Joe Russo Wanted to Surprise Audiences with Captain America's Ending in AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Joe Russo recently talked to CB about Avengers: Endgame. There’s one specific part I want to address from the interview, but before we go on, this is your spoiler warning.

Now that we can talk about spoilers, the end of Endgame features Steve Rogers traveling through time again to return all of the Infinity Stones. The catch is that he doesn’t come back. Instead, Steve stays behind to live his own life.

This of course has made several fans wonder how that didn’t change anything, but that’s a discussion for another time. Russo was about that ending for Steve and their answer is, in short, they chose that path to surprise people.

It’s not about trying to subvert expectations all the time, even though that comes into it. Typically when you’re in a writers room and you’re working through storytelling, if somebody says something that feels obvious you go ‘well that’s the expectation’, and it’s not like we don’t always meet expectations but the job I think is to surprise people. But the reason you surprise them is because if you’re really tracking Cap’s arc, he starts off as a selfless character who has given over his identity to service, right? He is more than happy to serve the community.

The curvature, the arc that you’re creating, characters are always most compelling when they travel the greatest distance, so if Cap is Rocky and all he ever does is get into the ring and try to beat his opponent it’s going to get boring really quickly. There’s just not a lot of dimensions to the character, and so what we wanted to do was travel him on this incredible journey that took him from service to self-actualization to where he wanted to fully embrace the identity of Steve Rogers. That is what happens at the end of Endgame.

And I know it’s controversial for some people because they fell like he should always be that guy in service, but that just feels like an elliptical story that never ends. It feels like what you can do in the comic books because you can keep resetting it and recycling it, but it’s not something you can do over the lifespan of a movie. He has to travel some distance to go somewhere as a character.

I am one of those people who went into the film totally expecting Steve to die. I thought he was going to end up sacrificing himself to die. After all, he is a paragon of service. As long as he’s alive, he’s going to fight the good fight and they needed him to not be in any more movies. That being said, I was surprised by the Russo’s decisions and I was content with how they wrote him out of the story.

You can watch the full interview with CB below and the part about this question can be found at roughly 8:00.

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