Like so many fans, Kevin Feige had been waiting a long time hear Captain America utter that famous phrase (first said by Thor in 1964’s The Avengers #10).
The Marvel Cinematic Universe films had held off on using the phrase for so long. It didn’t happen in The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War or even Avengers: Infinity War. So when Mjolnir flies into the hands of a worthy Steve Rogers in Endgame and he says “Avengers Assemble,” it was the ultimate highlight for Kevin Feige, because it had been earned and hearing it was the ultimate reward for a decade’s worth of work.
They could have ended Avengers: Endgame right there and been happy after finally delivering that moment. And this wasn’t just magical once all the special effects were put in and the score was added in the final film either, it was special behind the scenes too. As Trinh Tran told Slashfilm, they knew they wanted ‘Avengers Assemble’ in Endgame and they found the perfect moment, with all the recently snapped back heroes standing behind Cap.
Right as it was happening and Chris Evans said the words, there was electricity in the air, watching something truly special happening. Trinh Tran felt it and she imagines Kevin Feige did too, as she continued:
I wish I were able to actually read [Kevin’s] mind, because I remember him being there – he specifically flew in for the portal opening moment in Atlanta. I remember him talking to me afterwards and he said, 'That was the best moment I ever felt.' We all got chills, because when [Cap] uttered those words, those are what we’ve been wanting to hear for over a decade.
I can only imagine that Kevin Feige felt immensely proud in that moment. He flew in to Atlanta specifically to watch that scene being filmed, and even though he knew it was coming, just as many of us did right before it happened in theaters, it still proved incredibly impactful for him. The Marvel Studios President told Trinh Tran afterwards how great the chill-inducing moment made him feel, indicating that it was indeed the biggest highlight of his career.
Kevin Feige has previously spoken about how emotional this moment made him feel as he was watching it being filmed. Character deaths are emotional, but for him ‘Avengers Assemble’ got him even more misty-eyed, not just because what’s happening in story in that moment with all the heroes coming back to life, but because of what the scene represents. The scene makes him cry because it shows all the characters and actors that have been introduced in this universe over so many years, all coming together for this huge moment.
It’s a moment that will be hard to top and may never be topped. That doesn’t mean Kevin Feige isn’t going to try though. The MCU’s Phase 4 begins next year, and with it, Kevin Feige and Co. will be introducing more new actors and more new characters to this ever-expanding franchise.
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