The tragic ending to Avengers: Infinity War left many fans speechless, and according to Kevin Feige, that's exactly what Marvel Studios wanted. Over the course of a decade of films, moviegoers have gotten to know the MCU's various heroes, and formed deep emotional attachments to characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. They've also quickly grown fond of newer MCU additions like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. It was these positive feelings that made the ending of Avengers: Infinity War so hard to watch for many, as beloved character after beloved character met a horrifying demise.
There are few moments in the history of superhero films that rival the sadness involved with seeing a teenage Peter Parker slowly turning to dust in Tony Stark's arms, and watching his face as the realization hits that his life has been cut short. While next summer's planned release of solo sequel Spider-Man: Far From Home means fans know for sure Spider-Man will return to the land of the living before the credits roll on Avengers: Endgame, that hasn't done much to lessen the continuing impact of deaths like his as fans continue to watch and re-watch Infinity War.
MCU movies tend to end on a happy note, with the hero usually triumphing over the forces of evil, even if they had to lose something or someone important to them along the way. That's one reason Infinity War is such a special MCU entry, as it led most fans to leave the theater in a state of shock and emotional exhaustion. It was exactly these kinds of feelings of surprise and sadness that Marvel Studios was hoping to elicit from fans with Infinity War's ending, as Feige made clear during a recent appearance on Variety's Playback podcast. Credit to Comic Book for transcribing Feige's quotes.
We did Infinity War and Endgame at the same time, but those have been the longest gestating movies we've ever made," said Feige. "Four years now, almost five years. And it was always about delivering on the promise that we had set up. And the way the world received Infinity War was amazing, it was exactly what we wanted.
And that ending, which we had been working on for many years, and I do remember people, on all of the movies we've made and I'm sure on many of the movies we'll make in the future, whenever the good guy wins, which is often — good guy, good woman, good hero wins — they go, 'Eh, it's kind of predictable. Good guy wins,'" Feige added. "Well, sometimes that's fun. But for years I remember thinking, 'I wonder what they're going to do when they don't?' Because we knew that was coming. And it couldn't have been better. The reaction was the best. The reaction. Was. The. Best.
Readers of Marvel Comics of course knew going into Infinity War that Thanos had succeeded in his quest to snap half the universe's population out of existence on the page, although statistically, only a fraction of the millions of people who watch each MCU movie are familiar with the events of the comics. Despite that disparity, Feige saw satisfying diehard Marvel readers as its own challenge, trying to both deliver the infamous climax they were expecting to see, but also do it in a way they weren't expecting to see it done. "We feel the pressure of delivering, and delivering on expectations, but in unexpected ways," says Feige.
That type of balancing act involving the expectations of fans will surely continue with Avengers: Endgame, as Feige, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and the rest of the Marvel Studios creative team no doubt hope that they've crafted an ending worthy of the 22-film arc the MCU has been presenting since Tony Stark first donned the Iron Man suit. Endgame will also need to find a way to bring back dusted heroes like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Scarlet Witch that doesn't feel like a narrative cheat. There are a lot of theories as to how that will happen, but for now, only those on the inside of the process know what awaits fans in the spring of 2019.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019