Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo don’t sweat toy leaks because they’re almost always inaccurate.
“What’s interesting about toy leaks is that 99 percent of the time they’re not accurate. Because toys are, frankly, tailored to either old concepts or completely different concepts than what’s in the movie,” Joe Russo told Collider.
“I laugh a lot when those toy leaks show up because I’m like, well, that’s great, because that’s a misdirect [laughs]. Because it has nothing to do with the film.”
Russo instead credits Marvel Studios’ award-winning visual effects teams with their ability to prevent leaks when dealing with highly confidential and sensitive material.
“Frankly, the very essential nature of the storytelling is contained within the brains and computers of all the great individuals working in all the effects houses on the movie,” Russo said.
“That is with much more sensitive material, and the testament to that industry is there’s a code of ethics there, and a lot of sensitive information — at least on the four movies we’ve worked on — has passed through all these companies, and nothing has ever leaked.”
Leaked LEGO sets — typically only “inspired by” key action sequences and rarely entirely faithful — and similarly leaked toy listings have yet to prove fruitful in regards to spilling Avengers’ closely guarded secrets. In January, toys that reached store shelves revealed little outside of alternative costumes.
Previously, two leaked Avengers: Infinity War toys — a “Hulk Out Hulkbuster” action figure and a similar Funko Pop! figure — suggested Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) would transform into his green alter ego while wearing the Hulkbuster armor co-designed with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). During its Wakanda-set final battle, Banner instead uses the armor to best opponent Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary) after failing to transform into the Hulk.
Another Funko Pop! figure for Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron hinted at the inclusion of a Grey Hulk, who was originally intended to battle the Hulkbuster in Johannesburg, South Africa. The visual effects team and Whedon chose to avoid the grey-skinned Hulk to prevent comparisons to the Hulk’s “Joe Fixit” persona — resulting in the misleading toy.
The Russos previously acknowledged their trailers are manipulated and purposefully misleading to better conceal spoilers.
“We use all the material that we have at our disposal to create a trailer,” Joe Russo said in May.
“We look at the trailer as a very different experience than the movie, and I think audiences are so predictive now that you have to be very smart about how you craft a trailer because an audience can watch a trailer and basically tell you what’s gonna happen in the film.
“We consume too much content. So at our disposal are lots of different shots that aren’t in the movie that we can manipulate through CG to tell a story that we want to tell specifically for the purpose of the trailer and not for the film.”
Avengers: Endgame releases April 26.