12 Behind-The-Scenes Stories About MCU Battles That Make Us Appreciate Them Even More

Voting Rules
Vote up the stories that make you appreciate what goes into a big MCU battle scene.

Everybody loves a good fight scene. It's a big part of why superhero movies make so much money at the box office. There is something inherently exhilarating about watching good guys and bad guys go at it on the big screen. Delving into the hard work that goes into those major fight scenes gives one an even greater appreciation of the final product, as well. When you learn that the Battle of New York from The Avengers was mostly shot in an abandoned train station in Albuquerque, NM, or that a real skydiving crew was used for the airplane scene in Iron Man 3, you just cherish the magic a little bit more.

It's almost like the opposite of learning how a magician does a trick. Finding out that the awesome bus battle in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings had more than 20 revisions just makes you marvel at the production team's effort. So, vote up the behind-the-scenes stories that make you love your favorite MCU fight scenes more than you already did.

  • One of the major crowd-cheering, fist-pumping moments in Avengers: Endgame happened when Steve Rogers finally picked up Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, years after it being teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It just might be the most memorable image of the blockbuster film. And, wouldn't you know it, having Cap pick up that hammer was planned all the way back in 2015. In an interview with /Film, co-writer Stephen McFeely explained, "It was actually in the [outline] that we gave Marvel in the summer of 2015. 'Cap picks up Thor's hammer.' And it was like, 'Yeah, we're doing that somewhere.'"

    The production team also got a bunch of disparate reaction shots of Chris Hemsworth's Thor reacting to the monumental lifting of the hammer. Endgame editor Jeff Ford explained that Hemsworth shot all kinds of finale scenes on the same day with five different cameras set up with multiple takes of each moment. Co-writer Christopher Markus elaborated that various emotions were used for different reaction shots. "I'm sure there was some jealousy, some resentment, some shock," he said. "[I]t's such a happy moment for the audience that I'm glad we went with the happy one for Thor, because he's sort of the voice of the audience going, 'F**k yes!'"

    40 votes
  • 2
    27 VOTES

    In ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ Every Hero Originally Returned Right After Hulk Snapped, But It Derailed The Momentum Of The Story

    Getting the finale of Avengers: Endgame was a unique challenge Marvel Studios had never faced up to that point. It was the culmination of 10 years of filmmaking, and every single moment needed to land. And, originally, something was a bit off about the final fight with Thanos. Everything came down to the decision of when everyone would arrive on the battlefield after Hulk snaps everyone back into existence with the Infinity Stones. Initially, that was meant to be instantaneous.

    "...[E]veryone came back immediately," Endgame co-writer Christopher Markus explained to /Film. "There wasn't that cavalry moment. They all came back when [Hulk] snapped. On a storytelling level, it really just killed the momentum of the movie." It was eventually changed to have some time pass between the snap and the backup arriving. Markus's writing partner, Stephen McFeely, elaborated even further. "...[directors] Joe and Anthony [Russo] were absolutely right to reshoot it, because everybody didn't get their hero shot," he said. "Classic old-school Hollywood filmmaking where people step into the shot, and the crowd goes, 'That guy's back!' and you love him for, like, five seconds." It all worked out in the end, that's for sure.

    27 votes
  • The Iron Man-versus-Eric Savin fight aboard Air Force One towards the end of Iron Man 3 isn't much to write home about. It isn't a very long fight, and Savin ends up getting a hole blasted through his chest, ending him instantly. What is interesting is what comes as a result of that fight as a bunch of the airplane's flight crew are sucked out of a hole in the plane. The skydiving sequence that follows is genuinely incredible, especially when you realize that a good chunk of that scene was done practically as opposed to digitally.

    Digital Domain visual effects supervisor Erik Nash, who worked on getting the sequence ready for the final edit, marveled at how great it all turned out in the end. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nash described how everything came together as the production team used the Red Bull Skydiving Team as the civilians in the scene. "There were only a few instances where digital doubles [other than Iron Man] were used - when we didn’t have enough of the Red Bull team in the frame for the given shot," he claimed. "90 to 95 percent of the people on-screen in that sequence are the actual skydivers." No wonder that scene looks so cool.

    26 votes
  • 4
    18 VOTES

    The Airport Battle Was A Nightmare To Shoot For The 'Captain America: Civil War' Production Team

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the infamous airport fight scene from Captain America: Civil War was no easy task for the film's production team to pull off. Years before the finale of Endgame truly brought everyone from the MCU to the forefront, Civil War gave comic book fans everywhere the chance to see a bunch of their favorite characters face off like action figures in a kid's playroom. But the 15-minute scene was not easy to bring to life, and not just because of the logistics of getting all those stars together in the same place with their complicated shooting schedules.

    Apparently, the airport shoot took place over a 30-day period on two different continents (with the majority happening in Atlanta before the crew shuttled off to Germany to shoot at the real airport). It turns out that shooting in the sweltering Atlanta summer proved to be a massive hurdle for the production team. With temperatures in the hundreds and crazy-high humidity, no one was comfortable on set, especially the actors and stuntpeople with heavy super-suits. Talk about suffering for your art...

    18 votes
  • The epic bus battle from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings just might be the best fight scene in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is expertly designed and shot from top to bottom, introduces audiences to the real Shang-Chi from the jump, and balances serious action choreography with moments of levity that bring to mind the best of Jackie Chan's 1980s filmography. And while there are interesting things done with CGI that make the scene cooler to analyze (like a bunch of those yellow poles being added in post with computers), the main draw has to be the fight work itself.

    Shang-Chi fight coordinator Andy Cheng sat down with Variety to explain the daunting undertaking of bringing the cool scene to life. "It was a long process; it took us a whole year," he said. "It was the fight inside the bus that went through at least 20 different versions. It was long and then it was shorter. At one point, we had Shang-Chi starting the fight when he saw someone hurting Katy, but that changed." If that wasn't enough, the pandemic came along to derail things right in the middle of shooting. "COVID shut us down midway into the shoot, so when we came back, we had to retune everyone to finish that sequence," Cheng elaborated. "It’s one of the longest sequences I’ve worked on in my career."

    16 votes
  • Looking back on Doctor Strange, it makes sense that there was just a massive amount of wire work to bring the wild action sequences to life. Everything from Strange and Mordo jumping around on warping buildings in the Mirror Dimension to Kaecilius fighting Strange in the Sanctum Sanctorum required wire work from the actors. When you're dealing with mystical, magical characters, they are not bound by the traditional laws of physics. That's part of the fun... but it sure does seem like it took a lot of time and effort to bring it to reality. Benedict Cumberbatch explained how much wire work he had to do in a behind-the-scenes featurette.

    "Stephen Broussard and Kevin Feige [producers on the film] said I've done more wire work on this than any other film they've worked on," Cumberbatch mentioned. "I get flung through a wall or suspended by a wire over a drop and then smashed into an asteroid in another dimension, flung off the edge of a building that's changing shape, or knocked over a balcony or smashed through a cabinet. You can't really say you're a superhero unless you've actually experienced some of the physical trauma." Hopefully, Cumberbatch didn't have to experience too much physical trauma when shooting the sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

    13 votes