‘Avengers: Endgame’ Directors Reveal Which Popular Sequel Influenced Their MCU Movies

With Avengers: Endgame, directors Joe and Anthony Russo brought audiences the biggest superhero movie of all time. Both at the box office and in terms of the stakes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie changed the franchise forever.

And in doing so, it also set a high standard for what fans might expect from superhero sequels going forward. Now the Russo brothers have addressed the game-changing sequel which influenced and inspired their approach to their Avengers movies.

Joe Russo and Anthony Russo
Joe Russo and Anthony Russo | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The ‘Avengers’ finale hit theaters in the same year as another big movie

Avengers: Endgame is the climactic conclusion of “the Infinity Saga.” And the Russos’ movie actually features callbacks and references to just about every MCU release the preceded it. Considering it is the 22nd film in the series, that means the Russos — and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely — had to work hard to satisfy fans.

Avengers: Endgame is the turning point of more than a decade of storytelling. But it hit theaters the same year as another Disney-owned movie. Just seven months after the MCU’s grand opus, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker attempted to tie up an ongoing narrative. Ironically enough, audiences noted similarities between the two grand finales.

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The ‘Avengers: Endgame’ directors conceded the ‘Star Wars’ influence

The connection between Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might have been apparent to some. However, the connection between the two franchises runs far deeper. In fact, the Russos credit the original Star Wars trilogy as a major inspiration for their MCU work.

In an recent interview with Coming Soon, Joe Russo drew a direct parallel between the Avengers two-parter and George Lucas’ first Star Wars sequel.

The fact that Star Wars is so important to us growing up, we got to make our Star Wars [The Empire Strikes Back] in Infinity War and Endgame. That was really our expression of what those commercial films meant to us as children and what we took away from them and the patterns of narrative structure that were so profound to us. We were able to replicate those patterns in those movies.

Of course, the Star Wars influence is no surprise. After all, the Russos’ previous MCU movies — Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War — borrow heavily from The Empire Strikes Back as well. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige will produce an upcoming Star Wars movie. So the two franchises will likely only intertwine more and more.

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The immediate future of the MCU and ‘Star Wars’ rests on television

Interestingly, the MCU and Star Wars also have another thing in common. True, both Avengers: Endgame and The Rise of Skywalker marked a turning point. And while new big-screen releases are on the way, they’re turning to Disney+ to keep building their brand.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will kick off a string of Marvel shows on the new streaming service. And The Mandalorian — at least, according to rumors — could be the first in a whole interconnected web of Star Wars TV series. We’ll find out soon enough whether either franchise can translate its long-term movie success to the small screen.