Avengers: Endgame Director Reveals What Movie or TV Show De-Aged Michael Douglas Was Based On

Avengers: Endgame traveled through decades of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's history, and now we know the inspiration for one previously-unseen moment. During Endgame's recently-released commentary track, the film's creative team spoke about the cameo of young Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), who pops up when the film travels to SHIELD in the 1970s. While marveling at the technology that it took to de-age Douglas so significantly, co-director Joe Russo hinted at what part of the actor's filmography inspired this take on young Hank.

"Now, this would have been impossible 15 years ago." Russo explained. "This is The Streets of San Francisco Michael Douglas. Incredible."

"And I just wanna retroactively, tip of the hat to Russell Bobbitt for providing that vintage Ant-Man Helmet," co-writer Christopher Markus added.

For those who might not be familiar, Streets of San Francisco was a 1970s detective drama, which starred Douglas and Karl Madden. It ultimately ran for five seasons between 1972 and 1977, and it's clear that it proved to be a good visual frame of reference for Douglas' early days as an actor.

The nature of de-aging actors played a surprising role in Endgame, with even the most inconsequential moments getting that kind of technology. As VFX exec Trent Claus told Comicbook.com earlier this year, the detail that went into that was pretty substantial.

"It's an art form." Claus explained back in May. "There's no good procedural way to do what we do. The work that we do, we don't create a CG replication of the actor. We use the actor that's actually there on screen, so we were actually modifying the actor in the performance that was there on set as opposed to re-creating something new. So, we have to treat each and every frame like a painting, where you're working with light and shadow, and form, and composition, and things like that to accomplish the goal. We've got a highly trained roster of artists here that work for us that have been doing this for a long time. Lola started de-aging way back on X-Men 3, and have been doing it ever since. I started with the first, as far as de-aging and stuff goes, with the first Captain America, but also going back to Speed Racer was the first de-aging I worked on."

"But for all of them, it's necessary that you look up reference." Claus added. "You find photos of what they looked like when they were that age, if they're available, and that's invaluable, something to shoot for, a target to aim for. But then in addition to that, you have to rely on the artist's knowledge of anatomy, the changes that happen to humans over time, the physiological changes in the skin and the muscles, and the mechanics of the expressions that you make in your face, and also the body, the posture and the build of the body changes over time. All those things have to be taken into consideration."

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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.