Avengers: Endgame featured what – every single actor on the face of the planet? And yet, despite appearances by dozens and dozens of characters throughout Marvel’s entire cinematic history, many played by some of the biggest names in Hollywood, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have revealed that only Robert Downey Jr. received the full script for the film.
Marvel is notoriously secretive when it comes to spoilers, so it makes sense that only someone with the clout of Robert Downey Jr. could access every facet of the movie, even at the expense of other big names like Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper. But the Russo Brothers expanded upon this decision at a recent Q&A, summarized neatly on Marvel Studios’ own subreddit.
Essentially, the film’s astronomical amount of actors were only given scripts that pertained to their characters, not only to prevent any leaks but also simply to make the workload easier. This makes sense, as Endgame is a three-hour blockbuster anchored almost entirely around Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, so why should someone like Chris Pratt or Tilda Swinton get bogged down in the details when they only have a few pages of dialogue at most?
That being said, compared to Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame is a much more personal film. The original six-member team must band together with a few newbies (a guy named Ant-Man and talking Raccoon, for instance) in the face of failure. Each character must face their own uncertainties as a hero after The Snap, so for each actor to receive only the pages most important to their narrative must have been equally helpful and frustrating. On one hand, you have a lighter workload, but on the other, you have no idea where this sprawling film ends up. It sounds like a ton of fake endings were also given to cast just to keep them on their toes, so who knows how that affects one’s performance.
One thing’s for certain though, Avenger: Endgame was a shocking and almost perfect end to a 22-film saga. Even if RDJ was the only actor to receive the entire script, the whole cast brought their A-game and it’s reflected in the movie’s critical and commercial success. Marvel’s production style may be frustrating to some, but they’ve got to be doing something right.