The Russos talk Silver Surfer rumors and why the Avengers 4 title will stay secret for 'quite some time'

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Apr 16, 2018

The Avengers: Infinity War press tour is well underway, which means the cast and crew of the film are zipping around the world right now to promote the biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure yet ahead of its premiere next week. That includes the film's directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, and while they're committed to avoiding spoilers for the film, they're sometimes happy to talk about what's not going to happen in the movie while still preserving as much mystery as possible.

Speaking to Yahoo! Movies UK, the Russos were asked to address reports that the iconic Marvel Comics character The Silver Surfer might appear in the film. Rumors of the Surfer's appearance began a few weeks ago, when a cast list posted to Metacritic claimed that an actor named Curt Clendenin was playing the character. While this isn't impossible, it is unlikely, as that particular character's film rights are still owned by Fox, along with the rest of Marvel's major Fantastic Four-related heroes and villains. Here's what the brothers had to say about that:

“I don’t think we own Silver Surfer,” Joe Russo said. “But it’s fan-wish fulfillment and, you know, if this Disney-Fox deal goes through there’s going to be a lot more characters coming into the Marvel universe, so some of those crazy fan theories might come true.”

Now, while that sounds and probably ultimately is pretty clear, it's worth noting that Russo did not actually say "no" at any point in that comment. He said "I don't think we own Silver Surfer," which can be both a true statement and a lead-in to "however, we made a deal with Fox to allow him to make a cameo in this movie we're not telling you about." So, while we still don't really expect the Surfer to show up, if he did...well, let's just say there'll be a lot of popcorn stuck to a lot of movie theater ceilings by the end of Infinity War's opening weekend. 

The interview also touched on something a bit more concrete, which is the still-secret title for Avengers 4. Marvel has kept the name of that 2019 release a closely guarded secret — to the point that apparently even members of the Infinity War cast might not know — ever since it was announced that the film would no longer simply be called Infinity War Part II. One reason for the secrecy is apparently that the Avengers 4 title alone could be a spoiler for Infinity War, so a natural place to reveal it could be with a "The Avengers will return in..." title card at the end of that film. That way you get both a massive Avengers adventure and a big hint about what's next in one theatrical experience. So, will that happen? Apparently not.

"It's going to be quite some time before we reveal the title," Joe Russo said. "We need people to see this movie, digest this movie, and then, you know, we can tell them what the next story is they're gonna see."

The Russos could have taken a more diplomatic and mysterious "wait and see, stay until the end of the credits" approach to this question, but instead they flat-out dismissed the idea of a title reveal at the end of Infinity War, to the point that they even talked over the interviewer to say "No" before elaborating. That's really interesting, because it means Marvel doesn't just want the title to stay secret until you see the movie. They want the title to stay secret until everyone sees the movie.

Everyone working on Infinity War is well aware that the internet will be packed with spoilers both hidden behind warnings and (unfortunately) out in the open mere hours after the film hits theaters. That's unavoidable, but what the studio can still ensure is the secrecy of what comes next. At least for a while. Whatever it is, Avengers 4 must have quite the title.

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters April 27.