Though the Russo Brothers were tasked with constructing Avengers: Infinity War, nearly every active creative in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was involved. There's been a lot of talk amongst fans in the buildup to this year's big blockbuster about how well the film will be able to balance dozens of characters and storylines, despite Kevin Feige saying every MCU plot will feed into Avengers 3. But outside of coordinating so many arcs and actors, the massive movie also needed to pull in a number of directors.
While established films are easier to pull from, the lengthy filming process of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 means it's overlapped with the production of Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man & the Wasp, and more. To maintain continuity and tonal consistency, that's meant a lot of creatives on set for Marvel's epic team-up. Then there's key creatives who are taking charge of entire sections of the MCU, like how James Gunn is shaping Marvel's cosmic universe. So for the Russos Brothers, the whole thing has been a giant collaboration.
During Screen Rant's set visit to Avengers: Infinity War last summer, our own Rob Keyes heard from directors Anthony and Joe Russo about what it was like to work with so many creatives to pull together the threads and themes of multiple films and sub-franchises. And after name-checking just about every director in the MCU, Anthony Russo went in depth about the unique challenges of crafting what may be the biggest blockbuster ever.
"I would say collectively, everyone in the Marvel universe has been involved in this movie. We're very close with all the directors, we love them all. We have a lot of conversations with people constantly, we have a lot of talks with Taika, because that movie isn’t finished and he had executed things on set that we needed real information, about tonally, about the direction it was going in. The Guardians two movies existed in the same world, so we had an understanding of how those characters behaved.
I think James has functioned the same way that everyone has been functioning. I think it's a nod to James, the VP credit, that he really helped create those characters. But as far as how we're working, we're working in a real collaborative united artists approach to the movie. In respect to hearing people's ... where people are taking their characters. [Ant-Man and the Wasp] is just about to start shooting, so we need to keep in communication with Peyton constantly about story elements in that that may affect this. Coogler. Sorry, we didn't mention him. Ryan was in the middle of shooting Black Panther and he was here and we had several conversations, met with him many times, met with the crew many times with him, his production design department, we looked at fight vids from the story. We had a lot of interaction with Nate Moore, the producer, many text messages back and forth with Ryan.
It's really just trying to do the job of managing the universe as it's progressing."
While everyone has had to weigh in, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was likely a close collaborator. His film was shooting at the same time and on the same lot as Avengers: Infinity War, meaning there was plenty of crossover. What's more, but Wakanda is an anchor point for the MCU moving forward. That means that what Coogler crafted in his film needed to carry over, and Anthony Russo couldn't be more pleased with the results.
"And what we need from their storytelling to help move us forward. I think in particular on this one that was Ryan. Because he was shooting while we were shooting, and there was a lot of cross collaboration there. He's done an amazing job with the level of detail that he has brought to the Wakandan universe. Incredible. You see it in the trailer, it's mind-blowing."
Though the entire third act of Avengers 3 takes place in Wakanda, space will be a further frontier for the film. We know at least Iron Man and Spider-Man will end up on Titan with Thanos at some point, and the intergalactic nature of the film could mean a surprise appearance by the MCU's next hero: Captain Marvel. So while her film is only just getting started, the Russos were confident they'd work with Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck soon.
Anthony Russo: I'm sure they'll be by soon, but I think they're just getting their feet wet. They're figuring out the story that they want to tell. That's where Marvel is respectful, everybody gets to-
Joe Russo: Have their space-Anthony Russo: Have their space to come up with their individual visions for what they want to do, and then there's a point where it makes sense for us to intersect with them and talk about the storytelling.
I'm assuming we'll be meeting with them in the next month or so.
While the whole thing may seem like a case of too many cooks, the Russo Brothers make it clear that they were ultimately responsible for making the film, despite plenty of insight from other minds. It's a daunting task and one that's never been attempted before with a film, but if they can pull it off then Avengers: Infinity War could be both a smash hit and an entertaining entry into the MCU.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018