Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo reveal Marvel Studios considered doing little to no marketing for the Infinity War sequel.
“We did. We talked about all scales of marketing,” Joe Russo told Empire Magazine. “The thing that’s most important to us is that we preserve the surprise of the narrative. When I was a kid and saw The Empire Strikes Back at 11am on the day it opened, and sat there until 10pm watching it back to back to back, it so profoundly moved me because I didn’t know a damn thing about the story I was going to watch. We’re trying to replicate that experience.”
The brothers, who previously issued an anti-spoiler campaign for Infinity War — which climaxes with Thanos (Josh Brolin) obliterating fifty percent of all life in the universe, including half of Earth’s mightiest heroes — previously admitted they sometimes manipulate trailers to avoid giving away significant plot points in marketing.
“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.”
He continued, “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.”
The Russo brothers’ role as guardians of Avengers secrets extends to most of their expansive ensemble cast, who are often kept in the dark to avoid feeling pressured over accidental spoilers.
“It is very difficult when your job is to sort of personalize these stories, personalize these characters, and sort of bring all your creative, collaborative energy to a process that lasts many, many months — sometimes more than a year — it’s a big part of your life,” explained Anthony Russo in December.
“So it’s very hard not to talk about this stuff, because you live with it for so long and you live with it so deeply. We have developed a process where you take pressure off of people by letting them know less. It’s less responsibility they have to edit themselves, so we’ve developed an elaborate process by which we try to only let people know what they absolutely need to know. And it makes a little bit easier for them to edit themselves.”
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has since said Endgame marketing material is mostly comprised of footage belonging to the first act of the movie. Aside from haunting flashbacks, all trailers and posters have refrained from including now-dead characters like Spider-Man (Tom Holland) or Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
“As was the case with a lot of our films, this one in particular, being able to generate a lot of excitement without giving away one of the many, many, many secrets,” Feige said in January. “I think the Disney marketing team is the best in the world and we’ll be able to pull it off.”
Avengers: Endgame releases April 26.