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Are The Avengers Friends In Real Life?

"Avengers: Endgame" served as (likely) the final time that we'll witness the original MCU superhero team of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo side-by-side on screen. After the events of the film, both Downey's Tony Stark and Johansson's Natasha Romanoff are deceased, Evans' Steve Rogers has traveled back in time to spend the rest of his days with his love, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Hemsworth's Thor has seemingly joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ruffalo's Bruce Banner is now merged with Hulk as Smart Hulk, and Renner's Clint Barton finally gets to be with the family he thought he'd lost. The original Avengers are now on separate paths, leaving the door open for a new team to take the reins.

Throughout the four official Avengers movies — "The Avengers," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Avengers: Endgame" (with "Captain America: Civil War" being an arguable fifth) — we've seen the original lineup of characters become pretty close. More than just "Earth's Mightiest Heroes," they become genuine friends. But despite what fans see on screen, plenty of fictional friendships don't transfer to the real world. Sometimes, a cast that seems incredibly close in film or television can even hate each other behind the scenes. Is the on-screen friendship of the Avengers the same off-screen, or is this a situation of fictional friendship, real-life tension? Here's what we know about the real-life relationship of the original heroes of the MCU.

Mark Ruffalo says RDJ is like his older brother

According to a Reddit AMA from all the way back in 2014, Mark Ruffalo noted that he and Robert Downey Jr. had known each other long before "The Avengers" in 2012. He said that not only does Downey Jr. look out for him, but he's felt like an older brother to Ruffalo. During his process of obtaining the role of Bruce Banner, Ruffalo even reached out to Downey Jr. and professed his anxiousness about the part, and his friend simply replied with "It's alright buddy, I gotcha." 

Needless to say, the on-screen friendship between the two scientists and innovators comes from a real relationship between the actors. Downey Jr. has also noted that the Avengers are all friends in real life, talking about their relationship while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2015 alongside Chris Evans. Even wearing matching outfits with his costar, Downey Jr. proclaimed that the role of Iron Man was the best thing that ever happened to him — not only because it's a great job, but because they all became lifelong friends.

Five of the six original Avengers even have matching tattoos

Nothing quite says real friendship like matching tattoos, right? Robert Downey Jr. was again the person to discuss the cast's close bond in a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly. The Academy Award-nominated actor revealed that the entire original cast, aside from Ruffalo, because he couldn't be convinced otherwise, have a matching tattoo. According to Downey Jr., it was Scarlett Johansson's idea. Downey said, "she and Evans did it in New York. Then, their New York guy, Josh Lord, who is amazing, flew out to LA, he did me, did Renner, and then we just bullied Hemsworth into doing it, and he got it."

The following month, June of 2018, Jeremy Renner did an interview on The Tonight Show with host Jimmy Fallon and said that it was more than just having a matching tattoo, it was about "a celebration of our friendship that has bonded over the past decade." The tattoo itself is interesting, appearing as a sort of Avengers "A" with an arrow and spiral through the middle. Only time will tell if whoever the new Avengers end up being will also become close enough to get matching tattoos to represent their time together.

They still have an ongoing group chat according to Jeremy Renner

On the recent press tour for the "Hawkeye" series now streaming on Disney+ and starring Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton and Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop, Renner revealed that there is still an active original Avengers group chat (via Phase Zero podcast). When asked, Renner noted that although some characters may have died on screen, it doesn't matter, as the friendship that the cast members created remains. 

Basically, the chat is for updates on the cast members' personal lives, according to Renner. He said that they're all "very good friends, and we don't really speak too much about our job. And that's what's also great about being, you know, Avenger friends. We speak about our kids, you know, and divorces, marriages, and house building. We speak about just our life stuff ... Our friendship is very, very special."

Based on everything that's been said over the years — especially with Renner's most recent statement about the original cast — it's safe to say that this is a case of on-screen friendship translating to a real-life bond.