Avengers: Endgame is a movie packed with big, unforgettable moments involving our favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) characters, and now that the film's been out for a week, we're getting to learn some of the stories behind how those moments were created. Today, that includes a heartwarming story of friendship behind the scenes helping to translate into one of the film's most touching moments.
*Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Avengers: Endgame before.**
There's a lot of death in Endgame, some of which translates to a final bow for various members of the team, but one Avenger goes out not through death, but through life. After returning all of the Infinity Stones to their correct place in the timeline, Captain America (Chris Evans) decided to use his remaining Pym Particles to jump not back to his present, but further back into the past, so he could finally be with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and they could live out the rest of their days together.
Cap breaks this news to his teammates and to the audience by simply remembering to be in the right time and place at the end of the film, showing up by the lake at the Avengers' upstate New York facility as an old man. Sam Wilson, aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie) goes to talk to him, and that's when elderly, content Steve Rogers reveals that he wants Sam to be the new Captain America, shield and all.
It's a great moment, one that echoes comic book stories in which Sam takes over the Cap mantle from Steve, and according to Anthony Mackie, he found out about it not through a production meeting or an agent negotiation or a confidential chat with the directors, but through just hanging out with his friend Chris Evans.
“We were at his house and he goes, ‘You excited?’ And I go, ‘What are you talking about?’ and he goes, ‘You don’t know?’ He jumps up, runs out of the room and comes back in with the script,” Mackie told IMDb.
"He's like 'Read it!' And I read the scene and I'm like 'Whoa!' He goes 'YES!' We cried. We drank. We laughed. It became this thing. I am very happy that I got that moment with Chris, for him to not only pass me the shield, but tell me what was happening in the script."
Sam's entry back into the MCU after being snapped out of existence — by calling back to The Winter Soldier and saying "on your left" to Cap before appearing through a portal — was already emotional enough, but to see him receive the shield from his friend and mentor put things over the top, and this bit of backstory makes the whole thing even more touching. We've suspected for a while that Evans was preparing to hang up his shield, but we could not have expected things to go quite like that. Clearly Mackie couldn't have either, and that makes this particular passing of the torch even more satisfying.