Avengers assemble

Avengers: Endgame features dozens of moments comic book movie fans will be talking about for years to come, and one of the biggest is at the start of its final battle when portals open up, allies pour through onto the battlefield to oppose Thanos and his army, and Captain America (Chris Evans) delivers the one line fans were waiting to hear: “Avengers…assemble.”

In a recent interview, Weta Digital’s visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken told me which actors were actually on set for that shot, and the surprising person who wasn’t able to be there during the film’s “women of Marvel” shot.

Avengers Endgame charge

“Avengers Assemble” Shot

In a film with this many movie stars, I initially assumed the only time the production was able to gather all of its key players in one location simultaneously was for that long tracking shot at Tony Stark’s funeral. But when I asked Aitken how difficult it was to stitch together multiple shots to achieve that huge “Avengers Assemble” shot just before the battle begins in earnest, he corrected me: “No, they’re actually all there.”

Reader, I was stunned. He told me:

They’re all there, yeah. Iron Man, he was there on the day, but he wasn’t going to be in that shot originally. He was supposed to be pulling himself together on the battlefield from where Thanos had left him, so we actually added him in. And The Hulk is added in, obviously. But no, I think there’s actually been footage that’s started to leak online that the cast filmed of each other on that day. That was the day when everybody was there. It was an incredible day.

Here’s some of that footage he was alluding to:

Avengers Endgame Women

Women of Marvel Shot

Much has been made about Endgame‘s “girl power” moment. But regardless of whether you think it was empty pandering or if you appreciated seeing those characters share the screen together for a brief few seconds, there was only one actor who wasn’t present during that shot – and thankfully it was the least essential person for the moment. Aitken explains:

The “women of Marvel” beat, when those women all come together and support Captain Marvel, there’s one shot at the start of that where people just keep coming into frame. It’s beautifully choreographed, the way it reveals. They were all there on that day, which is an amazing day to be on set for sure, in terms of the power of the acting presence.

Who wasn’t there on that day was actually Tom Holland, playing Peter Parker. He wasn’t able to be there on that day, and Peter Parker needs to hand the gauntlet to Captain Marvel at the start of that shot. So there was a stand-in on set on the day for that, and we picked up our Tom Holland element later on.

For much more about how that final battle came together, I encourage you to read my full conversation with Aitken here.

Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now.

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