Some Fans Totally Missed ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Director Joe Russo’s Early MCU Cameos

Marvel fans are very glad that the Russo brothers were able to stick the landing with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The Russo brothers landed those two big gigs due to their success in directing past Marvel Cinematic Universe films, such as Captain America: Civil War and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

While the Russo brothers love directing MCU movies, they also enjoy getting a little cameo in them, too. For example, in Avengers: Endgame, Joe Russo had a lengthy cameo where he plays a gay man talking to Captain America. That said, while this was an easy cameo for fans to spot, Joe Russo actually had cameos in his earlier MCU movies, too. 

Fans didn’t remember seeing Joe Russo in earlier MCU films

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As a fan on Reddit said, they didn’t realize that Russo had small cameos in both Captain America: Civil War and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In both of those movies, he plays a doctor, though obviously, he doesn’t play the same doctor. 

In Captain America: Civil War, he plays a doctor who’s killed by the movie’s villain, Baron Zemo. It’s a small cameo, as he just lays motionlessly in a bathtub, but it’s an effective one. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he has lengthier scenes where he plays a doctor who’s helping Nick Fury after Fury was almost assassinated. That said, this cameo didn’t involve much acting, either. 

Interestingly, his brother, Anthony Russo, hasn’t made a single cameo in the MCU yet. 

The movies that the Russo brothers have directed

Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo
Joe Russo | Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

One of the reasons why Joe Russo’s cameo in Avengers: Endgame is so easy to spot is because, by the time that movie came out, many hardcore MCU fans have already seen or heard about the Russo brothers. Before the MCU movies, they weren’t famous directors, as their biggest projects weren’t really that big in comparison to the MCU.

In fact, due to their relative lack of experience, it was a pretty big gamble for Marvel to give the Russo brothers so much control over the MCU. According to IMDb, the Russo brothers had only directed three movies before they were given the opportunity to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Those three movies were a 1997 movie called Pieces, the 2002 movie, Welcome to Collinwood, and the 2006 movie, You, Me and Dupree.

Despite this gamble, it paid off. Due to how successful their MCU movies were, fans started to notice them, and fans started to pay attention to them whenever they were interviewed. This made it easy for fans to recognize Joe Russo’s face in Avengers: Endgame, especially compared to his cameos in his earlier MCU movies. 

The Russo brothers’ future in the MCU

The Russo brothers’ next movie won’t be in the MCU, since they seem to want to direct other movies for now. However, they’re not against the idea of making a return to the MCU. The one thing that the brothers loved about working for Marvel was the idea of telling a story over many movies. This TV-style of storytelling is something that they’d want to do again if Marvel will let them. 

While all Marvel movies are connected, they want to be able to direct multiple movies in the universe rather than do one or two movies and then go. It’s possible that Marvel will allow them to do that, or Marvel may take a risk with new directors instead. In any case, the Russo brothers have plenty of work in store for them. Their latest movie, which they wrote and produced, Extraction, was a success for Netflix and Netflix has already greenlit a sequel.