Around midday today one of our writers Daniel posted in the group chat that rumours were once again hot that the Russo Brothers would be directing Avengers: Infinity War Part I & Part II, slated for release 2018 and 2019.
A few hours later the rumour was confirmed. There wasn’t a lot of shock because it makes so much sense for two reasons:
The first, is that their experience is impressive. The pair directed the pilot of Arrested Development and a large chunk of Community before pitching a “80’s political thriller” to Marvel Studios to bring Captain America into the 21st century with The Winter Soldier, a critical and commercial hit.
Their time on Winter Soldier meant working closely with Avengers cast members Chris Evans (obviously), Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L Jackson and Cobie Smulders. Jeremy Renner was also on board for some scenes but dropped out due to scheduling, so at the very least there is a dialogue. Other Winter Soldier cast members include Anthony Mackie – confirmed for Avengers: Age of Ultron – and Sebastian Stan, the favourite to replace Chris Evans as Captain America.
This is before we even consider Captain America: Civil War. So far the roster looks like this:
Team Captain America: Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan. Probably Hayley Atwell and Emily Van Camp too.
Team SHIELD: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner. Maybe Samuel L Jackson.
Team Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr is all that is needed. Fleeting moments from Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau are welcome.
Marvel Studio’s business model means that roughly half of the main characters that appear in the Avengers are interesting enough to warrant their own movie. The challenge with the crossover was giving everybody their time in the spotlight and not stepping on too many egos.
The Russo Brothers already have a solid foundation with Team Captain America. Bringing in Team Iron Man into Civil War gives them access to the biggest actor on Marvel’s payroll, Robert Downey Jr. Knowing him prior to an Avengers film is invaluable.
And finally, Spiderman.
Marvel is trusting the Russo Brothers with one of their most treasured stories, Civil War, but furthermore, they are trusting them with a reboot. A beloved character, yes, and one that desperately needs new life in it.
Access to Spiderman before his solo film and before Avengers: Infinity War is a dream for both the directors and the studio.
Secondly, and less awesomely, is the fact they have no other option.
Joss Whedon is the only person on the planet that can tackle the Avengers without a solo movie beforehand. It’s only natural to pick from what you know.
Shane Black only directed Iron Man 3 as a favour to Robert Downey Jr. Alan Taylor disliked Marvel cutting out 90% of the Malekith in Thor: The Dark World and is working on sequels for Terminator: Genysis. Neither will be back any time soon.
James Gunn is hard at work on the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Expect input and a long, continued relationship with Marvel, but do not expect him to step up to the Avengers set any time soon.
That leaves the Russo Brothers.
I can’t help but mention while we’re talking about all of this a quote from Joss Whedon about Nathan Fillion.
“Maybe when I’m finished Avengers and Nathan finishes Castle we could do something again. It could be fun”
The pair recently collaborated on a black and white reimagining of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Perhaps something more superheroic is on the cards for the future.