Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What The Final Days On The Set Of Avengers: Endgame Were Like

An era ended, history was made, and a Mad Titan fell at last. 2019's Avengers: Endgame features the epic conclusion of the Infinity Saga, first introduced in 2008's Iron Man and told throughout 23 films in Phases One, Two, and Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Earth's Mightiest Heroes face their most powerful villain yet in the form of Thanos, who, after being teased in a post-credits scene in The Avengers, finally enacts his plan to wipe out half of all life using the Infinity Stones.

Endgame begins at a bleak point for the Marvel heroes. Post-Snap, half of their ranks are dusted into non-existence, including major players such as Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and the Scarlet Witch. It is left to the remaining team to save the day as they travel back in time through the Quantum Realm to undo Thanos' devastation, resurrect their fallen friends, and save half the population of the universe. Characters from the preceding films in the MCU show up for the final fight, but ultimately the original team remains the heart of the film. Fans witness the deaths of Iron Man and Black Widow, and bid farewell to Steve Rogers as he takes a final trip through time to reunite with Peggy Carter.

The MCU's future is in good hands with Disney+ hits WandaVision and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Still, it's clear that Endgame was an emotional experience for the cast, crew, and fans, as we all said farewell — for now — to the Avengers. Here's what those last days were like on the set.

The Russo brothers bid farewell to the First Avenger

The MCU timeline begins with Steve Rogers, who refuses to give up on his dream of fighting for the Allies in World War II despite being born with a slender build and a variety of ailments that lead to repeated refusals from the draft board. Steve is, quite literally, the little guy. He represents the underdog, someone who understands struggle and strives to create a better, fairer world no matter how hard he has to fight in order to help make it happen. Steve's good heart is the reason Doctor Erskine gives him the super-soldier serum (he's a good man, not a perfect soldier). Later, it makes him the perfect person to lead the Avengers and protect the world. 

And Chris Evans was the perfect person to play Captain America. During a Q&A Twitter thread co-hosted with ComicBook.com, Endgame directors the Russo brothers posted emotional behind the scenes footage from Evans' last day playing Steve Rogers. The actor received a round of applause from the rest of the cast, an emotional and well-deserved moment for the star who'd played the First Avenger for ten years. Evans' portrayal of Cap skyrocketed them both to new heights. The legacy they leave behind is worth a standing ovation, at least.

Chris Evans found filming the final days of Avengers: Endgame 'surprisingly emotional'

During an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Chris Evans answered a series of questions as part of a Q&A with fans. One attendee asked the actor about his final memories from the set of Endgame, and Evans revealed that filming his final days as Captain America was a "surprisingly emotional" experience, as he and Steve prepared to retire from the MCU.

Evans first appeared as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, released in 2011. He subsequently donned the stars, stripes, and shield again for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, four Avengers films, and brief cameos in Thor: The Dark World and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Evans also revealed that he took Cap's shield and cowl home after the final days of filming Endgame as a parting gift to commemorate the decade he spent portraying the iconic hero.

Iron Man, we love you 3000

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe said goodbye to a founding member of the Avengers during one of Endgame's most emotional moments. Tony Stark, the genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist otherwise known as Iron Man, makes the ultimate sacrifice in the final fight against Thanos. The Mad Titan gets his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet once more, but not before Tony can remove the Stones and use them for a Snap of his own.

It could be theorized that Tony foresaw his fate as far back in the MCU as Age of Ultron. During the film's opening sequence, which features the Avengers storming a Hydra compound and seizing the Mind Stone, Wanda Maximoff manipulates Tony's mind with her latent chaos magic, revealing a bone-chilling vision of the Avengers dead and defeated. The vision, along with his foreboding promise "up there, that's the endgame," suggests that Tony knew what Doctor Strange did in Infinity War; for everyone else to live, Tony had to die.

The Russos shared additional behind the scenes footage on Twitter from Robert Downey Jr.'s last day on set, showing another standing ovation for the Iron Man actor. Dubbed "the very definition of a legend" by the directors, Downey also leaves behind an incredible Marvel legacy worthy of wielding Infinity Stones.

The final days on set for Endgame caught Robert Downey Jr. in the feels

Robert Downey Jr. shared his experience of Endgame's final days of production on Instagram, posting a video that sees him addressing the crew members and jokingly referencing one of his many co-stars named Chris in the MCU before receiving a round of applause for his work. The Iron Man actor then shares a farewell embrace with various people, including Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo and the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige. As anyone who's ever worked in an office knows, that kind of familial embrace doesn't happen everywhere, and the clip speaks to just how deeply the cast and crew bonded.

Downey states in the caption that he had "nothing more than feelings" about his time in the MCU coming to an end, echoing his fellow Marvel veteran Chris Evans' statement about his "emotional" final days on set. Both actors portrayed Marvel titans who, it could be said, proved to be the pillars of the cinematic universe, fighting side by side throughout the saga — and even briefly against each other in Captain America: Civil War. Downey was eager to express his emotion and gratitude for the experience, hash-tagging his appreciation on his MCU wrap.

The 'I am Iron Man' moment was the final scene shot for the film

Iron Man's final words in Avengers: Endgame have become iconic, so it's hard to imagine that they didn't make it into the first cut of the film. During the Evening with Joe Russo Q&A Twitter thread with Comicbook.com, Russo also revealed that Tony originally stayed silent after his Snap with the Infinity Stones during earlier versions of Endgame.

Tony's death was all about his arc coming full circle — cast and crew shot the scene close to where Downey Jr. filmed his screen test for Iron Man. Adding the "I am Iron Man" line was a last-minute change suggested by Endgame editor Jeff Ford, adding an epic response to Thanos' declaration "I am inevitable" while also referencing Tony's "I am Iron Man" line in the first Iron Man film.

Downey was reportedly reluctant to return to set. The actor had already filmed his final days as Tony Stark, and having to get back into the character's headspace again proved to be a difficult experience. In the end, however, Iron Man's last line made it into the film, sealing his character's legacy with a fitting final comeback.

The MCU timeline says goodbye to another original member of the Avengers team

Iron Man isn't the only hero to give their life to save the universe from Thanos and the Black Order. After the five-year flash forward in Endgame, audiences see a defeated and desperate Natasha Romanoff, the spy known as Black Widow who MCU fans were first introduced to in Iron Man 2, leading the remaining Marvel characters as she struggles to hold the world together in the aftermath of the Snap. Ultimately, she sacrifices her life to retrieve the Soul Stone from Vormir following an emotional tussle with her friend Hawkeye.

In The Avengers, Natasha reveals that she is largely motivated by guilt. She has red in her ledger, as she puts it, and she wants to wipe it out. Endgame sees her make the ultimate sacrifice to do this, and during an interview with Total Film, Scarlett Johansson explained why she thought Natasha's sacrifice was the right ending for her character. "She was finally able to make an active choice," Johansson argued, suggesting that, like Tony, Natasha knew deep down that her death was destined all along. Endgame marks Natasha's final appearance on the timeline, though fans can see her again in her 2021 solo film Black Widow.

Tom Holland originally thought he was filming Tony's wedding instead of his funeral scene

Is Tom Holland the Marvel Cinematic Universe's king of spoilers? It's likely. The third actor to don the mantle of Spider-Man since 2002, Holland has a track record of being unable to keep the MCU's surprises secret — he accidentally leaked the title of his second film as the web-slinging teen hero, Spider-Man: Far from Home, in a social media post. Holland also inadvertently spoiled some of Avengers: Infinity War for a group of fans in a theatre, and his inability to keep a secret has become a recurring meme for the Marvel fandom. 

To keep Iron Man's heartbreaking and heroic sacrifice a secret, the Russo brothers nicknamed Tony's funeral scene "The Wedding" throughout production of Endgame. The MCU actors, Holland included, were kept in the dark about what was really happening in scenes they were filming so as to avoid spoiling the film before its debut. This explains why Holland and other cast members look pretty neutral during Tony's funeral scene — they didn't know the character had died!

Other MCU cast members had no idea what scene they were filming during production

Spider-Man star Tom Holland wasn't the only actor denied access to the full script for Avengers: Endgame during filming. During a 2019 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Sebastian Stan, who plays Bucky Barnes a.k.a the Winter Soldier, revealed that he often had no idea what was happening during the scene he was acting in throughout production. The filmmakers went to great measures to keep the film under wraps, including keeping most of the cast in the dark about the scenes they were filming. Many important scenes were shot in the utmost secrecy — most notably, Tony Stark's funeral.

Stan recalled that he was "told there was a wedding," referencing the Russo brothers' spoiler-free title for Tony's farewell sequence. The actor went on to say that everything he filmed he discovered that day, highlighting the secrecy that shrouded Avengers: Endgame to stop the story from leaking and ruining the spoiler-free experience for fans. 

Only one Marvel actor read the full script

Of all the cast members in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, only Robert Downey Jr. had access to the full script throughout production. This is likely because of his character's fate in the final fight of the film, a moment that defines and completes Iron Man's incredible arc as he ends his 10-year stint with a heroic sacrifice for the greater good. Presumably, Downey had a vested and active interest in making sure the movie would do his character's story justice, wrapping up his final appearance in the Marvel franchise with a bang rather than a fizzle. 

Iron Man is so integral to Endgame and the Infinity Saga that his Snap with the Infinity Stones was the final shot to be completed during post-production, two weeks before the film premiered in theaters. The VFX team worked hard to perfect Tony's last act, ultimately delivering a dazzling shot of Iron Man's suit absorbing the Infinity Stones as the hero snaps his fingers and turns Thanos and his army into dust.

Elizabeth Olsen on filming that iconic all-female team-up in Endgame

Endgame features epic moment after epic moment throughout its three-hour runtime: Captain America wielding Mjolnir, Iron Man's Snap, Captain Marvel destroying a spaceship... The list goes on. Marvel went all out to give the Infinity Saga the action-packed, heartfelt conclusion it deserved. One major moment includes a scene when female characters from across the MCU team up on the battlefield against Thanos' army. This exciting moment lays the groundwork for a future all-female movie in the MCU that could echo the DCEU's 2020 flick Birds Of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.) 

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda Maximoff, discussed filming the epic A-Force teaser for Endgame. "It was incredible, but it was so tedious to film," the WandaVision star revealed. Several key characters appeared in the frame, including Captain Marvel, Nebula, Shuri, Pepper Potts as Rescue and the Scarlet Witch. The directors needed a "specific shot" that highlighted every character and ensured no heroine was left behind. Filming the scene proved a tricky task for Olsen and the cast, though it ultimately paid off.

The cast of Endgame serenaded Josh Brolin on his birthday

Josh Brolin might have played one of Marvel's biggest bad guys, but he won the hearts of the cast and crew during production for Avengers: Endgame. The actor, who portrays Thanos in Infinity War and Endgame, celebrated his 50th birthday during the final days on set. The cast marked the condition by singing happy birthday to him, a moment captured by Brolin for social media.

Due to the top-secret nature of the film, Brolin had to wait a significant amount of time before he could share this post on Instagram. The video features the main Marvel cast, including Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, and Paul Rudd, singing happy birthday to their canonical rival while in costume for Endgame's final fight sequence in the ruins of the Avengers compound. Brolin's post commemorates this fond moment from the cast with the caption "everyone has a little purple love in them." We do, Josh Brolin. We do.

The final days on set for Avengers: Endgame were an emotional ending, but a new Phase begins...

How do you say goodbye to a franchise as successful as the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What began in 2008 with the solo Iron Man movie grew into a story that took an entire series of interconnecting films to tell. Tangible emotion lay behind the scenes during the final days on set, as numerous cast members said goodbye to characters they'd played for years — but the future looks bright for the MCU. With the Infinity Saga complete, Marvel can look ahead to exciting storylines like the Multiverse Saga and Secret Invasion. Phase 4 contains Black Widow's long-awaited solo film, while her fellow founding Avenger, Thor, will return in Thor: Love And Thunder, after he was last seen leaving Earth with the Guardians of the Galaxy during Endgame's final moments.

Meanwhile, other familiar MCU characters are stepping into the spotlight for Disney+ shows of their own. The Scarlet Witch and the Vision return for sitcom/mystery WandaVision, and Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes appear in their own series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Other shows with known characters like Hawkeye and Loki are scheduled to air in 2021, while new characters will be introduced in upcoming shows such as Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel. Endgame proved a bittersweet experience for the Avengers. Thankfully, however, the future of the franchise is in strong hands.