Avengers: Infinity War had some high stakes, with trillions of lives threatened by Thanos, but directors Anthony and Joe Russo say those stakes will only deepen further in Avengers 4. The directing duo made their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the success of that movie led to them being tapped to direct Marvel's most ambitious movies yet - a choice that paid off handsomely. Infinity War scored the biggest opening weekend box office in history, and anticipation is already building for next year's follow-up, which is currently known only as Avengers 4.
It's safe to say that Infinity War's ending has left audiences clamoring to see what comes next. The film brings together the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy in a group effort to prevent Thanos from collecting all six Infinity Stones and carrying out his goal of destroying half of all life in the universe - ostensibly to bring "balance."
Speaking in an interview with Variety, the Russos admitted that there was deliberate misdirection used in the trailers for Avengers: Infinity War in order to keep fans guessing about what would happen. The movie's release has been accompanied by the social media campaign #ThanosDemandsYourSilence, which pleads with those who've seen the movie to not give the game away for those who haven't. But anyone who's seen the Russos' Captain America movies - The Winter Soldier and Civil War - will know to expect Infinity War's ending to completely shift the dynamic of the MCU. Joe Russo explained:
"[Marvel have] always been risk-takers… If you look at every film we’ve done for Marvel, there are huge, game-changing events at the end of the movies. We are interested in pushing the boundaries and pushing the story forward in unexpected ways, surprising the audience as much as we can."
One of the common criticisms of Captain America: Civil War was that the stakes didn't feel real. The only casualty of the movie was Rhodey, who is back in action as War Machine for Infinity War. Moreover, some felt that the fact that there was another Avengers movie on the way undermined Civil War's drama about the Avengers breaking up. Now, Infinity War is being subjected to similar criticisms that the ending's stakes aren't real, because of how fans believe Avengers 4 will play out. However, Anthony Russo promised that "there is a real commitment on our end to the stakes."
"Unless you have real stakes, you’re sort of limited in terms of the emotional impact a story can have on you. You have to go to very difficult places for the stakes to feel real, for the characters to feel like they have something to lose, for the audience to feel like they have something at risk. What we’re looking for in storytelling or art is emotional catharsis. And that’s not simply getting what you want. It’s getting an emotional experience that makes you feel and respond to it and energizes you on some level."
As for whether or not Avengers: Infinity War's ending could be completely undone by Avengers 4, the Russos say things won't be that easy. "This is a fantasy world, and yes, remarkable things can happen in a fantasy world," said Anthony Russo. "[But] they come at an incredibly high cost," Joe Russo added cryptically.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018