Leaked footage of Marvel’s highly guarded “Avengers: Endgame” has prompted spoiler-averse fans to retreat from social media. It also prompted the directors to issue another letter asking that fans stay mum about spoilers.
The long-awaited superhero film is due in theaters in 10 days and has already been breaking box-office presale records. Disney has made painstaking efforts to obscure “Endgame’s” content, but the leak undercut those efforts as spoiler-heavy footage made its way online this week, just before the April 26 release date.
Fans tweeted that they were “terrified” to read any spoilers online, and others wrote that they’d be leaving social media until they watched the movie — the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has been more than a decade in the making.
Others criticized the person who leaked the footage, or they muted keywords and names on Twitter to avoid major revelations. Some clips have already been removed or disabled because of copyright infringement.
Representatives for Disney have not yet commented on the leak.
The source of the leak was unclear, but some footage appears to have been filmed off a large screen in a screening room. Images and GIFs generated from that footage then loomed large online, and Reddit threads have been devoted to discussions of the plot and character reveals seen in the leak.
Anticipation for “Endgame” has been building since last year’s game-changing “Avengers: Infinity War,” a billion-dollar blockbuster that saw many of the franchise’s beloved superheroes disappear in a genocidal snap of the finger. This week’s leaked “Endgame” footage and subsequent discussions revealed the fate of many of them, which had been suspected but not yet confirmed.
Journalists had not been allowed to screen the Disney-distributed film before interviewing its stars earlier this month. Those stars — Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson and Chris Evans — had been barred from providing any details on the Russo Bros.-directed film. (Though Karen Gillan might have accidentally given something away.)
Ahead of “Infinity War,” directors Joe and Anthony Russo penned a letter asking moviegoers to keep the film’s secrets so as not to spoil it for other fans. It circulated under the hashtag #ThanosDemandsYourSilence.
On Tuesday, after news of the footage was widespread, the filmmakers issued another statement — also in the form of a letter — to fans under #DontSpoilTheEndgame.
They praised them for sticking around for the conclusion of the “unprecedented narrative mosaic spanning eleven years and eleven franchises,” but also beseeched them to stay silent.
“Please know that the two of us, along with everyone involved in ‘Endgame,’ have worked tirelessly for the last three years with the sole intention of delivering a surprising and emotionally powerful conclusion to the Infinity saga,” they wrote. “Because so many of you have invested you time, your hearts and your souls into these stories, we’re once again asking for your help.
“When you see ‘Endgame’ in the coming weeks, please don’t spoil it for others, the same way you wouldn’t want it spoiled for you. Remember, Thanos still demands your silence.”
Before that, the brothers took part in a coordinated debut of yet another “Avengers” teaser that revisited every Marvel film — and hero — leading up to “Endgame.”
“If we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it,” the teaser says.