Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have become increasingly notorious for featuring shots in their trailers that never find their way in the movie. Whether its the absence of Spider-Man at key moments in Captain America: Civil War or hiding Thor’s damaged eye in Thor: Ragnarok, scenes were altered to prevent intelligent fans from piecing plot details together. It looks like next month’s Avengers: Endgame is no different as the Russo Brothers have openly admitted wanting to preserve the moviegoing experience, which means using footage in the trailers that may either not make it to the movie or appear in a drastically different context.
We talked about all scales of marketing. The thing that’s most important to us is that we preserve the surprise of the narrative. When I was a kid and saw The Empire Strikes Back at 11am on the day it opened…it so profoundly moved me because I didn’t know a damn thing about the story I was going to watch. We’re trying to replicate that experience.
The Russos really took the trend several notches up with last year’s Avengers: Infinity War. Moments like Bruce, Natasha and Rhodey staring up at the sky or the Hulk running together with some of the Avengers in what was supposed to be the movie’s money-shot or even showing scenes from the snap without the disintegration effects in place were an ingenious way to convey intent without giving away plot details. The Russoes elaborated on this philosophy last year in one of their podcast interviews before the release of Infinity War:
We look at the trailer as a very different experience than the movie, and I think audiences are so predictive now that you have to be very smart about how you craft a trailer because an audience can watch a trailer and basically tell you what’s gonna happen in the film. We consume too much content. So at our disposal are lots of different shots that aren’t in the movie that we can manipulate through CG to tell a story that we want to tell specifically for the purpose of the trailer and not for the film.
It only helps that the filmmakers wind up shooting a lot of footage and so, are able to use bits and pieces and extended takes that could be cut in the final edit. It’s a neat way to make full use of certain shots without giving away specific details, as the Russo Brothers explained.
We consume too much content. So at our disposal are lots of different shots that aren’t in the movie that we can manipulate through CG to tell a story that we want to tell specifically for the purpose of the trailer and not for the film.
I suppose for us fans, this was never in doubt. We always knew the trailers were misleading us, either by hiding details or showing stuff deliberately to throw us off (that Tony Stark reveal wearing the white suit just looked too convenient). The question then becomes: which shots in the trailers are fake-outs? The internet is surely going to kickstart conversations and re-examine all the footage again to differentiate the potentially real ones from the misleading bits. Meanwhile as fans, let us know what you think are the true scenes vs the ones meant to throw us off in the comments below.