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Avengers: Endgame Contained A Cameo Just For Fantasy Sports Fans

Avengers: Endgame was heavy on the fan service cameos, but one brief appearance was meant for a specific type of fan.

During one key scene in the blockbuster flick, sharp-eyed viewers spotted Matthew Berry, the ESPN fantasy sports expert, as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent — an appearance made possible by co-director Joe Russo's fantasy football obsession. (via io9) Please note that spoilers for Endgame follow.

Berry was easy to miss, due to the fact that his turn was slightly overshadowed by another, much more high-profile cameo. It came during the scene in which Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Scott Lang, having just snagged the Tesseract during their return trip to 2012's Battle of New York, are confronted by a phalanx of agents insisting that they turn it over to S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. They are led by Alexander Pierce (the legendary Robert Redford), whom the pair know — thanks to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier — to be a HYDRA turncoat. Mayhem ensues, and Loki ends up escaping with the Tesseract — but not before Berry was given his brief time to shine as one of the agents flanking Pierce.

It's not often that a fantasy sports guru, even an extremely successful and knowledgeable one, finds himself sharing the frame with the biggest stars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and one stone-cold screen icon in one of the biggest movies of all time; okay, that's never happened before, and will almost certainly never happen again. But according to Berry, it all came about due to Russo's familiarity with his work, owing to the director's rabid fantasy fandom.

"It happened through the grace of Joe Russo," he told io9 in a recent phone interview. "He's been reading my column for years, and he's a big fantasy football player. And about two years ago he gave me a call and said 'Hey man, I got a part that I think is perfect for you if you want to be in the movie'. And I was like 'Yeah, of course,' obviously."

Berry went on to explain that he was told that he'd be playing somebody "official," and that he'd be sharing the screen with Thor, the Hulk, and Iron Man. His head was still presumably spinning in disbelief when he got a call from someone in Endgame's costume department to get his suit size, which led him to believe that his part would that of a police detective or the like — since, of course, S.H.I.E.L.D. had long since disbanded, and the flick's time travel elements weren't yet public knowledge.

When he arrived on set in November 2017, Berry signed a phone book's worth of NDAs before getting his hands on his script pages — which simply confused the heck out of him. "They hand me the script, it's like two pages...and it makes no sense to me," he said. "All it is is the dialogue. I see dialogue between Alexander Pierce, my character, Tony Stark, and Thor. Then, you see like one or two lines from 'Other Tony' and I'm [saying], 'What the heck is Other Tony?'"

Once the actual business of shooting the scene commenced, Berry copped to being just as star-struck as the rest of us would have been in his situation, saying, "Forget actors. Forget movie stars. I'm surrounded by iconic legends. I mean, I'm in a frame with Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Redford, Chris Hemsworth, and me. Like, one of the shots in the movie is literally just [the] four of us. That's bananas to think about."

Of course, as soon as it dawned on him what the scene's setting was and who he was sharing it with, Berry became keenly aware of just why he'd had to sign all those NDAs. "I'm in the lobby of Stark Tower. They're wearing what they were wearing in The Avengers. Clearly, it's either a flashback or it's time travel," he said. "Also, Alexander Pierce is there. He's dead." Of course, for roughly a year and a half until Endgame's release, he couldn't share a single detail of the scene that he'd shot — including the fact that he'd literally been in frame with Robert freaking Redford — with anybody, not even his wife.

As if hobnobbing with one of the greatest actors of all time weren't cool enough, Berry went on to relate that Tony Stark himself had gone out of his way to encourage him during the shoot, saying, "Downey turned to me and said 'You're doing very well.' He said, 'Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.' And I said, 'Robert, coming from you that's an amazing compliment. I will take that. Thank you very much."

Okay, Mr. Berry, we'll admit it: we're super-jealous of you, and that's a really cool story. Berry wrapped up the interview by noting that he felt he'd nailed his role by virtue of, well, not standing out at all. "The scene is about Tony Stark and Thor running into Alexander Pierce while they have Loki and the Tesseract. That's what the scene is about. You don't want anyone to take you out of that moment. The fact that they just go 'Oh, look. There's a S.H.I.E.L.D. guy there' makes me feel like I did a good job."

We concur, and we'll be anxiously awaiting the announcement of the standalone flick What's-His-Name: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Or Maybe HYDRA) for Marvel's Phase 4. In the meantime, we're going to go take in Avengers: Endgame — currently tearing it up on screens all over the world — again.