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Avengers: Endgame Director Explains Film's All-Female Scene

The women of the MCU got their due in Avengers: Endgame.

A pivotal scene during the film's climax that featured every surviving female hero assembling to execute a critical task was one of its more rousing moments, and in a recent Los Angeles Times interview, co-director Anthony Russo explained his thought process in including it. We'll be getting into spoiler territory here, so be warned.

The moment came as the Avengers and the Wakandan army found themselves facing down an enormous Chitauri fleet brought from 2014 to the present by the past version of Thanos. Still in possession of the Tony Stark-crafted Infinity Gauntlet 2.0, which Bruce Banner had used to revive all of the dusted heroes, the team runs the craziest version of a relay race you've ever seen. They attempt to spirit the Gauntlet away across the battlefield to keep it out of the clutches of the Mad Titan, who now intends to use it to destroy all life in the universe so that he can create a new one — one that is more balanced, and is presumably less likely to contain superpowered heroes bent on foiling him. The Gauntlet is passed from Black Panther to Spider-Man to Captain Marvel, whom young Peter Parker naively asks how she intends to deal with the invading force and get the Gauntlet to safety.

The answer comes from Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff ("Don't worry...") and Danai Gurira's Okoye ("She's got help"). Suddenly, a squad of kickass female heroes materializes at Captain Marvel's side: in addition to Wanda and Okoye, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Nebula (Karen Gillan), the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in her Rescue armor arrive to join the fray. (Only Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, who had previously sacrificed herself in order to allow Hawkeye to obtain the Soul Stone, was absent.) The scene not only served as an amazing callback to the sequence in Avengers: Infinity War in which Widow and Okoye arrived in the nick of time to to join Maximoff in a knock-down, drag-out fight against Proxima Midnight, but it also provided an opportunity to get most of the women of the MCU in one frame together for the first time — and thereby demonstrate just how far the franchise has come in terms of representation.

Asked why he considered it to be important for the female heroes to join forces for the scene, Russo offered a simple explanation.

"Looking back on the entire road that the MCU has traveled, it just struck us how many amazing female characters have entered the [franchise]," the director said. "I think it was really, for us, a moment of celebration and acknowledgment of the intensity and empowerment in that."

Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely also opened up about the all-female scene, discussing the effort that went into crafting the moment and explaining why it had to happen. 

McFeely stated in an interview with The New York Times, "There was much conversation. Is that delightful or is it pandering? We went around and around on that. Ultimately we went, we like it too much." Added Markus, "Part of the fun of the "Avengers" movies has always been team-ups. Marvel has been amassing this huge roster of characters. You've got crazy aliens. You've got that many badass women. You've got three or four people in Iron Man suits."

The scene certainly felt like an honoring of the MCU's female characters, but the all-female moment within Avengers: Endgame might have hinted at things to come. Soon after the blockbuster success of Thor: Ragnarok in late 2017, Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson related how she and a laundry list of MCU actresses had put together a pitch for an all-woman team up film, basically ambushing Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige with their idea. 

"I think in that group was Brie Larson, myself, Zoe Saldana — although she ran off to the bathroom, I think, so she came midway through the pitch but she had been in the rev-up to it — [and] Scarlett Johansson," she said. "[Also] Pom [Klementieff] and Karen [Gillan]... We were just sort of all in a semicircle talking, and it just came up... and wouldn't it be nice if we could all work together?"

Thompson continued to say that while originally the group had entertained the idea of simply suggesting a team-up scene like the one in Endgame, they decided instead to go big. 

"We were sort of speculating on the ways in which it might happen in Infinity War, or might not happen... And we thought, 'No, we should just have a whole movie where we know every day we're going to arrive and get to work together,'" the actress said. So we just ran right up to Kevin Feige and started talking about it."

Feige was enthusiastic about the idea, telling Vulture in early 2018 that it was "all a matter of when and how." Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that such a team-up is right around the corner — Feige has been promising a Black Widow solo flick for years, which we're finally getting in 2020. But with Captain Marvel having made over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office and the strong audience reaction to the sneak preview team-up in Endgame, it seems like a no-brainer for Marvel to seriously explore the prospect of an all-female team flick at some point. There's even precedent in the recent history of Marvel Comics: A-Force, a series that ran from May 2015 to October 2016, featured an all-woman team led by She-Hulk and including Dazzler, Captain Marvel, the Inhuman Queen Medusa, Singularity, Nico Minoru of the Runaways, and Jane Foster during her stint as Thor.

Such an endeavor recently appeared to get a push from none other than Iron Man himself, as Robert Downey, Jr. hosted a lunch for all of the MCU's women who could attend (with Saldana and Gillan even showing up in character). 

Only time will tell if an all-female project is in the cards, but Marvel Studios brass really just need to ask themselves one question: would they like another guaranteed billion-dollar box office smash? Because putting all of Marvel's badass women in one film is how you get a guaranteed billion-dollar box office smash.