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‘Endgame’ director finally responds to rumors of a new Marvel deal

Published Oct 17th, 2021 1:46PM EDT
Avengers Director
Image: Marvel Studios

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Avengers: Infinity War

and Endgame combined to make Disney nearly $4.8 billion at the box office in less than two years. Add to that haul the $1.15 billion from Captain America: Civil War, and you realize how important brothers Anthony and Joe Russo have been for Marvel’s monstrous successes in recent years. One could argue that anyone could have directed these movies. They’d still have been multi-billion-dollar hits, given how big the MCU has grown. But, what-if scenarios aside, the Russos played a significant role in delivering an epic conclusion to the Infinity Saga. That’s why the Russos might be the first directors some would mention for an Avengers 5 sequel.

It so happens that recent rumors claimed that the Russos are negotiating a new deal with Marvel. The Scarlett Johansson drama impacted the talks, those reports said. A few weeks later, Disney settled the lawsuit. Also, Joe Russo addressed all the changes in the industry in an interview. But still won’t confirm whether a new Marvel deal is indeed in the cards.

It was The Wall Street Journal that reported the Russo-Marvel negotiations back in September:

Since the [Scarlett Johansson] lawsuit, brothers Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, directors of Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame the highest-grossing movie of all time, hit an impasse in negotiations to direct another Marvel movie. The Johansson dispute left them unsure how their next movie would be distributed and how they would be paid, according to people familiar with the matter. The Russos declined to comment.

It’s too early to talk about Avengers 5 directors

Joe Russo is still unwilling to say whether the brothers will return to direct any new MCU adventures, let alone Avengers 5. It’s way too early to talk about Avengers 5 directors. Whether or not the Russos will get involved in any MCU projects down the road, Marvel is yet to announce any details about Avengers 5.

We know another movie in the franchise is in the works. Marvel hinted at it in comments recently. But the studio stressed that it needs more time to build the next overarching storyline. Also, Avengers 5 might not necessarily have to be the Endgame-like story that fans crave.

Joe Russo talked to Variety about the recent developments in the industry earlier this week, including Disney.

“There’s a lot of tension, just like there is in a lot of industries, because there’s a lot of disruption,” he said. “People’s nerves are fraying, and it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen or where anything is going.” Russo said it was “unfortunate” for the Black Widow legal battle to spill into the public domain.

But Russo would not say whether the Journal story was accurate about the negotiations with Marvel. “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a deal if we were in the middle of it,” the director said.

More change is coming

Russo did say that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the movie industry in a significant way, and we’ll witness more changes down the road. “I’m glad that the lawsuit’s resolved,” he said o the lawsuit. “I do think it was indicative of significant change that’s been happening. The resolution speaks volumes about the respect for artists moving forward in this changing landscape.”

He continued, “Corporations are panicking at the moment because I think that half the studios are going to disappear in the next 5-10 years, and the game has changed dramatically. There are content producers who can outspend any studio, and it’s just a rounding error for them, because they’re $1 trillion companies. We’ve never seen that before in the business.”

Avengers and Marvel aside, the director also said that he doesn’t expect a “resurgence” of independent movies in theaters in the future. The theatrical model isn’t dead, but the streaming services have changed the business.

“You get more money to make them digitally. Less headaches. The easiest thing for Netflix to do is to greenlight a smaller film. What I’ve found, and what a lot of other filmmakers have found, is that nobody really bothers you. That’s an incredible experience to have.”

The Russos don’t need to direct the next big Avengers 5 either. The brothers have been quite successful on their own. Extraction is the most popular original Netflix movie of all time. A sequel starring Chris Hemsworth is in the works.

Separately, the Russos wrapped filming on another Netflix project. The Gray Man is an espionage thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. The film is said to have a $200+ million budget.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.