Directors Anthony and Joe Russo previously revealed trailers for Avengers: Infinity War — and subsequently Avengers: Endgame — were manipulated to better conceal spoilers.
After Marvel Studios premiered a fresh look at Endgame during Sunday’s Super Bowl, commentators were quick to point out an altered shot that showed the Avengers walking through their sunlit facility, with Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) among the lineup. In a past trailer, that same shot was displayed but without the team present.
The Super Bowl spot also led to suspicions a shot showing Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) stood together was edited to remove a character, suspected to be Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) or Captain Marvel (Brie Larson).
Marvel previously used such digital trickery when editing Spider-Man (Tom Holland) out of the airport showdown in the Captain America: Civil War Super Bowl spot. A meditating and dimension-hopping Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) would later be removed from a key scene on the desolate planet Titan in the Infinity War trailers.
“We use all the material that we have at our disposal to create a trailer,” Joe Russo told the Happy Sad Confused podcast 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.
“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 question was raised over a closing shot in the first Infinity War trailer — depicting Captain America, Black Widow, and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) charging into battle in Wakanda alongside Okoye (Danai Gurira), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and War Machine — that ultimately was not in the film.
That shot wasn’t just missing, it was misleading: Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) never transforms into the Hulk past the first act and is a no-show during the Wakanda showdown against Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his forces.
Such a practice has since created theories footage from Endgame was included in the initial Infinity War trailer — only it wasn’t apparent at the time.
“We don’t even know what it’s gonna be yet,” Ruffalo remarked in September when tapped for reshoots, which the Hulk star said were to “finish the movie.”
“Some of it is happening while we’re there. It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “And we’ll shoot some stuff and a few days later come back and reshoot it cause we wanna take it in another direction. It’s a very living organism, even as we approach it being a locked picture, we’re still working on it.”
The brothers — who even supplied their stars with fake scripts, or no scripts at all — previously opened up about their decision to withhold secrets from their stars, explaining it’s to better alleviate concerns over accidental secret spilling.
“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,” Anthony Russo said 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.2comments
“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.”
Avengers: Endgame releases April 26.