Avengers: Infinity War is already burning up the box office, but before anyone – even the heroes themselves – had seen a completed version, the cast and filmmakers gathered in Los Angeles last weekend for a massive hour-long Q&A session with members of the press.
Marvel and Disney were gracious enough to extend us an invite for the event, and we’ve recapped some of our favorite moments below. Don’t worry, these comments are all spoiler-free. Enjoy!
Black Panther introduced audiences to Shuri, a character whose intelligence has become an inspiration for young people, and especially young women. How does Letitia Wright view her place as a positive role model?
Letitia Wright: It’s something that’s super new to me, to play this character [that’s] into all this amazing subject matter. I wish I’d had a Shuri on TV or in the movies that I could see when I was growing up – I would’ve stayed in my math classes a little bit longer. But I’m really happy that the film, and Shuri, has allowed young kids to feel like learning is cool, and that they can contribute to the world with science and math and technology and engineering. And also young women as well, getting pulled into that whole movement and feeling like it’s not just a thing for the guys.
What was the most challenging moment for Chris Hemsworth to tackle on the set of Avengers: Infinity War?
Chris Hemsworth: It’s all very difficult, because of the directors and the people in it. [laughs] The first day, which you’ve seen in the trailers, was Thor meeting the Guardians. And it felt like kind of the first day at school for me, because they all knew each other and I didn’t – I was the new kid – and they had all been shooting, and I hadn’t. I had some weird sort of nervous butterflies floating around in my body, [laughs] but Chris Pratt gave me a big hug and all the butterflies flew out of my ears. [laughs] This whole film, I felt like a fan, meeting a lot of these people and characters that I’d watched onscreen and admired, and being onscreen with them was pretty damn exciting.
Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has enjoyed unprecedented success – what’s the secret to consistently being able to connect with their audience?
Kevin Feige: You’ll not be surprised to hear, but it’s the comics. When it’s just the notion of “let’s do an Iron Man movie” or “let’s have the audacity to do a version of The Infinity Gauntlet,” it starts with those comics and us beginning to rip pages out – or rip copies of those pages out – put them on the walls and start to be inspired. In every single movie we’ve made, up to and especially Infinity War, there are direct images and sometimes direct lines of dialogue that come from those pages that we’ve put up around our development room for inspiration. And with Infinity War in particular, when there were so many characters and so many threads of storylines from so many movies that we could have pulled from or used as inspiration, we kept going back to [the comics]. It’s always a guide point, it’s a North Star for us as we lead these giant productions into reality.
How important was it for the relationship between Gamora and Thanos to be fleshed out in this film?
Zoe Saldana: Besides these movies carrying so much action and entertainment and visual effects that really cater to all of our senses, we wouldn’t be what we are in the Marvel Universe if it wasn’t for the emotional beats. [In this movie] that involves a relationship between parent and child, and I’ll speak on behalf of Karen Gillan’s character, Nebula – we had so much fun with the arc [and] the relationship these daughters have with their father, because they finally get the opportunity to address what it was like to have a dad that’s so complicated. [laughs]
The Russo brothers have said they handed out fake scripts to the cast, but did anyone ever get their hands on the real thing?
Benedict Cumberbatch: I read a script. Whether I read the script is for [the Russo brothers] to know, and for me to find out when I see the movie tomorrow. But whatever script you read, it’s never the film, is it? It always changes, and these guys plus it every day – they never stop, it’s a busy place to work. So whatever I read isn’t necessarily what you’re going to see. I could tell you stuff about it, but it wouldn’t make any difference.
What was it like for Tom Holland to don the iconic Iron Spider suit from the comics?
Tom Holland: I’m under strict instructions to keep my mouth shut. [laughs] No, I didn’t actually get to wear the Iron Spider suit, because it’s too amazing to exist in real life. So I joined the wonderful Mark Ruffalo in the man-canceling costume, and stood amongst these gods wearing pajamas. It wasn’t quite as heroic as I would’ve liked.
As Black Panther continues to ride the wave of success, does Avengers: Infinity War feel like a quasi-sequel?
Chadwick Boseman: Avengers: Infinity War is Avengers: Infinity War – it’s not Black Panther 1.5 or Black Panther 2 or anything like that. I think we have a strong presence within the movie, and it was great to have some of these people – I’m not going to say who – in Wakanda, but [Infinity War] is it’s own movie. But it was great to go from what we did in Black Panther and bring some of that into Avengers.
In the trailers, Thanos looks almost impressed with some of the superheroes he faces off against. Is there a particular Avenger he was most surprised by?
Josh Brolin: I looked, in the trailer, like I was impressed by other people? Then obviously I didn’t do my job very well. Being a person of the color purple, and being naked on the set the whole time I was doing this in order to create a vibe of fear, I really thought I scared everybody. But apparently not.
After years of voicing Jarvis and playing Vision, what are some of the most memorable anecdotes from Paul Bettany’s experiences on the set?
Paul Bettany: Well, snitches end up in ditches, and all the best anecdotes are just unsayable. But we’ve been making these for a long time, and it’s a really unique experience for actors to keep working with the same people again and again. We’ve all gone through real-life stuff together: people have had children, people have gotten married, people have gotten divorced – a lot of real-life stuff has happened and we’ve all become real friends. I’ve never been on a set where people choose not to go back to their trailers, but hang out and make fun of each other. It’s been a real privilege.
Scarlet Witch is a great addition to the Avengers roster, but what if she were given her own film?
Elizabeth Olsen: I would feel thrilled! Paul [Bettany] and I joke a lot about how much we would like to a House of M spinoff, and a really domesticated indie version of it, and I think that would be a lot of fun. That part of her story is the reason I love this character so much, and I’m just happy that I’m still included. So I don’t need my own movie, Feige – please just bring me back!
Rumors have surfaced that Marvel is working on a film centered on their female superheroes, but Danai Gurira offered no updates on that front.
Danai Gurira: I know no details on that, but I was just thinking how excited I am about Brie Larson shooting Captain Marvel right now. The awesome thing that I think is happening, that we see happening across many dimensions in our entertainment industry, is that we’re seeing more women take the helm in various realms, and that’s not only about the time, but it will make the world a better place, I think. So I’m looking forward to the future.
How does Tom Hiddleston feel about still playing the role of Loki?
Tom Hiddleston: I’m just astonished that I’m still here. Loki has fallen through a wormhole and faked his own death, and I honestly never expected to be playing this part for so long – I think a lot of people [up here] can say that. The great privilege that I’ve had is working with every single person on this stage. They’re all great, and every time it’s like a different dance.
Avengers: Infinity War is currently playing in theaters everywhere. All photos by Brent Hankins.