The ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Screenwriters Explain How The Ending Will Be Cathartic


Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote the ending to Avengers: Endgame – one of the more closely guarded endings in recent movie memory – around three and a half years ago. So, for over three years, they’ve had to keep all this a secret. It’s one thing to not accidentally blurt something out in an interview, when a person is on his or her highest guard, but it’s another to just not accidentally say something in everyday, casual life.

Anyway, ahead, we talk about what to expect from the ending of Avengers: Endgame, as much as humanly possible, under the circumstances. Are there clues left in other movies? It sure sounds like it. (Though, I did confirm there are no clues in the Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson movie, Pain & Gain, which Markus and McFeely also wrote. You’re welcome.) And Markus and McFeely do think the ending of Avengers: Endgame will be cathartic, but also warn that catharsis isn’t always pleasant. (Also, you can read our previous conversations with Markus and McFeely here and here.)

Right now you’re kind of guarded and are conscious of not giving anything away, but how do you avoid that in normal life? Avoiding the casual conversation spoiler?

Stephen McFeely: Well, I mean, we’re not on Twitter.

That helps.

McFeely: No one recognizes us when we’re having lunch, so it’s not like…

But you have friends. When you’re out with your friends, how do you not say something you’re not supposed to?

Christopher Markus: My wife shushes me a lot. But also, sadly, none of my friends care. They’re all just like, “Uh huh, you’re doing that comic book thing? Okay, yeah.”

I guess that’s better? Do you wish they cared?

Markus: It would be fun for a couple of days and then it would be awful. My friends are mostly cheeky about it. Or they say, “It’d be great if you told me.” And it’s like, “No, you don’t want me to tell you.”

When did you know the ending? Not in a vague sense, but instead what we’re actually going to see?

McFeely: You mean literally the last scene of the movie?

When did you know what it was going to be?

McFeely: When we outlined the movie we found the last scene, and it has always remained the last scene.

When was that?

McFeely: Let’s call it October or November of 2015.

So you’ve had to keep this a secret for three and a half years.

McFeely: Oh my God, yeah. We spent the last four months of 2015 cracking both these movies. And while they’ve changed in specifics, sometimes, basically they’re the two movies we cracked three and a half years ago.

Markus: I cannot wait for this not to be a secret.

Is there a scene in another movie you guys did where it’s going to mean something differently after Endgame? Maybe even as far back as Captain America: First Avenger?

McFeely: I will politely say: we’re going to honor the threads of many movies in this movie. And we’re just…that could just mean we’re going to be honest with these characters. I think it’s partly, not to be serious for a second, it’s partly why these things have a chance to be really good. Because these characters have been on these long journeys. So even the smallest thing for die-hard fans has resonance. So, there are no bigger fans than Chris and me and we sort of know their universe better than anybody. So, there are a lot of small things that many people won’t or may not get, but die-hard fans might.

It would be fun if you said, “Rewatch Pain & Gain, it’s all in there.”

McFeely: [Laughs] I would never ask anyone to rewatch Pain & Gain.

Markus: There are Easter eggs in all sorts of places that will make the egg hunt fun.

At the press conference, the Russo brothers described the ending as cathartic.

Markus: Yeah, actually I think that’s a very good word for it. Catharsis isn’t always pleasant.

I did not feel catharsis after Infinity War.

Markus: The last movie was cathartic to Thanos.

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