1. The first shot in the film features director Joe Russo’s daughter Ava, who plays Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Russo) daughter. Her sister Lia and cousins Julian (director Anthony Russo’s son) and Augie appear as Hulk fans.
2. Endgame is intentionally bookended by Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) death, with the device by which he delivers his own eulogy established at the outset. The early moment where the audience believes Stark is letting go is meant to ramp up the tension before Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel appears to rescue him. Her appearance is the “B-side tag from Captain Marvel,” according to Joe Russo. After responding to the beeper and meeting the Avengers, she learned there was a homing beacon on the ship and was able to track it and bring them back to Earth.
3. Tony Stark needed an emotional reason to refuse the call to action, and messing with time could mean death, wiping out the status quo, and him losing his daughter. The writers had to think of the messy proposition of bringing back everyone who’s been gone for five years. “It was a tough scene to write… What about the remarriages; the people who had kids?” Anthony Russo said.
4. The early scene of Captain Marvel and the Avengers coming up with a plan to defeat Thanos was Brie Larson’s first day filming as Carol Danvers, shot before Captain Marvel.
5. As the writers workshopped the narrative, discussing what these heroes would do after Thanos destroyed half of all living creatures–and what a two-hour movie going after him would look like–executive producer Trinh Tran simply said, “I kind of wish you could just kill him.” This gave them the idea to have the Avengers get Thanos quickly. The writers also tried to lead the audience to assume the movie is going down a certain path only to derail that in the first ten minutes when “Five Years Later” appears onscreen.
6. According to writer Stephen McFeely, coincidences are “sort of” allowed in Act I and so, the (“savior of the universe”) rat steps on the button allowing Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to escape the quantum realm he was trapped in at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp. Through him, we experience what it would be like to miss five years of your child’s life. Director Anthony Russo “tears up every time” he sees Lang hugging his daughter and when Paul Rudd says, “You’re so big” — a line the actor improvised.
7. Endgame marks the first time Tony and Captain America (Chris Evans) have seen each other since Civil War (2016). It also marks Cap’s first trip to space.
8. Joe Russo’s favorite scenes are between Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers/Captain America as they discuss what to do. Cap is thinking of giving up; they can’t fix what happened. Natasha has had a complex journey from villainy to living a morally grey existence; from individualism to community. “The Avengers are her family. She understands the value of community over self and this will track up to the cliff in Vormir.”
9. Scott Lang has had limited time to process everything, he hasn’t slept, and he might have the solution. As he works through it, “he mirrors the writers sitting in a room, trying to figure out how to write out of a corner. Ant-Man has the seeds of a time machine in it. Time travel doesn’t exist. It’s a construct of genre filmmaking …emotional scenes could take place between characters if you’re entertained by them coming up with a plan,” Anthony Russo says.
10. The Smart Hulk event used to take place in Avengers: Infinity War when Bruce was fighting in Wakanda. Hulk wouldn’t help him; Smart Hulk beats Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary). Tonally, the scene didn’t fit, and test audiences couldn’t accept it as part of the story after all the losses, so it was incorporated in Endgame instead.
11. Smart Hulk eats his own flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream: Hulka Hulka Burning Fudge, which unfortunately doesn’t exist in the real world.
12. Tony realizes that there is potential to bring his other “child” — Peter Parker (Tom Holland) — back, and thus solves time travel, standing on the shoulders of Hank Pym and Scott Lang.
13. The line “I love you 3000” that Stark’s daughter says when Tony leaves (and he later repeats back to her via hologram) wasn’t in the script and is actually something Robert Downey Jr. told the writers his own child said to him. Joe Russo notes that Downey Jr. is “ridiculously good with kids.”
14. Joe Russo would watch “Seven seasons” of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Korg (Taika Waititi), and Miek (Stephen Murdoch) hanging out together. He finds the most joy and delight in Thor, whose character has suffered the loss of his parents, planet, brother, and Heimdall (Idris Elba). “He can’t get any lower. So where do you go when you’re at the bottom? Sometimes the only road forward is humor….The magical weapon he took the entire last movie to get is now a bottle opener.”
15. Hawkeye’s Tokyo scene was shot over the course of two nights and visually inspired by Ridley Scott’s Black Rain (which starred Michael Douglas, aka Hank Pym). Hawk’s emotional state is one of the wide variety of reactions the Avengers have to the Snap — Barton has just lost his family; he’s angry and punishing bad people who survived what his wife and kids didn’t. The scene is also the beginning of the last arc of Natasha and Clint’s relationship, which examines how they can help each other. No one else could pull him out of this dark emotional phase. Natasha is essentially doing for Clint what he did for her when he pulled her out of her Russian agency.
16. “Two people who love each other had to go to Vormir,” said McFeely. The scene, which had been more complicated (with Thanos sending a small army, taking away Clint and Natasha’s agency), was reshot and its structure sussed out in the editing room. As established by Red Skull (Ross Marquand) in Avengers: Infinity War, one of them must be sacrificed and it cannot be undone.
17. Stan Lee made his final cameo in Endgame “de-aged” and with his hair and outfit matching a noted photo of him from the 1970s.
18. Speaking of “de-aging,” to age down Hank Pym in Endgame, Michael Douglas was styled a la his character from Streets of San Franciso.
19. The Asgardian palace scenes were shot in England’s Durham Cathedral in April 2017, a full two years before Endgame came out. They were among the very few things shot beforehand. Two shots were married together to allow Thor’s mother Frigga (Renee Russo) to appear, while the scene of Jane (Natalie Portman) getting out of bed came from Thor: The Dark World outtakes, with Rocket added in.
20. Joe Russo claims Rocket as one of his favorite characters–saying Rocket reminds him of Taxi’s Louie De Palma (played in that series by Danny DeVito).
21. The directors knew that if they were going to show scenes that Avengers fans knew from other movies, they had to be seen from a different perspective in order to circumvent expectations. Joe Russo calls Cap saying “Hail HYDRA” in the elevator one of the most satisfying of these moments, because the audience thinks they’re ahead of things and are expecting to see the fantastic fight they love from Captain America: The Winter Soldier again.
22. A lot of scenes involved “jiggering and rejiggering” to make things clear, like the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) explaining time to Bruce Banner. Joe Russo calls Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) 14 million futures the point of information; this time the Ancient One gives Bruce the stone. Thanos plays detective and pieces together, with a couple of clues, what happens in his future.
23. The tone of the movie changes when Howard Stark (John Slattery), Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) appear in the same time and Tony runs into his father, who is bringing his then pregnant wife sauerkraut because writer Stephen McFeely’s mother craved it during her pregnancy.
24. Cap/Steve seeing his own photo on Peggy’s desk lets him know that his feelings might be returned if he were to go back.
25. On the somewhat controversial choice for Captain America to hand the mantle to Sam/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) instead of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), writer Christopher Markus explains that “Sam represents everything Captain America is supposed to represent. What the country could be. Bucky represents what the country actually is; the murky political situation as evidenced in The Winter Soldier.”
26. James D’Arcy was the first MCU actor to transition his character (Edwin Jarvis) from television (Agent Carter) to film.
27. Endgame is Robert Redford’s last acting appearance on film (unless he changes his mind).
28. The plan for Tony to put on the glove and die began back in Infinity War with Doctor Strange; now Tony finally gets it, that it has to be him. Only one thing would work. The guy who had the answer for everything is done.
29. It was determined by the writers that the funeral’s focus would be on Tony as this was Stark (and Robert Downey Jr.’s) last appearance, whereas Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha still has another movie (Black Widow) coming out. “Time isn’t linear anymore,” says Joe Russo. “The funeral was the most complicated schedule in the history of film,” shot all in one take (after rehearsals with stand-ins days prior). The camera winds through the history of the Marvel universe, through each franchise all the way to the man who started the Avengers — Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). There’s also a nod to Jon Favreau, who directed the first MCU film. “The poetry of having Jon sitting there with Tony’s daughter is really special. Feels like a love letter from us to Jon.”
30. Tony’s death scene was filmed at a soundstage next to the Raleigh Studios soundstage where Downey Jr. tested for Iron Man twelve years before. “It was very emotional for Robert — for all of us,” according to Joe Russo.
31. Christopher Markus refers to the scene of Steve and Peggy dancing as “just the loveliest shot in cinema.” The house’s front door is open, indicating that Cap has just returned … “It’s got to be okay for a soldier to put down his shield. He is a WWII soldier, finally come home,” says Stephen McFeely.
32. Although Wanda Maximoff appears only briefly in Endgame, Joe Russo noted that her powers had grown at an accelerated rate due to her internal life (losing Vision), and called Wanda the biggest threat to Thanos (“he has to cheat and …sacrifice his own armies to escape her”). Of course, Wanda’s emotions about Vision are further examined in WandaVision.