Avengers: Endgame was, in a lot of ways, a film of lasts. The story of the movie itself contained the last team-up of the original Avengers team, but the film was also the last chapter of the Infinity Saga, the last part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as fans know it. It also saw the last film performance of Stan Lee before his death and it seems that it may have been another significant last as well: Robert Redford's last movie role.
In the commentary track on the digital release of Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo as well as film co-writer Christopher Markus reveal that Redford told them at the time, it was his last film role and last acting role ever.
"And this is, as declared by the man himself on set, Robert Redford's last movie role," Markus said.
"That was his last day of acting," Joe Russo said. "Ever."
"His last performance, Stan Lee's last performance," Anthony Russo noted.
"Yeah, seven years of really incredible moments on these movies, this is certainly up there, directing Robert Redford's last day," Joe said, though his brother also noted that the actor might still change his mind.
"Mr. Redford may change his mind, appear in another movie," Anthony offered.
The idea that Redford may be retiring from acting isn't a new one. Back in 2016, the actor indicated that it was getting to be around the time when he was considering stepping away from the craft.
“I’m getting tired of acting. I’m an impatient person, so it’s hard for me to sit around and do take after take after take,” Redford told his grandson Dylan Redford during an interview at Walker Art Center. “I’ve got two acting projects in the works: Our Souls at Night, with Jane Fonda, a love story for older people who get a second chance in life, and Old Man with a Gun, a lighter piece with Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek. Once they’re done then I’m going to say, ‘Okay, that’s goodbye to all that,’ and then just focus on directing.”
However, he didn't retire at that point and it seems like Endgame may not have been his last acting role, either. Redford is set to play U.S. President Robert Redford in HBO's upcoming Watchmen television series. In the series, apparently Nixon won re-election one last time in 1988 (perhaps against Redford), but died in office and handed the reins over to Gerald Ford, who was defeated in the 1992 election by Redford.
"They've abolished term limits," showrunner Damon Lindelof explained, adding that the show analyzes "what happens if a well-intentioned white man is president for far too long."
Most of this information went wide during Watchmen's TCA panel recently, but Fox News then reported that Redford will play himself. The actor, who has long been active in liberal politics, has been vocal in recent months about how disappointed he is in the divisive and toxic nature of American political discourse.
Of course, while it certainly seems like Redford hasn't exactly retired, Redford's continued work is certainly welcome. On the Endgame commentary track after Anthony Russo noted that the actor could always change his mind, Markus was all for it.
"And I wouldn't complain."
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall of 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If…? In Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.