Avengers: Endgame was stuffed full of fan-pleasing cameos from characters we haven’t seen in a while. Thanks to the Time Heist that revisited movies of MCU past and the grand finale that united all the heroes, everyone from Korg to Peggy Carter got a role in the final chapter of the Infinity Saga. There might’ve been one cameo that confused a lot of viewers, though, and it caused directors the Russo brothers no end of panic.
At Tony Stark’s moving funeral, one memorable shot pans over the gathered mourners, revealing many familiar faces. Near the back of the crowd is a young man that many struggled to recognize watching the scene, as it’s actually Jurassic World star Ty Simpkins, reprising his role as Harley Keener from Iron Man 3 after six years away from the MCU.
While speaking on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast, the Russos revealed they had many confused viewers from test screenings come up to them to enquire who Simpkins was – which is perfectly understandable.
Joe Russo: “Every time we screened it, people would ask us [who that kid was],”
Anthony Russo: “Literally, every time. [Laughs] I don’t know if there has ever been a single person who has recognized him!”
Joe: “He’s three times taller than he was. So I think he has grown up so much that, you know, it’s a deep Easter egg. But I feel like that’s what’s compelling about the Marvel universe. By the way, there are quite a few Easter eggs in the movie people still haven’t identified.”
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The filmmakers then went on to admit that Simpkins’ role in the scene was a source of consternation for them as, though they planned the shot extensively for days beforehand, they still got flustered when it came to capturing it as they didn’t know if they should keep the actor’s cameo in the sequence.
“You guys will appreciate this. In order to do that shot, to amass that cast, we rehearsed that shot like crazy. We set up the camera moves with stand-ins. … Because they were all going to be in that shot, we spent days setting that shot up. Days! Okay? So we had everybody. We had the entire camera move figured out specifically. We had the time of day. We had everything perfect, right? So we get there on the day, we finally put the actors in the shot for the first time, right? [laughs] And we have this moment on set where he and I go into a panic attack over Ty, because we’re having this [question] over Ty.”
At least some fans who knew their stuff going into the movie would have recognized, or at least deduced, who Simpkins was. After all, his involvement with Endgame had been revealed for a while thanks to an informational update on IMDb. We weren’t certain we could trust the easily-edited site, of course, but on this occasion it proved to be right.
Though most were probably mystified by his importance in the shot, kudos to the Russos for going through with the callback to the oft-overlooked character in Avengers: Endgame. We’d like to think Harley and Peter Parker, as the two surrogate sons of Tony, would get along.