'Avengers: Endgame' screenwriters defend 3-hour running time: 'If you get that done in 90 minutes, you have screwed up'

MarvelThe ‘Avengers: Endgame’ screenwriters said no one really ever had an issue with the three-hour running time.
  • The running time for “Avengers: Endgame” is three hours and one minute.
  • Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely said there was never any contention or any sense of nervousness from anyone about the running time.
  • “If you get that done in 90 minutes, you have screwed up,” said McFeely Thursday night at the 92Y in NYC during a conversation INSIDER attended.
  • McFeely said he would sneak into theatres after “Infinity War” came out to hear fan responses to the movie, but he said at the end of the 2018 movie fans were often sitting in silence. Now, with “Endgame,” he’s happy to hear cheers near the film’s end.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

If you thought “Avengers: Endgame‘s” three-hour runtime was a little too long, the screenwriters said it was a story that simply couldn’t be told in a short amount of time.

“Everyone was pretty much in agreement that if you take on this project, and you’re going to try and tie up 21 proceeding movies, if you get that done in 90 minutes, you have screwed up,” said “Endgame” screenwriter Christopher Markus said Thursday night at the 92Y in NYC when asked if anyone was ever nervous about the movie’s running time.

“This requires respect and to honour everything that came before in order to bring them to an organic conclusion,” he added.

92y avengers endgame dave itzkoff christopher markus stephen mcfeelyAndrea Klerides / Michael Priest PhotographyChristopher Markus (center) and Stephen McFeely (right) in conversation with the NYT’s Dave Itzkoff at the 92Y.

The movie’s three-hour length hasn’t seemed to bother moviegoers too much. “Endgame” grossed an unheard of $US1.22 billion dollars worldwide in its opening weekend, the first movie to ever cross that milestone. In its second weekend in theatres, the movie has grossed $US2 billion.

Stephen McFeely said they probably spent half a morning discussing whether or not the “Infinity” saga needed to be a trilogy instead of two movies.

“Is it three movies?” McFeely said they asked themselves, but not too seriously.

McFeely concluded that if there were three movies in the saga that “one of them would have sucked.”

During an hour-long conversation at the 92Y with the New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff, the two discussed their journey from writing “Captain America: The First Avenger” to tackling “Infinity War” and “Endgame” back-to-back.

Thanos avengers infinity warMarvelChristopher Markus and Stephen McFeely said they built ‘Infinity War’ as a sort of hero’s journey for Thanos. By the film’s end, he was able to do exactly what he sought out to do.

Read more: The emotional ‘I Love You, 3,000’ line in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was inspired by Robert Downey Jr.’s kids

The writing duo said they turned in the scripts for “Infinity War” and “Endgame” back-to-back in May 2016. They have been sitting on the secret of how “Endgame” was going to unfold for years.

Markus said there were times where they would get stuck on something with “Infinity War” and they would just hit pause and work on something for “Endgame” instead.

“We knew the end of Endgame as we were planning everything,” said McFeely of the writing process. “We planned them both together, outlined them together.”

92y christopher markus stephen mcfeelyAndrea Klerides / Michael Priest PhotographyThe duo said they kept the secrets of ‘Endgame’ for almost five years.

Since he knew how everything would eventually end, McFeely said he snuck into theatres to see how fans reacted to the end of “Infinity War” last year. However, he was met with a lot of silence. That was the reaction in many theatres opening weekend last year as fans watched many of their favourite superheroes turn to dust as the villain won.

“At the end of ‘[Infinity War’], I can’t hear anything. Everyone’s just sort of catatonic or maybe they’re sniffling and there’s nothing.” said McFeely. “When I sneak into movie theatres now [for ‘Endgame’], there’s just roars and cheers… That is much more satisfying.”

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