By Michael Sangiacomo
Avengers: Endgame is almost upon us and, given the ridiculous amount of security surrounding it, it would be stupid to make predictions about the much-anticipated ending.
I’ve interviewed Joe and Anthony Russo at least five times, including just last week, and neither have given even the slightest spoiler to the grand finale of the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Well, maybe a little.
The Russo brothers, born and raised in Cleveland and comic fans all their lives, said that at the end of Endgame the Marvel Universe as we know it will be forever changed.
“Endgame is the ending of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe that started with Iron Man. It all comes together here, all of it. We have no plans to do another film, but on the other hand we might like to work with Marvel again someday down the line.”
When asked to tell us something about the post-Endgame Marvel universe, Anthony Russo was emphatic.
“No, I can’t speak to it, specifically,’ he said. “I won’t give any spoilers. Joe and I want to make sure that people can have the full experience in the theater. As I said, this is a closure of the Marvel Universe, but with every closure there is a new beginning.”
As anyone who’s seen Infinity War can attest, there is not much of the Marvel universe left after the end of that movie.
Spoiler alert for the benefit of the seven people who have not yet seen it, what follows are some facts about the previous film, which made more than $2 BILLION worldwide. Russo laughed when told that was more than the annual Gross National Product of many countries, including Greenland and Monaco.
Anyway, in the 2018 film the evil, godlike villain Thanos took possession of the Infinity gems which gave him control of everything: time, space, reality, the whole shebang.
Thanos believed that the universe would be a better place with fewer people, so at the end of the movie he snapped his fingers and half the living creatures on Earth dissolved.
Shown dissolving were Spider-Man, Black Panther, Winter Soldier, Doctor Strange, and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The survivors (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, Ant-Man, War Machine), with an assist from Captain Marvel, will take on Thanos.
Suspicious people have noted that the “survivors” (mostly the original Avengers) were the big paycheck actors whose contracts were ending, so maybe they are really the ones on the way out.
“No comment,” said Russo. “Really, I don’t want to spoil it.”
“Keep in mind that there was a rift between Cap and Iron Man in Civil War, that has never healed,” Russo said. “They did not reconcile in Infinity War and that prevented them from working as a team. Perhaps that is the reason Thanos won. I’m not saying anymore.”
Not wishing to challenge the director, it seems to me after rewatching Infinity War that there was one pivotal moment: when that idiot Star-Lord punched Thanos just as the other heroes were just about to remove the infinity gauntlet. Keeping in mind I’m just spitballing here, if someone were to travel back in time and trip Star-Lord, everything would change. Also, there has always been a line between the cinematic Avengers and the classic comic book Avengers. The movie band has a lot more in common with The Ultimates, the Avengers of the Marvel Ultimate Universe which has since been destroyed. Perhaps Endgame closes with a shift from that universe to the more familiar Earth of the comics, known to comic geeks as Earth 616. That would allow new actors to take on the familiar roles of the expensive guys.
Again, I know nothing but, just saying.
On a related subject, should fans read any Avengers collected trade paperbacks before seeing “Endgame?” Sure, and here are some of the fan-favorite Avengers trades, compiled by Comics Are Go owner Eric Anderson and me. Movie or no movie, these are worth checking out.
You can always begin with the Marvel Essential series, affordable black and white reprints. They’re mostly out of print these days, but most comic shops have some in stock.
To check out the foundations of the Infinity War storyline, try Infinity War,
Infinity Crusade, and Avengers vs. Thanos.
For classic Avengers stories, look for The Kree/Skrull War, Avengers Disassembled, Avengers Forever, The Celestial Madonna Saga, Avengers Defenders War, and The Korvac Saga.
And for a change of pace, Young Avengers and The Ultimates.
If you’ve never read the The Korvac Saga or The Kree Skrull War, your life is incomplete.