Earlier this year, Avengers: Infinity War put a serious damper on the old stereotype of Marvel being the bright and cheery flipside to the dark and moody DC with its ridiculously high body count and arguably the gloomiest ending in all of superhero cinema.
The genocidal finale of Anthony and Joe Russo’s latest release left viewers shaken and disturbed, and according to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, that’s exactly the effect that the team was going for, explaining on Variety and iHeart Radio’s Playback with Kris Tapley how the reception to Infinity War was the payoff to a long period of buildup.
“We did Infinity War and Endgame at the same time, but those have been the longest gestating movies we’ve ever made,” Feige said. “Four years now, almost five years. And it was always about delivering on the promise that we had set up. And the way the world received Infinity War was amazing, it was exactly what we wanted.”
The moment where Earth’s Mightiest Heroes suffered their first outright defeat at the hands of Thanos marked a departure from the usual Marvel Studios formula of the villain being stopped by the time the end credits roll, and it’s with much pride that Feige recalls how the ending to Infinity War served as a shock to the system.
“And that ending, which we had been working on for many years, and I do remember people, on all of the movies we’ve made and I’m sure on many of the movies we’ll make in the future, whenever the good guy wins, which is often — good guy, good woman, good hero wins — they go, ‘Eh, it’s kind of predictable. Good guy wins,’” Feige said. “Well, sometimes that’s fun. But for years I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what they’re going to do when they don’t?’ Because we knew that was coming. And it couldn’t have been better. The reaction was the best. The reaction. Was. The. Best.”
As saddened as many viewers were to see their heroes literally far apart before their eyes, a lot of comic book fans likely would’ve been disappointed if the movie hadn’t ended in this way, and according to Feige, the success of their films hinges on giving audiences what they want but in ways they don’t expect.
“We feel the pressure of delivering, and delivering on expectations, but in unexpected ways.”
Of course, with future projects confirmed for the likes of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther, it’s clear that the dusted victims of Avengers: Infinity War aren’t going to stay dust for much longer, and we’ll find out how the MCU’s surviving heroes clean up the mess left by Thanos when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26th, 2019.