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Avengers: Endgame Has 'Even More' Spoilers Than Infinity War, Says Director Joe Russo

It was the great William Shakespeare who once said, "The Avengers: Endgame movie team doth guard too much, methinks." Or, wait, maybe it was some guy on Reddit who wrote that. 

Either way, it's no secret that Avengers: Endgame co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo are protecting the forthcoming film like their lives depend on it (which they sort of do — Marvel is serious about its stance on letting spoilers slip) and have intensified their anti-spoiler campaign from Avengers: Infinity War for Endgame. The third Avengers film featured a shocking ending (arguably the most unexpected and heartbreaking surprise conclusions in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and the Russo brothers went so far as to write a letter asking fans not to spoil the movie for people who hadn't yet seen it. 

In the weeks leading up to the launch of Endgame on April 26, the co-directors will probably get out their ink and quill to pen another message, as Endgame has even more jaw-dropping, spoiler-y moments than Infinity War

Chatting with Box Office Pro about Avengers: Endgame, Joe Russo opened up about the pressures of keeping everything under a heavy lock and key as well as the worry that something might make its way onto the web ahead of the film's release. 

"Yeah, we do feel that way," Russo said when asked whether he and Anthony felt paranoid about spoilers leaking. "At a certain point, I'm sure we'll write another letter this year that asks everyone to stay off the internet. I think this one has even more spoilers than the last one."

He continued, stating that he advises everyone wanting to see Avengers: Endgame to avoid seeking out information or trying to piece together what the film is all about; instead, Russo hopes they'll go in knowing as little as possible. Russo also suggested that fans head out to catch Endgame in theaters on opening weekend, since he's confident "everything is going to hit the internet the moment the movie hits the screen."

"This is a culture that wants everything now, and it's getting worse. The world is connected via social media, and information travels within seconds. If you've been following along with this narrative for 10 years, you're going to want to protect yourself. It's best to go in clean," said Russo, who later shared his reasoning for purposefully leaving details out of trailers (like not showing Mark Ruffalo's Hulk in any footage and keeping things as ambiguous as possible) and intentionally misleading audiences in the past (like having fans think Hulk would appear during the Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War based on one of the film's trailers, when that didn't end up actually happening). 

Russo explained that there is a "culture that monetizes secrets" around the Marvel movies (the Avengers series in particular), which he feels is "fair," but there's also an importance for filmmakers to "protect the story." He then detailed that he and his brother Anthony are trying to replicate the feeling he got when he was a child, watching Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back in theaters several times back to back because there was no other way to obtain information about the film. In shrouding Avengers: Endgame (and Avengers: Infinity War, too) in secrecy and going to great lengths to seal off spoilers until the film officially premieres, the Russos want to allow the audience a chance to be genuinely surprised, impressed, even moved by what they see on screen — just like Joe was when he first saw The Empire Strikes Back

"Because I knew nothing about what was going to happen in the film beyond what I'd seen in a trailer in front of a movie once or twice ... it was so shocking to me what happened that I was emotional watching it. That's the feeling that my brother and I are trying to replicate for other kids who want to be surprised," he explained. "It's why we limit the amount of information in trailers. That's why we obfuscate it."

Even though he's not letting his guard down when it comes to Endgame plot details, Joe Russo was candid about the filmmaking process, as well as the tone and message of the movie. 

"It's been a really unique experiment. It's been 10 years of multifaceted, serialized storytelling — multiple franchises with highly successful characters in every franchise. The audience has an emotional investment across all of the franchises in a way that I don't think has ever been done before in the film business," Russo said of bringing together over a decade of Marvel movie content for Endgame. "Certainly, there have been singular franchises like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars as you go down the list, but I don't know that anyone's ever done multiple franchises like this that have all built toward a finale like Endgame."

He added that Endgame will feel grand in terms of its visual scale and its narrative, both of which will truly rouse audiences, and that those who have been lucky enough to see the film already in test screenings responded incredibly positively to it. 

"We went through the pain and effort to shoot both Infinity War and Endgame in IMAX, so they've been shot in incredible scale. I think they're two of the biggest movies ever made from a character standpoint and from a visual standpoint. The scale is tremendous," Russo shared. "There's an energy and an excitement there that you're not going to get sitting at home. There's a sense of community. There are people cheering and laughing and crying and following along with the story collectively in a way I don't know you'll see again outside of the Star Wars franchise. The emotional connection is so strong for a lot of people."

He continued, "We're very rigorous about storytelling points, and we spend months in the edit room twisting and turning the narrative a bunch of different ways until we think we've unlocked the best one. We're vigilant about using test audiences to tell us whether we're on the right track or we're making bad decisions. With Endgame, it had one of the most incredible audience responses in Marvel history. Irrespective of the length, it's been consistently embraced by the test audiences."

And speaking of the film's run time, Russo confirmed that Endgame will be roughly three hours long — but there's a reason for that. "This one's been very specific in its run time. It really hasn't changed since we executed the first cut of the film. Even though we've shot a lot of footage between now and then, we've swapped things out and the water keeps rising to the same level because the story's so dense. We have so many characters that we're working with again that require that kind of run time," he explained. "My brother and I are really committed to emotional stakes, and emotion requires story real estate. When you have a sprawling plot with a lot of characters and emotional stakes, it requires time to breathe emotionally. On the scale, you're just going to wind up at a certain run time. We've been really hard on the film. We don't like excessive run times; it's just very difficult wrapping up 10 years of storytelling."

So, if the real story of Avengers: Endgame won't be revealed until the film launches on April 26, and if the Russos advise against poring over footage to theorize the plot, what do fans have to go off when preparing for the movie? Russo shared a powerful remark regarding the themes Endgame will explore: "In Endgame, it's exactly what you alluded to. What is the definition of 'hero'? All four of those films, when looked at together, ask that question and try to answer that thematic: What does it mean to be a hero and what does it mean to stand up?"

Russo offered up one more tasty tidbit for us to savor while we wait for Avengers: Endgame to debut, teasing that the film is "going to be a unique and singular experience in movie history, and people are going to want to share that experience together — even more than Infinity War, frankly." April 26 can't come fast enough.