Feature Article

Avengers: Infinity War's Creators Are OK With Not Pleasing Every Fan

"There is no internet; there are many internets."

Marvel fans aren't easy to please, which is something few people know better than the directing and writing duos behind Avengers: Infinity War. Brothers Joe and Anthony Russo previously directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, while writing partners Chris Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote all three Captain America movies, plus Thor: The Dark World. And since all of them know better, they're not trying to please every fan with Avengers: Infinity War.

"There is no internet; there are many internets," McFeely told GameSpot in an interview over the weekend. "So if we somehow were trying to service fans, that will be to the exclusion of other fans."

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"Or to the exclusion of people who aren't as dedicated, and who have no idea what the hell's going on," added Markus.

McFeely noted that fans are fickle. "There are a lot of different opinions out there. We can't satisfy them all," he said. "We're really just trying to make the best movie we can."

Co-director Joe Russo said he and his brother Anthony have failed in the past at trying to predict what fans want.

"When we try to predict what they want, we've fallen on our faces. It's been our worst experience in our careers. And every time we tell the story that we want to tell them and hope that other people like that story as well, we've been the most successful," Joe Russo said. "We just try to block everything out and go, 'Is this satisfying to us? Would we see this coming? Are we excited by this character pairing? Are we excited by this plot twist?' There's four of us in a room arguing all the time, and if somebody says something and we go, 'Oh my god, that's awesome,' then we know we've found something unique."

It's not easy striking a balance between giving fans what they want to see and still surprising them--and making a good movie on top of all that--but the Russos said their love of the source material in the books, and the MCU movies that have come before, helps.

"Those things are present and alive for us," Anthony said.

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One of the trickiest things about making Infinity War is trying to tie up every loose end, reference, and hint that's been set up across ten years of Marvel movies and decades of comics before that. These writers and directors have been setting up Infinity War in the Captain America movies and beyond, but they can't stop with the movies in which they were directly involved--they have to consider everything that's been established and set up across the entire MCU.

"The hard part is limiting yourself--how not to stop the movie every five minutes and tie up five more loose ends from that franchise, and that franchise, and that franchise," Markus said.

"We tried," McFeely interjected. "It sort of just fell away after a while."

The Russos described Markus and McFeely as "experts in the Marvel lore" and "encyclopedic in their knowledge."

"At some point we've seen everything and read every script and seen all iterations. We'll see movies in early states of their cuts, and later states of their cuts, so you just absorb a lot of information," Joe Russo said. "We've been here for seven years--[Markus and McFeely] have been here for nine, and have worked uncredited on a lot of Marvel films...we rely on them a lot."

Even with all that knowledge--or maybe partially because of it--it can be difficult to find the right mix of callbacks to previous movies and focus on the current one.

"Well, that's the thing--it's always a balance," Anthony Russo said. "And I think the thing that works at Marvel, which is something we noticed right away, which is why we wanted to make Winter Soldier with them, is they always give the individual movie primacy over anything else. The most important thing is that this movie work on its own terms--that it be given the freedom to go where it wants to go, on a story level, to be the most impactful film it could possibly become."

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What about romance? Can there possibly be room in a movie like Infinity War to spend much time developing onscreen relationships like the ones between Wanda and Vision, or Natasha and Bruce Banner?

"Well, the plot dictates a certain speed, so it became very difficult to stop and do two minutes of, 'Oh, here's the state of our relationship," McFeely said.

"If the whole point of the movie is how terrifying [Thanos] is, he's not that terrifying if you can take a break and talk about your feelings for a while," Markus added.

"We certainly wrote [those parts], and we certainly filmed them, and not all of them made it into the movie because they do slow things down," Markus continued. "Not that speed is the only reason you make the movie--but you can do it at the beginning of the movie; the later you do it, the more intrusive it's going to seem."

"We did our best to honor all that stuff, but probably didn't linger on it," McFeely concluded.

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Both the Russos and Markus and McFeely are well aware that Avengers: Infinity War won't please every fan, and they're OK with it.

"If you can predict it, then we've failed at our jobs," Joe Russo said.

"I think at the end there's going to be way more that they didn't expect coming in this film than they did," his brother Anthony added.

"I always say give people what they want in ways they don't expect," Markus said. "And we try. Once we get a story up on its legs, we stop thinking about it, I think because it becomes its own path, and it has to follow what makes it work. And if that's going to piss off a certain section of the internet, you might just have to piss them off."

"The beautiful thing is that people who hate it probably go two or three times to find those exact reasons they hate it," Markus continued. "Feel free to hate it that way!"

"Thank you, haters!" McFeely finished.

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters this Friday, April 27.

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mrougeau

Michael Rougeau

Mike Rougeau is GameSpot's Managing Editor of Entertainment, with over 10 years of pop culture journalism experience. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two dogs.

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