Joe Russo kickstarted the press tour of Avengers: Endgame today with the first stop being Mumbai, India. In the process, he attended a fan event, launched composer A. R. Rahman’s anthem for the movie’s India release and answered a plethora of questions, some of which contained some interesting reveals.
“It’s the fastest growing market in the world for Marvel”, exclaimed Joe Russo when talking about India’s burgeoning importance to the studio in a lengthy interview with Quint. “You know it’s so important that this is the first stop of the press tour. This is the first place that we’re coming to talk about this movie, and I made it a mandate. It’s incredibly important”, stressed Joe on how seriously the studio is taking the country.
This is no made-up statement though. India has indeed emerged as a country with a huge fan-following of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. These movies peaked last year with Infinity War grossing $15 million (₹100 crores) in its opening weekend and $43 million (₹300 crores) worldwide. Those are numbers usually reserved for local big-budget tentpoles and the fact that Infinity War made that much without this level of promotion only goes on to signal the country’s importance as a potential market for such movies, right along the lines of China, the UK and Brazil.
India however, proved to be vital to the Russo Brothers in more ways than one. Joe revealed how audience reactions to a pivotal scene in Infinity War kept them going through the more strenous moments during production of Endgame. He also reinforced the fact that they make these movies for the fans, something the brothers have reiterated time and again. “It’s just why we make these. We make them to interact with the audience and we know that there’s an excited fan base here that really cares is everything for us. So, it’s a mandate for us to be here.”
India’s influence went even further within Marvel Studios. One of Indian mega-celebrity Rajinikanth’s movies Enthiran dubbed in English as Robot almost directly inspired a scene in the climactic battle of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Joe described how the studio originally envisioned having the Ultron minions combine to form a bigger Ultron, similar to how the smaller robots combine to form a gigantic snake (as well as take other forms). It unfortunately got cut out due to lack of time. Given that Joss Whedon made Age of Ultron however, I’m not sure how much of this is true but the specificity with which Joe Russo points it out increases its veracity.
Of course there was some talk about the plot of Endgame as well, albeit not as much. Considering how hard the Russos tried to keep spoilers a secret, they were definitely not giving anything away. Joe did however reveal that whereas Avengers: Infinity War took place from Thanos’ point of view, Avengers: Endgame does not. This is the only solid clue or plot-point they dropped about Endgame throughout the event and it could either mean that the original Avengers are the focal point of the movie (more likely) or there’s another new hidden big-baddie in town (less likely).
Lastly, upon a potential collaboration with Indian actors, Joe Russo brought up Priyanka Chopra, whose name had come up last year when Feige discussed bringing Kamala Khan into the MCU. “Priyanka is transitioning into a global status right now and I think she is fantastic, would love to work with her. I’m smiling away because we are potentially talking to her about something. I’m just not going to say what yet.”
Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are incredibly important movies from a pop-culture standpoint and the fact wasn’t lost on the directors. To that end, the Russos are aware of its cinematic importance, recognizing that the stories need to be told with full vigour and enthusiasm and that such an ascension of the MCU towards a peak is a once in a lifetime opportunity that could, or could not arise in the future.
I don’t know that we’re ever going to have a moment like this again in movie history where you had the Marvel Cinematic Universe climaxing at the end of its first phase. Who knows it could get bigger from here, could not, I have no idea. What I do know is it that both Infinity War and Endgame have an incredible amount of pop culture attention around the globe, and the opportunity to be able to infuse that with relevant thematics is just too important for us to pass up.
Avengers: Endgame releases in India and multiple territories around the world on April 26, 2019. Look forward to our review of the movie here and don’t forget to check out our Road to Avengers Endgame series, right here on Appocalypse.