Avengers: Endgame was packed to the brim with jaw-dropping moments, there's no denying that. There were moments like the portal scene where audiences found out everyone was finally resurrected, or there was the part where Captain America (Chris Evans) managed to wield Mjolnir. Then, thanks to the time-traveling nature of the blockbuster's plot, the hours-long movie featured Easter eggs and callbacks to some of the earliest moments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of those callbacks took place between Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), riffing off a line in Avengers: Endgame.
You know the moment — Strange holds back a massive flood as Iron Man looks on defeated, thinking they're about to lose again. Then the Sorcerer Supreme motions to Stark and holds up the index finger on his hand, a nod to the "one future they win" line from Avengers: Infinity War. According to Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, Cumberbatch has said he improvised the moment — one of the most iconic in the MCU to date.
Benedict told me this moment was an improv. https://t.co/d5fvwTTrwl— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) October 27, 2020
After the record-setting tentpole debuted last year, Endgame scribe Christopher Markus admitted the team behind the film wasn't afraid to dive into fan-service moments.
"These movies would be nonexistent without the fans. So, you know, a movie that is made to frustrate fans seems a little suicidal," Markus said last May. "People say 'fan service' like you are pandering to some niche. I mean, we’ve all seen the numbers that these movies make. The fans are the majority at this point. Fan service is simply honoring the stories that have come before. It’s not like we’re pulling out a tiny Easter egg that only three people are going to get. It’s just tying up the threads; it’s picking up the nuances that have been dropped earlier. I don’t see it as any kind of niche writing."
Avengers: Endgame is now streaming on Disney+.