From Iron Man to Black Panther, fans have become conditioned to expect a happy ending in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But all of that changed with Avengers: Infinity War. The movie was the first Marvel Studios film to end with the heroes losing — and what a loss it was. Thanos succeeded in acquiring all of the Infinity Stones, killed Gamora, Vision, Loki, and Heimdall, and eliminated half of all life in existence. Audiences were stunned, and that's exactly what Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige wanted.
While speaking on Variety and iHeart Radio's Playback podcast, Feige spoke about those expectations
"We did Infinity War and Endgame at the same time, but those have been the longest gestating movies we've ever made," said Feige. "Four years now, almost five years. And it was always about delivering on the promise that we had set up. And the way the world received Infinity War was amazing, it was exactly what we wanted."
Feige addressed the established trope of Marvel Studios movies up until that point, which saw the heroes coming out on top in every previous film. But when it came to Avengers: Infinity War, he was eager to see how fans would react — and it all paid off.
"And that ending, which we had been working on for many years, and I do remember people, on all of the movies we've made and I'm sure on many of the movies we'll make in the future, whenever the good guy wins, which is often — good guy, good woman, good hero wins — they go, 'Eh, it's kind of predictable. Good guy wins,'" Feige added. "Well, sometimes that's fun. But for years I remember thinking, 'I wonder what they're going to do when they don't?' Because we knew that was coming. And it couldn't have been better. The reaction was the best. The reaction. Was. The. Best."
Feige isn't shying away from fan expectations, but instead he and the crew at Marvel Studios look to surprise audiences.
"We feel the pressure of delivering, and delivering on expectations, but in unexpected ways," he said.
While it's obvious that heroes like Black Panther and Spider-Man will inevitably return in the future, (they do have sequels coming out after all) Avengers: Endgame still has an opportunity to surprise fans with how it sets up the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.