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SYFY WIRE Russo Brothers

Russo Bros. say they won't be able to re-team with Marvel until 'end of the decade'

Despite their interest in directing Secret Wars, the Endgame filmmakers are just too busy at the moment.

By Josh Weiss
(L-R) Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

Just two months after the gangbusters theatrical release of Avengers: Endgame, Joe and Anthony Russo voiced their interest in wanting to direct a blockbuster adaptation of Marvel's Secret Wars storyline from the comics.

That didn't seem like such a pipe dream after the most recent edition of San Diego Comic-Con, where Kevin Feige announced that the Multiverse Saga would close out with two more Avengers projects: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director/co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton was tapped to helm the first title (penned by Quantumania scribe, Jeff Loveness) not long after, but the job for Secret Wars (all set to rock a script from Multiverse of Madness writer, Michael Waldron) is still up for grabs.

But if you were holding out hope for the Russo Bros. to make their triumphant return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have some slightly disappointing news for you. Speaking with Variety — which bestowed them with the honor of "Showmen of the Year" — the sibling filmmakers explained that current commitments with their newly-minted production company, AGBO, will prevent them from tackling superheroes for the time being. "We won’t be ready to do anything with Marvel until the end of the decade," Joe said.

The brothers have thus far directed a total of four Marvel films, starting with 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Their time in the MCU sandbox culminated with Endgame, which opened to a staggering $1.2 billion on its opening weekend. It went on to make over $2 billion worldwide and briefly held the title of highest-grossing movie in box office history until Avatar reclaimed its throne during the pandemic.

“It will never happen again,” added Joe, referring to Endgame's unprecedented success (both financially and culturally). “That was an apex of that era of theatrical filmmaking. When we started AGBO, we already felt the winds shifting.”

Despite their inability to re-team with Marvel Studios for the foreseeable future, Joe and Anthony aren't just sitting around, twiddling their thumbs as the minutes tick by in their Los Angeles base of operations. At the time of this writing, AGBO has its hands full with a number of high-profile endeavors, including Netflix's The Electric State and a live-action remake of Disney's Hercules.

Based on the illustrated book of the same name by Simon Stålenhag, Electric State (adapted for the screen by Infinity War and Endgame co-writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) tells the tale of a young girl (played by Millie Bobby Brown) traversing a retro-futuristic landscape ravaged by a recent civil war between humans and machines. Along for the journey is a robotic companion sent by the girl's missing brother, whom she hopes to locate. Now in production with the Russos at the helm, the project will also feature the talents of Chris Pratt, Anthony Mackie, Ke Huy Quan, Billy Bob Thornton, Stanley Tucci, and Jason Alexander.

“It seemed to us that the world of this story was so big that you could easily find other narratives in it,” Joe said, alluding to the idea of doing for Electric State what he and Anthony did for The Gray Man over the summer. “How do we build a much larger context for what’s going on here? That feeds our ability to tell multiple stories.”

Hercules, on the other hand, boasts Guy Ritchie as director. A rather obvious choice, given how the Snatch and Sherlock Holmes alum helped bring in over $1 billion with his 2019 remake of Aladdin. Not much is known about the remake of the 1997 animated feature centered around the mythological Greek hero, other than the fact that it's got a screenplay from Shang-Chi co-writer, Dave Callaham.

With that said, Joe was able to characterize this new take on Hercules as “a little bit more experimental in tone, a little bit more experimental in execution. I think they’re excited to see what we can all bring to it in a way that isn’t just a reinterpretation of the animated film ... Guy is perfect for it because he has a penchant for experimentation."

Joe also went on to confirm that it will retain the musical elements of the original (bless my soul!), albeit with a more contemporary approach to the classic tunes. “There are questions about how you translate it as a musical,” he concluded. “Audiences today have been trained by TikTok, right? What is their expectation of what that musical looks like and feels like? That can be a lot of fun and help us push the boundaries a little bit on how you execute a modern musical."

Looking for more superhero action? X-Men: First Class is now streaming on Peacock.