Marvel fans waited years to hear Steve Rogers deliver his most memorable line in the MCU. There were hopes that he'd utter "Avengers, assemble" at some point in 2012's The Avengers, seeing as how it was the first time the heroic team was on-screen together. It didn't happen. In 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Chris Evans' beloved hero started to say it in the closing scene, only for the credits to roll before he could finish. The phrase was certainly built up, which meant that the creative team at Marvel had to make sure it was earned if and when Evans ever said it.
Earn it they certainly did. In the third act of Avengers: Endgame — the culmination of 10 years of the MCU and the biggest movie in history — nearly every from the franchise appears together to battle Thanos and his army. Holding both Mjolnir and his mighty shield, Captain America finally got the chance to say "Avengers, assemble." The crowds in theaters around the world collectively went bananas.
In the new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the filmmakers behind Endgame discuss how they made that moment feel fully earned. For the directors, a lot of it came down to Evans' portrayal of Captain America.
"Nobody can play Steve Rogers other than him," Avengers: Endgame co-director Anthony Russo said of Evans. "He has such a depth of understanding of who that character is, and what he would do, in such a unique way, that's so specific to him as an actor. It's remarkable. He's pitch perfect."
"We pitched the idea that we thought that he should underplay it. We had a phrase where we'd say, 'Go under with it.' That always meant to throw it away," added Joe Russo. "We thought, 'You know what? Let's go against the expectation on it - make the audience lean forward, and listen, and stretch out the pause between the two words.' This is really gonna be the moment. And, as you know, he nailed it. On the first take."
Composer Alan Silvestri also used the music to make the "Assemble" line stand out amongst more than a decade of scenes in the MCU, building to that single word with a monumental crescendo.
"And it's almost Pavlovian," said Silvestri. "Because when we hear that, then we know what always comes after that... So we stop [the cue] dead. And then, when Cap says 'Avengers...Assemble,' it's like, 'Here we go... Light it up!' And then it's the main Avengers theme playing over the battle."
At the end of the day, "Avengers, assemble" will go down as one of the most celebrated and talked-about moments in the MCU history.