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Ways The Russos Could Be Lying About Endgame

Since the moment Nick Fury's pager flashed the Captain Marvel icon and theater screens went dark after the end of Infinity War, fans have clamored for something, anything to help them prepare for the fourth Avengers installment. We didn't get a trailer, or even a title, for over seven months, but once the floodgates opened, the quantity of information Marvel opted to release was robust, to say the least. From finally getting a title to two longer trailers, a Super Bowl spot, a "Special Look" trailer, a series of mysterious posters, and a short sneak peek, the studio cranked its promotional machine up to 11 for the closing chapter of its historically successful Infinity Saga. But just because we ended up seeing Avengers: Endgame promotional material plastered all over every entertainment site in existence doesn't mean that it actually told us much. In fact, there's a good chance it didn't tell us much of anything at all.

Thoroughly in keeping with Marvel's history of keeping secrets whenever possible, directing duo Joe and Anthony Russo have repeatedly warned fans that we shouldn't believe everything we see in Marvel Cinematic Universe trailers. In an interview with Empire Magazine (via ComingSoon.net), the Russos revealed that they had worked hard to ensure that the marketing department studiously avoided leaking any surprises from the film. What levels did they stoop to in order to maintain that precious element of the unknown? Here's a look at all the ways the Russos could be lying about Avengers: Endgame.

So, what exactly is in there, then?

"We use all the material that we have at our disposal to create a trailer. We look at the trailer as a very different experience than the movie," Joe and Anthony Russo told Slashfilm after Infinity War's release. "So at our disposal are lots of different shots that aren't in the movie that we can manipulate through CG to tell a story that we want to tell specifically for the purpose of the trailer and not for the film." This revelation wasn't just important for digesting the Infinity War experience. It was also a critical warning for the promotional whirlwind already on the horizon in support of Endgame.

The fact that the Russos consider all of the film as usable promotional content and that they're willing to add CGI in order to craft a separate narrative for a trailer completely undoes everything filmgoers might think they've "figured out" as they head to the theaters opening weekend. As scarred fans may recall, this isn't the first time they've tampered with promotional materials, either.

The 'lying' Russos

Trust is built over time, and the Russos have proven that the only thing we can count on from them is a steady string of well-made movies. Everything else is open season. For proof, look no further than the trailer for the 2018 blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. Everyone remembers that thrilling shot showing the entire team in Wakanda — conspicuously including the Hulk — running at the screen, ready to face an apparently formidable foe. And then the film arrived, and... the shot was nowhere to be found. Misdirection at its finest.

Within months the duo was right back at it. As Comicbook.com so lovingly put it, Joe Russo "lied to us about the title" of Avengers: Endgame when asked if it was ever spoken in Infinity War. While it can be argued that the entire title wasn't uttered in the film — and it's been pointed out that technically Tony Stark mentioned the "endgame" way back in Age of Ultron — the point still stands that if something will keep fans off track, the Russos won't hesitate to go there.

The question at this point is where and how the Russos have gone about dolling up portions of pre-release Endgame footage in order to mislead rabid fans. Here's a look at a few of the possibilities.

The first 20 minutes?

According to Marvel boss Kevin Feige, the footage from the first Endgame trailer only featured clips from the first 15 or 20 minutes of the film... which, given that the final cut clocks in at a little over three hours, leaves a lot of the movie still nowhere to be seen. He also added that it was "somewhat accurate" that future promotional clips would be primarily drawing from that same early chunk of the film. Of course, "somewhat accurate" is a bit unsettling, as it leaves open the possibility that they could throw a quick shot or two in there from a climactic sequence later on in the story.

The more material that's become available over time, the harder it's been to believe that we're even "somewhat" still in the beginning of the movie. Sure, there have been plenty of clips of the team sulking around in the aftermath of Thanos' Decimation, but there have also been a number of action sequences and a variety of costume changes. The fact that Black Widow has been shown with both short blonde and long red hair seems to indicate that a lot of ground is being covered. At this point, it would be impressive if it all showed up in the first hour, let alone 15-20 minutes.

Reunion or no reunion, that is the question

Ever since Iron Man and Captain America threw down over the Sokovia Accords during Captain America: Civil War, fans have been anxiously awaiting the inevitable reunion of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. It seemed to be a safe bet that we'd get some kind of moment between the two in Infinity War, but the writers just couldn't fit it in. We finally got what we'd been looking for when the Special Look spot revealed an emotional scene between the two heroes as they reestablished their trust.

All was well in the world once again, and fans everywhere rejoiced... until the Russos dropped a bomb. In an interview not long after, Joe Russo starkly announced that the shot straight up wasn't in the movie. Of course, his brother followed up with the possibility that, well, maybe it did end up in there after all. The brothers laughed with glee as they tortured bewildered Marvel fans with the tantalizing possibility that we still may not actually see Rogers and Stark link up again onscreen. It's hard to believe they'd deny the audience a chance to see some closure for one of the cornerstone relationships in the MCU, but it definitely isn't out of the realm of possibility. Just hang onto those warm fuzzies you felt for a few seconds while watching this clip and hope for the best.

Black, white, and red all over

One major theme throughout all of the promotional material has been a series of black and white sequences with distinct splashes of red accents sprinkled throughout. Speculation has been all over the place as everyone has searched for what, exactly, the black, white, and red combination could mean. Could it represent death? The Reality Stone? Scarlet Witch's powers? What the heck is going on here?

What's especially unsettling is who's been highlighted. In general, most characters were victims of Thanos' snap, with the clips showing their backstory. In fact, when the posters were released, a clear pattern of "colored in means alive" and "black and white means snapped" seemed to emerge — with the exception of the still very much alive Rocket in the original sequence. However, the second trailer also showcased the "big three" — Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor — all in the mostly monochrome memory sequences as well.

Now that the Russos have made it so abundantly clear that misleading is a part of the marketing strategy, one more question needs to be asked: is all of this simply a "red" herring? What if none of it really means anything other than the fact that somebody messed with the color palette when they were bored one day and they decided to run with it? With these directors — and this studio — anything is possible.

A snapped Wakandan

One supporting character that has been causing a boatload of buzz all on her own in the Endgame countdown is Shuri. T'Challa's brilliant sister had a small but important role during Infinity War as she desperately attempted to get the Mind Stone out of Vision's forehead before Thanos arrived. The princess of Wakanda ended up being a curious case, as she didn't get any form of legitimate closure at the end of the movie, leaving fans wondering if she had fallen victim to the snap.

It wasn't until the first trailer dropped that we found out she was, at the least, missing. The series of posters that followed revealed Shuri among the black and white characters, heavily implying that she was a victim of the Decimation. While the information regarding her status is helpful in a small way (if it's true), the bigger question is why is she's showing up so often in the promotional material in the first place. Is she going to have a bigger role to play in a currently Black-Panther-less world? Or is it just another misdirect?


Another supporting character of particular interest is Valkyrie. The Asgardian warrior was a smash hit in Thor: Ragnarok, where she easily filled the role of a female lead with a cocky confidence that quickly endeared audiences. Naturally, everyone looked for her to get back in on the action in Infinity War, especially since the film literally started on the ship she was on when Ragnarok ended.

But when the rubber hit the road, she pulled a Hulk and ended up nowhere to be found. Joe Russo comforted fans after the fact with the revelation that she did, indeed, survive the run-in with Thanos, but little else surfaced regarding Valkyrie's post-snap status until the posters were released, finally displaying a fully colored Valkyrie, indicating that she's alive and well... and ready to help get some revenge on the Mad Titan.

But once again, the question still remains: does all of this really mean anything regarding the fate of Tessa Thompson's character or is it just an attempt to distract everyone from what's really going on? With all the false advertising going on, perhaps we won't end up seeing Valkyrie until a fourth Thor film manages to come together.

Who's hiding?

The fact that Hulk was literally CG-ed into Infinity War footage where he didn't belong truly let fans know that all bets were off heading into Endgame promotional territory. However, as the advance looks have trickled out of Marvel's tightly sealed vault, the speculation has swung from "who's being added in?" to "who's being cropped out?" The Super Bowl spot, in particular, got a ton of attention due to a couple of scenes that seemed to deliberately leave gaps between characters that were otherwise evenly spaced.

Fans pointed out that a shot showing Cap and the team looking up into the sky had a huge empty area, while the first shot of the crew striding in slo-mo through the Avengers HQ hangar seemed to also have an unevenly spaced gap. While speculation on this level would normally be left for the superfans to discuss on Reddit, the Russos' stance on tailoring trailer footage has officially made it a topic of extreme interest as everyone takes a stab at guessing who they think has been removed from each scene.

No Hulk?

The Hulk being added into the Infinity War trailer has come up several times now, and with good reason. Everyone loves seeing the Green Machine do his thing, and yet we haven't seen him in action since he squared off against Thanos — and was soundly beaten — during the opening moments of Infinity War.

Of course, the fact that he's about to finish a three-movie story arc has everyone on the edge of their seats to see how his story will play out. Many are expecting to finally see Professor Hulk in action, while others think Endgame may be the Jade Giant's swan song. However that may be, the fact that the marketers refuse to put a clip of Hulk into the Endgame promotional footage is maddening. Bruce Banner has shown up multiple times, but the fact that the Russos haven't allowed the slightest glimpse of green onto the screen makes one wonder what, exactly, they're hiding... and if he really is supposed to be in some of those scenes after all.

Walking the hangar

One theme that has featured heavily throughout the Endgame promotions are the shots of everyone slo-mo walking through the Avengers HQ hangar. The clips are cool and all, but the fact that the sequence shows up twice, in separate trailers, and with completely different people and uniforms is perplexing. Did the Russos really film two nearly identical clips of different groups walking, The Right Stuff-style, through the same space?

The way each scene is presented is also a bit disconcerting, too. The second trailer shows several close-up shots of the group, all jumbled together. It's a minefield for potential CGI confusion. The Super Bowl spot takes the opposite approach and gives one shot from further back, which also happens to include that mysterious gap in the line of heroes. Why the two scenes? Is everybody really present? Who's been edited out? Why the white and red uniforms? Are those even in the movie? How could the Russos do this to us?

Fighting Thanos

The Special Look trailer finally brought us a shot of Thanos geared up and ready for action again. Literally, the dude is covered head to toe in armor, while apparently "beaming down" to a location. This shot begs a pair of questions. First, why is he wearing armor? As Infinity War plays out, Thanos slowly leaves his armor behind, evidently unneeded now that he has the Infinity Stones to protect him. Second, why is he beaming down? He has the Space Stone, right?

Perhaps the Infinity Gauntlet simply couldn't take the pressure and broke during the snap. That's what Joe Russo seems to have implied in the past. But then again, what if they've traveled back in time in that scene? Time travel and the Quantum Realm are heavily rumored to be a big part in the film, and this shot, which centers on a CGI character, is a perfect opportunity for some tampering. Was the armor added just for the trailers? Is Thanos even there at all?

Preserving the narrative

Of course, while it's fun to get worked up over feeling betrayed by the Russos, the truth is, they're doing it all out of love — even if it clearly comes with a big helping of personal amusement on the side. Speaking with Empire, Joe Russo summed up the directors' feelings perfectly when he said, "The thing that's most important to us is that we preserve the surprise of the narrative."

While they may be having fun, this immensely talented pair of directors isn't just trolling fans for the heck of it. They're aware that they're sitting on a goldmine of tantalizing information that tens of millions of fans can't wait to see. But they want the experience to be a good one, not spoiled by bad timing or excessive information before the first viewing.

Joe Russo summed up what he and his brother are aiming for by adding that "When I was a kid and saw The Empire Strikes Back at 11AM on the day it opened... It so profoundly moved me because I didn't know a damn thing about the story I was going to watch. We're trying to replicate that experience." Here's to hoping they really do pull off the cinematic surprise of a lifetime with Avengers: Endgame.