The Atlantic

What It Was Like Making the Biggest Movie of 2019

The brothers Anthony and Joe Russo discuss their unlikely journey to directing Marvel’s megahit Avengers: Endgame.
Source: Toby Melville / Reuters / The Atlantic

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is defined by its spandex-clad stars—heroes including Captain America and Iron Man who’ve powered the franchise to unprecedented popularity over 11 years, most recently resulting in the record-breaking success of Avengers: Endgame. The interconnected nature of the 22 Marvel movies means a single film like Endgame, which brings the entire ensemble together for a big goodbye, can have a sweeping effect. But pulling off such a project also requires a ton of coordination behind the scenes. Anthony and Joe Russo—who’ve directed four Marvel movies in total, including Endgame—have built a reputation for that kind of managerial mastery.

Before the two were brought into the Marvel fold by the company’s chief producer, Kevin Feige, nothing about the Russos’ resume suggested that they’d be particularly suited to big-budget superhero storytelling. After being discovered by at the 1997 Slamdance Film Festival, they made a charming indie caper called and otherwise mostly worked in television, helming the pilot episodes of comedies such as , , and . A look back at suggests the Russos’ adeptness for juggling massive casts in a way that allows everyone moments to shine—something the Marvel movies needed to do as the

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