While sports fans can debate the results of last night s Big Game, fans of Marvel Studios (and sports fans who like Marvel movies) took note of an ad for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, which aired shortly after kickoff. The tone was serious as it offered some new glimpses of an Earth after half its population disappeared into dust. But it also suggested a call to action for those with enhanced abilities to upend the new status quo. And as it featured substantial new footage from the movie, let s take a look at some of the things we learned from the 30-second television ad.The Survivor Support Group Supports A Time Jump(Photo by Marvel Studios)In the opening moments, we see a changed New York and an empty stadium to reinforce the monumental loss of life in Avengers: Infinity War. In voice over, we re told some have moved on. The scene cuts to a support group for survivors of the catastrophe Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) among them. All of which supports earlier reports that Endgame would take place some time after the Snap at the end of Infinity War. The length of that time jump is still up for debate with the earliest reports suggesting a real-time gap of roughly a year while others suggest Endgame will pick up several years after Infinity War. Either way, we re definitely getting a Leftovers vibe from the support group.Rocket Is An Avenger(Photo by Marvel Studios)We ll get to Rocket s big moment in the ad later. First, let s take a look at moment late in the spot when Steve s voiceover tells us the Avengers have not moved on. The dialogue is presented alongside a slow motion walk of the remaining Avengers. Rocket is among the group as they Well, let s assume they re on their way to deal with Thanos (Josh Brolin). The earlier Endgame teaser echoed a moment from Marvel Comics The Infinity Gauntlet storyline in which the Avengers track Thanos down and find his armor propped up as a scarecrow. Its pretty clear elements of The Infinity Gauntlet will inform Endgame the way Thanos s Snap anchored Infinity War.Alternatively, the slow-motion walk may appear early in the film as the silhouettes of both War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) who are featured in a moment of their own appear to be missing. As some astute viewers pointed out, there is also the possibility that an unidentified character was mysteriously edited out of some of the footage in the trailer, including the slow-motion walk.Thor Is Spaceworthy(Photo by Marvel Studios)Our key glimpse of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in the ad sees him looking out at a lush, green environment. It resembles the place Thanos viewed in Infinity War s closing moments, further suggesting the Avengers will take the battle back to the Mad Titan. There is also the possibility that Thor is looking out across Wakanda, judging from the landscape, but it s difficult to tell. Considering Thor s new weapon Stormbringer can conjure up the Bifrost or a Bifrost like means of interstellar travel we re going to assume he s been using it to search for Thanos and survivors of Infinity War s space team. But what ship is he on in the ad?The Benatar Survives?(Photo by Marvel Studios)In one of the more curious glimpses in the 30-second spot, Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) appear to be repairing the Benatar the now-abandoned Guardians of the Galaxy spaceship. This could be a moment from their initial departure from Titan or a flashback to happier times, as the first Endgame trailer revealed a lonely, distraught Tony recording a final message to Pepper Potts. But it could also be a moment from later in the film when the Avengers are reunited and use the Benatar to carry the whole team to Thanos. Well, presuming that s the ship on which we see Thor a few moments later in the ad.Consider the moment when Earthbound Avengers Steve Rogers, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Rhodey, and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) walk out of their headquarters and look up at something just out of frame. It could be Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), of course, but perhaps she brought the Benatar (and Thor) with her.Rocket Is First Through The Door(Photo by Marvel Studios)Rocket s key moment in the ad sees him bursting through the door of a seemingly simple shack near an unidentified coastline. This could easily be the shack Thanos built for himself on his retirement world, but it could also be something on Earth. The prominence of the seaside and fishing nets in the background to say nothing of the very Earth-like latch on the door suggest more familiar terrain, but perhaps Thanos always wanted a quiet life by the sea. Then again, maybe Rocket turned to fishing during his time on Earth and it s his seaside shack.Yeah, that doesn t seem likely, considering the guns strapped to his sides.Clint Barton Is Hawkeye Again?Ryan FujitaniThe earlier Endgame trailer prominently featured a sword-weilding Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) in an apparent switch of persona to Ronin an identity his comic book counterpart adopted for a time. But in his Big Game Ad appearance, Clint appears to have a pair of quivers strapped to his back. It is fairly safe to assume Black Widow finds him working as Ronin and convinces him to come back to the Avengers, restoring his costumed persona and key gimmick in the process. After all, what would an Avengers movie (besides Infinity War) be without Hawkeye?Steve Rogers Has His Shield Back(Photo by Marvel Studios)In the lead-up to Infinity War, reports suggested Steve would take on the identity of Nomad, another Steve Rogers alias from the comics. This turned out to be more of a thematic idea than a literal one, as Steve was in fact roaming, but his costume turned out to be a very weathered version of the one he wore in Captain America: Civil War. That said, Steve lacked a proper shield throughout Infinity War, continuing an idea from Civil War about Steve s loss of identity. But as seen in the trailer, Steve has his shield back. Since Endgame is the presumed last stand of Captain America, it makes sense that he would be visually restored to his former self. It happens in the comics all the time, so a moment like that should occur in a movie like Endgame.Avengers: Endgame opens everywhere on April 26.
“We always had a question in the writers’ room, which we would ask ourselves a lot, which was: What scares us most: that sound in the basement that you can t explain? Or that neighbor from down the street who has been staring at your house every single day? ” series creator Little Marvin said. “And in our collective experience, it s usually always that neighbor I find human beings to be deeply scary. I think rooting the terror in something deeply human was our very first impulse.“I m not particularly interested in just empty jumpscares for the sake of jumpscares,” said the series creator, who goes by LM on second reference. “I like things that feel emotionally rich, and then let the horror kind of come from there.”He said the thesis for the anthology is “this idea that, since the dawn of this country … there s always been them. There s always been the folk who have been subjected to the sort of ire and suspicion and paranoia, and frankly, hatred and terror, of the dominant folk.”(Photo by Amazon Studios)As a Black man, LM said it made sense to explore “the terror of being Black” for season 1. Focusing on the post-World War II economic boom of 1953 also fit because it was when home ownership became attainable for the middle class.But, LM added, “as Black folks know, the dream of home ownership has been anything but. [So] I wanted to definitely go back and peel apart the floorboards and look at the roots of that particular nightmare.”The look and sounds of the show are also unique in that they look period — but not the period you’d imagine. The music is anachronistic, in part, LM said because “no offense to musicians in 1953, but that was a deeply sh y year for music.”“We set out to make a show about the ’50s that felt like it was shot in the ’60s or ’70s. And by doing that, it allowed us to think about the way we framed, the way we shot and the way we styled. But, also, the soundscape and the music that we used,” LM said.Telling a story that takes place only over a week and a half “creates an instant pressure cooker,” LM said. Not only does it keep the pace moving, but it also gave the writers “the time and the space to dig in on a day and to live with these characters as they re maneuvering and navigating their lives every day.”(Photo by Amazon Studios)This also created an intense experience for the actors. Stars Ayorinde and Thomas said they were only given four of the scripts at first, meaning that they didn’t know what was real or imaginary either. She said that LM would frequently talk to her on set, not just about how her character, Lucky, would be doing but how she was handling it all.Thomas said he liked that his Henry was an upwardly mobile engineer and veteran, and that he was battling the very real issue of PTSD while also being “a character that was multi-layered and nuanced who loved his family unconditionally” who was “present emotionally and present physically.”The hard part for him was unpacking his own privilege of living in modern society and “making sure that I played the restraint correctly.”“I had to make sure that I stripped away my ego to play the character and service the character,” Thomas explained. “I can afford to react differently to something in 2021, 2022, 2023 than someone can in 1953 when it is literally the difference between life and death.”(Photo by Amazon Studios)These are all weighty topics, particularly given the current political climate. The show was accused of mining Black trauma after a trailer was released in March — especially since Lena Waithe, one of its executive producers, is also the creator of the Showtime drama The Chi. It also, inevitably, was compared to Jordan Peele’s 2019 horror film Us, both because of the title and because they each feature actress Shahadi Wright Joseph as a strong-willed eldest child.LM said that the word “them” was the first one that came to his mind when he was conceiving a name for the project — something that happened before he’d heard of Us. He also claims the casting was also coincidental; he was busy making a TV show and didn’t have time to concentrate on when the movie’s hiring was announced.And while neither Thomas nor Ayorinde say they know if (or how) they’d be in a second season of the anthology, LM says the plan is for “the people and the time period and the place will be different every season.”“As we move forward in our progression of the anthology, the hope is to take folks who have been historically marginalized or pushed to the sides of those frames and really center them in their own tales of American terror every year,” he said.Unfortunately, there are plenty of them out there.Them premieres on Friday, April 9 on Amazon Prime Video.On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.