“Anthony Mackie, please report to the Quinjet,” a voice on a very loud speaker says with a playful tone.
It’s another summer in Atlanta and Marvel Studios is cooking up their next big thing, the movie that will have the entire world talking, but this time it’s different. This time, it’s literally for all the marbles. Avengers: Infinity War is in full swing, and we happened to be on set for one critical scene, when The Avengers finally arrive in Wakanda.
You’ve no doubt studied the trailer for the movie by now and have seen its many show-stopping moments. Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa points at Chris Evans’ Captain America and says “And get this man a shield.” The scene we’re seeing happens just before that dialogue exchange, before T’Challa hears what’s going on and evacuates his city and engages all of his defenses.
The Quinjet lands in Wakanda and the current roster of Avengers steps out. Can you guess who is on board? Evans is the first off of the ship, sporting a shaggy haircut and a full beard, a far departure from the military-style cut he’s worn for the previous films. He’s greeted by Boseman, who wears long purple robes, along with the Dora Milaje and other citizens of Wakanda.
Following them we see Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, wearing a new high-tech outfit suitable for the world’s best spy, plus she’s dyed her hair blond; and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, fresh from his summons back to the set via the voice of God.
Next in the pack is Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, helping Paul Bettany’s Vision walk down the platform and across the landing pad as he clutches his stomach. His injuries are extensive enough that the Vibranium-made android has been brought to the only place where he can probably be repaired: Shuri’s lab. As they walk inside, they pass another familiar face, Sebastian Stan’s Bucky, aka The Winter Soldier, who is now sporting a red arm with flashes of yellow, a definite upgrade from his last mechanical appendage. Vision and Scarlet Witch give him the side-eye, remembering Civil War.
Then there’s Don Cheadle’s War Machine. Having been the one member of either Team Iron Man or Team Cap to suffer the most life-altering injury in Civil War, he walks down from the Quinjet wearing STARK-branded leg braces. He’s on the road to recovering but at least he doesn’t just need his suit to move.
Finally there’s one more member on the Quinjet who exits… have you figured out who it is? After three years on another planet, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is finally back on Earth, and he’s come with a warning: The sky is falling. Thanos is coming.
“Banner knows probably more about Thanos than anybody,” Ruffalo tells us. “And he’s really trying to impress on everybody how dangerous he is, it’s a little bit of a Chicken Little (scenario). He comes in screaming bloody murder…”
“You have a world problem with Thanos, a problem that effects everyone in the world,” Boseman tells us, speaking in his Wakandan accent for the entirety of the interview. “So Wakanda is on the world stage and we’re obviously advanced in a way where we can help with the situation so that is all that’s happening here.
The scene is definitely one that will be the highlight of the film for many Marvel fans as some characters interact for the first time in years, while others are meeting and sharing the screen for the first time ever.
Steve and Bucky embrace each other for the first time in years, and Steve’s old friend quips: “So little green men, huh?”
“Not little, not green,” Widow answers.
Banner is unsure how to react to T’Challa, so he bows down on one knee just to be safe.
There’s also plenty of hilarious dialogue exchanges.
The Falcon approaches Bucky with his trademark sarcasm, their back and forth a continuing trend from Civil War and asks him: “Are you gonna snap and kill someone if they say bologna sandwich?”
Bucky takes a beat and replies, “….Not bologna sandwich.”
Mackie snaps back with a few different funny sounding words during one take, “Eggplant? Rancho Cucamonga?”
While the pair joke around, Captain America and Banner try to fill in the gaps with T’Challa about what’s coming.
“How big of an assault should we expect?” the King of Wakanda asks.
“A pretty big one, sir,” Cap replies.
“Well I have my King’s Guard,” the Black Panther says. “The Dora Milaje…”
Falcon interjects again, “And a semi-stable, frozen 100-year old man.”
The scene is unlike anything before it in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here we have nine characters together, sharing the screen and the weight of the story with all of their own individual arcs, but the foundation of the scene isn’t a fight, it’s friendship and respect.
“It’s fun to see,” Boseman says of the current scene featuring so many heroes. “Especially because we have not had a lot of opportunities to work together and when you look at actors that you respect and revere and you see them doing their things it’s not just about the characters but the cast members. It’s fun to listen to people tell stories… I didn’t have time to joke when we were shooting Black Panther, it was serious all the time. But in this case you don’t have all the weight on your shoulders, so you have more comfort. We’re sharing the weight. Which is actually what’s happening with the superheroes as well, because they could not deal with Thanos alone. I think there is a lot of comfort in having people who are so good around you.”
Which is the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, good characters played by great actors, and we can only hope they survive their fight with Thanos.
Avengers: Infinity War arrives in theaters on April 27.
Check back here on Thursday for our interview with directors Anthony and Joe Russo from the set of Avengers: Infinity War!