Russo Brothers Ghostbusters

After the debut of Avengers: Endgame, directors Anthony & Joe Russo appeared at various Q&A sessions and responded to endless questions about the epic culmination of 21 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But apparently that wasn’t enough, because the duo got together for their own Comic-Con panel where they covered everything from their past work at Marvel Studios to their upcoming projects with their newly-established production company AGBO.

Find out what we learned from the Conversation with the Russo Brothers Comic-Con panel below.

This is the Marvel Endgame for the Russo Brothers

Avengers: Endgame celebrated the legacy of the Avengers, and specifically Iron Man, over the past 10 years. But the Russo brothers, who shepherded the MCU into its current box office-dominating glory with Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, got to be at the center of their own celebration at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday. After kicking off the panel with a video retrospective of the brothers’ accomplishments that stretched all the way back to their TV work with Arrested Development and Community, the Russos spoke about how Avengers Endgame acts as a swan song for both Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and their collaboration with the MCU.

“Working with Marvel was one of the best creative times for us,” Anthony Russo said. “We would love to work with Marvel again, and maybe in the future it makes sense.”

But perhaps this won’t be their last Marvel project, panel moderator Steven Weintraub probed, asking about the rumors of a Secret Wars movie.

“Maybe it’ll be Secret Wars,” Anthony responded vaguely.

But it was no secret that the Russos were proud to helm Avengers: Endgame and bring Tony Stark’s arc to an end. Anthony Russo personally connected with Tony’s arc from “an egocentric person and getting to a place of truly putting others in front of himself.”

“At the end Tony had become a father, and speaking as a father, there’s something that happens when you reach that point in life – you realize that your job in life is to truly serve others in a way that reaches to the core of your being. That’s the biggest change, having a daughter. He was at a different place when he said ‘I am Iron Man’ at the end.”

The circular poetry of that ending reflected in reality as well. Joe Russo revealed that the “I am Iron Man” scene took place on Downey’s last day of shooting right next door to the soundstage where he did his first screen test for Iron Man. “It was a very poetic line for Robert to have for his last day,” Joe said.

The emotional rewards of shooting Endgame helped offset any difficulties that the Russos had making the film, which they said was the most technically complicated of the Marvel films they’d done, though not as “taxing” as Infinity War was. The directing duo had struggled with the storytelling of Infinity War, as well as the infamous “dusting,” which “took a while to understand what it would look like and there was a long process to conceptualize visually how it [would come about],” Joe Russo said. “They weren’t just falling dead, the essence of what they were was being absorbed into the universe.”

But while Endgame wasn’t a walk in the park, the Russo brothers said that one perk is that they rarely argue. Their only argument? The length of Captain Marvel’s hair. “It was maybe a several month discussion,” Anthony Russo joked.

But the Russos will have plenty of opportunities for more arguments with their slew of upcoming projects, some of which include their old Avengers stars. Under their newly-established production company AGBO, the duo will be directing an adaptation of first-time author Nico Walker’s book Cherry with Tom Holland starring, and developing an animated series at Netflix based on the card game Magic: The Gathering. They’re also overseeing the upcoming slate of remakes, reboots and re-imaginings from MGM, including a new take on The Thomas Crown Affair and The Rats of Nimh. But first, they are bringing Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman back to the big screen in the crime thriller 21 Bridges.

Cherry SDCC 1

Cherry

Cherry will be a departure for the Russo brothers: a drama based on a novel about the opioid epidemic. Starring Tom Holland, Cherry is set in Cleveland, Ohio, the Russos’ hometown. “A lot of locations are set in places where we grew up,” Joe Russo said. “The author worked at a couple places I worked in. This is a story about drug addiction and the opioid crisis and that’s touched a lot of people we knew. It’s a deeply personal story for us.”

It’s also a story that the Russos believe Holland, who they helped cast as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, is perfect to embody. “He’s incredibly gifted and someone we want to work with on our next projects,” Joe Russo said. Holland has starred in prestige films like The Current War and Lost City of Z before, but the young actor will be stepping into the lead role of an R-rated film for the first time. And yes, it will be rated R, Anthony Russo confirmed.

“It’s a very complicated movie, it’s a very mature movie. It doesn’t have the surface level entertainment level of the Marvel movies but it’s a very important story to be told and we are able to have the capital to get those movies made.”

Magic the Gathering SDCC

Magic the Gathering

The Russo brothers’ first animated project, Magic the Gathering, is a Netflix animated series based on the popular card game. But the Russos tease that, if this series is successful, they may bring it into to the live-action realm.

“It’s an animated project with a potential to spin it off into live-action,” Joe Russo said. “It’s a game that we love, we’re geeks and we love Magic the Gathering. We’re excited to tell stories with it, and I don’t know if you know the game or not but if you’re a fan of Jace or Chandra, get excited.”

The Thomas Crown Affair SDCC

The Thomas Crown Affair

A fresh take on the heist film first directed by Norman Jewison in 1968 and remade in 1999 by John McTiernan, The Thomas Crown Affair will unite the Russo brothers with Marvel actor Michael B. Jordan, in their first collaboration.

“This is a movie we loved growing up, both versions,” Joe Russo said. “Matt Carnahan is writing the script right now, we have a brand new take on it. We couldn’t be more excited to be working on that movie with Michael, he’s one of the great actors of his generation.”

The Electric State SDCC

The Electric State

AGBO partners Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely spoke about the script for The Electric State just an hour before, but Joe Russo took the chance to gush about the project and support their frequent creative partners. “This is a hauntingly beautiful graphic novel that I think Markus found. They are writing the script to that, and that alone is the reason to be excited,” Joe Russo said.

Grimjack comic panel

Grimjack

Joe and Anthony Russo are producing Grimjack, based on the ’80s indie comic classic about a sword-for-hire, ex-paramilitary, war veteran and former child gladiator who operates in a pan-dimensional city to which all dimensions connect.

“This is a favorite comic book of mine, I have issue 1 in a box in my childhood home. It’s an incredible story and we’re excited about bringing that one to life,” Joe Russo said.

Battle of the Planets SDCC

Battle of the Planets

Joe and Anthony Russo revealed that they are in “very early days” of developing Battle of the Planets, based on the Japanese anime series that spawned the Americanized series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. “This was perhaps our favorite cartoon growing up,” Joe Russo said. “We love this show, I used to race home from school every day just to watch this at 4 o’clock.”

While they don’t even have a screenwriter on this project yet, the Russos hinted that they may have a hand in directing the project. And if that were the case, it could be live-action. “Maybe you can tell, we’re slowly hunting down all our favorite IP from childhood and we’re going to convert that into projects,” Joe Russo concluded.

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